About Jon

 

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Leading advocate for tenants’ rights and social justice activist Jon Grant announced he will run for Seattle City Council, challenging Council President Tim Burgess for the Position 8 city-wide seat. Jon Grant is the recent Executive Director of the Tenants Union of Washington State, and a prominent voice against displacement and skyrocketing rents.

 “We need bold leadership on City Council if we are going to successfully advance the effort to eliminate economic inequality. We could lose the gains made from raising the $15 minimum wage and requiring paid sick leave if our housing costs continue to soar. If elected I will bring the needed urgency our communities require from City Hall.”

Jon became Executive Director of the Tenants Union in 2010, taking over a troubled agency that had lost most of its funding and staff. In three short years under his leadership he doubled its operating budget, opened new offices across Seattle and the State, nearly tripled the number of people served, and advanced numerous successful campaigns to expand tenants’ rights. Key to many of these successes was his long standing collaboration with Seattle City Council Member Nick Licata.

“With Nick Licata announcing he will not run again, I decided to run so that Seattleites have a solidly progressive candidate who shares his values and will push the envelope to get things done.”

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Shaking Governor Inslee's hand after passing Senate Bill 5528 in 2013, expanding protections for domestic violence survivors facing discrimination.

During his tenure at the Tenants Union, Jon has directly led numerous successful federal, state, and local legislative efforts. This included passing stronger statewide protections for domestic violence survivors in Olympia, expanding affordable housing subsidies to hundreds of low income families through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and negotiating with the rental industry to rewrite and expand tenant protections in state law. Jon was a prominent voice in obstructing the sale of public land to private developers that would have built million dollar condos in exchange for no affordable housing.

Most notable was Jon’s work to hold Seattle’s slumlords accountable by playing a key role in passing the “Healthy Homes” Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance, a law sponsored by Nick Licata that will improve health and safety housing conditions of an estimated 27,000 Seattleites. Jon also played a key role in the movement that ultimately defeated the Seattle Housing Authority’s Stepping Forward rent hike proposal that would have raised rents by 400% on many of our city’s working poor. He is currently working on passing state and local legislation to better protect and empower tenants facing displacement from economic evictions.

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Jon speaking at a rally calling on the City to take bold action to tackle Seattle's skyrocketing rents earlier this year.

Jon’s policy platform includes economic relief for renters and homeowners, greater police accountability, gender wage equity, combating climate change, and campaign finance reform to level the playing field against moneyed interests in politics. With rents rising in Seattle faster than any other city in the nation, tenants must have immediate relief by enacting limits on move-in deposits and capping fees, including a resolution directing the state to reinstate local authority to limit rent hikes. A principal reduction program must be instituted and fully funded to save homeowners who are currently underwater on their mortgage. Greater measures to ensure police accountability in cases of excessive force must be put in place, especially in light of the recent deficiencies reported by the Federal Monitor overseeing compliance with the city’s consent decree, and recent racial profiling and arrest of one of our seniors. Jon firmly believes that to make all these changes possible, we must get money out of politics as too many on the City Council accept campaign contributions from developers, and he would push for public financing for local elections.

Jon has lived all across Seattle; in Beacon Hill, Greenwood, Georgetown, Wedgewood, and Columbia City. Jon currently lives in the Brighton neighborhood in South Seattle.

 


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