Caption: Seattle DSA voted to endorse housing activist Jon Grant for City Council Pos. 8. during May’s general meeting at Washington Hall.
Update: Since this article was originally published, Jon joined the DSA as a dues-paying member.
In a historic first for the Seattle chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, members voted to endorse housing activist and former director of the Tenants Union of Washington State, Jon Grant. The endorsement marks the first time Seattle DSA has endorsed a candidate since obtaining chapter status in December.
— Seattle DSA? (@SeattleDSA) May 12, 2017
Grant is running for the at-large City Council position 8. The seat is currently occupied by Tim Burgess, who defeated Grant for the position in 2015. In that race, Grant still garnered nearly 45 percent of the vote.
Grant is a longtime Seattle activist, and champions a number of causes that are in line with democratic socialist values. He has fought for tenants rights, called for developers to include more affordable housing units in new construction and currently supports the proposed “Trump-Proof Seattle” income tax lead by the Transit Riders Union and supported by Seattle DSA and a number of other organizations.
Grant has raised $110,313 according to the most-recent filings available from the Seattle Ethics and Election Commission. The average campaign donation is $71, but the majority of his contributions have come from Democracy Vouchers. Grant has refused to take campaign donations from corporate sponsors or businesses, and has emphasized the importance of running a transparent, publicly-funded campaign. An average cash donation is $19, according to his campaign.
“How we win is important,” Grant said in his response to Seattle DSA’s candidate questionnaire asking why he’s running for council. “It shows the public who we are accountable to, and only accepting donations from community members rather than CEOs is how we start to break the grip big money has on advancing a bold progressive agenda.”
Last week, Grant was arrested along with around 26 others while supporting climate activists who shut down 13 Chase Bank branches around the city. The activists were protesting Chase’s financing of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Four activists arrested at Wedgwood Chase, including Jon! #ShutDownChase #noKXL
In 2015, the Seattle Times reported that Grant was “intimidated” by a developer who tried to engage him in an under-the-table deal to settle a lawsuit from Grant’s former employer. Instead, Grant went to the Times with text messages Brett Allen, of Triad Capital Partners, sent to Mayor Mike McGinn.
Grant is running on a democratic socialist platform but was not a member of Seattle DSA and did not pay dues to the national organization at the time of endorsement.