District 6 - Jesse Houle
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Jesse HouleDistrict 6 CommissionerPhone: 706-395-5029
P.O. Box 445
Athens, GA 30603
Experience: Jesse grew up in New England, moving through dozens of places around central and western Massachusetts. To make ends meet, Jesse worked multiple jobs in the service industry before deciding to focus primarily on their work as a touring musician and recording artist.
In 2008, they moved to Athens to put down new roots somewhere warmer and more affordable. Jesse continued juggling multiple jobs until settling into an administrative position at FedEx Ground, enabling them a new period of financial stability. In 2011, Jesse became deeply involved in Occupy Athens (a local outgrowth of the Occupy Wall Street movement). Through their involvement, they developed as a community organizer and have remained active in political and community organizing since.
Throughout their life, Jesse has endeavored to fight poverty and inequality. In 2012, Jesse donated all of their money and most of their possessions to a variety of nonprofits (including GiveDirectly) and set out on a multi-year, international journey to learn the limits of what's possible in human relationships and in society.
This period of Jesse’s life included nearly two years of living entirely without the use of money, experimenting in a gift economy while traveling extensively and continuing political and social work. During this time they returned to Athens repeatedly to visit loved ones, co-manage Tim Denson's 2014 campaign for mayor, and co-found the progressive advocacy group Athens for Everyone (A4E). They served in multiple roles over many years with A4E, including as Outreach Coordinator, Local Legislative Coordinator, and as a Board member.
By 2016, Jesse began leaning back into a more traditional approach to economics and shifted from volunteering with a dozen or so organizations to focusing their time at Nuçi's Space. Upon being elected to office, they resigned their position as Operations Manager of Nuçi's Space in the fall of 2020 to focus fully on the work of the Commission.
Civic & Community Experience: Jesse serves on the Boards of Advantage Behavioral Health Systems and the Industrial Development Authority, and on the ACC Commission's Legislative Review Committee. Jesse is a Post Seat Holder for District 6 with the local Democratic Party and serves as the Platform Committee Vice Chair for the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee. They are also a member of the Athens Area DSA. They've served on numerous past boards and steering committees, including with Rabbit Box and Complete Streets Athens. Jesse regularly organizes town halls and community litter clean-ups around District 6.
Education: Jesse is a Certified County Commissioner, having completed their Core Certification with ACCG within their first year of service. They continue to deepen their knowledge through ACCG's Lifelong Learning Academy. Jesse holds numerous certifications, including for Supervision and Management and for Change Management from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. Jesse attended Worcester State University after graduating from Tantasqua Regional High School in Sturbridge, MA.
Personal: Jesse endeavors to bring their authentic self to governance with curiosity, humility, diligence, and compassion. Jesse is nonbinary, identifies as queer, and uses they/them pronouns.
Jesse eats a plant-based diet complemented by abundant hot sauce and coffee. They love games, geography, language, art, music, hiking, camping, humans, and nonhuman animals. They've traveled extensively in all 48 of the contiguous United States, including most major cities and National Parks, and have spent a month or more in each of seven foreign countries. Their personal best for the NYT Spelling Bee game is Queen Bee 12 days in a row.
Jesse swore their oaths of office on the following:
- The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön;
- Off the Map by Kika & Hib;
- Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut;
- Demand Everything: Lessons in Transformative Organizing by Steve Williams;
- Their 2020 issue platform;
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck; and
- Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh
In 2022, they welcomed into the world their first child, River Quinn, alongside their spouse Megan, and partner Erin.
Their initial term began November 17, 2020.