Community activist and organizer Jesse Houle is running for office. They are running for the District 6 Commission seat, currently held by Commissioner Jerry NeSmith. As co-founder of Athens4 Everyone, Houle says their entering the race is an extension of the work they have already been doing.
“We’ve fought more and more not only to win a dialogue about things but to actually win substantive change,” according to Houle. “We got living wages for Clarke County employees, we’ve gotten fare-free transit for youth and seniors and we’d love to see that actually be for everyone and expanded public transportation in general. The stopping of cash bail for local things, ceasing cooperation with ICE, and on and on.”
They say those accomplishments are part of a team effort.
“I don’t think I can singularly take credit for any of that, but I’m really proud to have worked with a lot of people to help make that a reality.”
Houle has an ambitious platform.
“At the top and really the core issue for me is economic and racial justice. I think it’s important to see those two as inextricably interlinked. That you can’t have one without the other, that you can’t talk about racial justice without having substantive economic components to that backing it up; and you can’t have a discussion about economic justice and not have an honest conversation about race.”
They say those core issues are woven through most platform issues.
“So there’s a lot of things from living wage jobs to how we approach equity in every policy that are built into the platform.”
Houle is holding a campaign kickoff event Sunday, March 1st from 2 to 4 pm at Akademia. It is open to everyone. The election takes place May 19, 2020.