Jesse Houle

Jesse Houle, candidate for commission in Athens, GeorgiaCommissioner Jesse Houle, District 6

2020 – present

Represents West Athens, Lavender Road and Georgia Square Mall areas.
Jesse Houle’s Website

Houle currently serves on the Boards of Advantage Behavioral Health Systems and the Industrial Development Authority. Previously, Houle worked as the Operations Manager of Nuçi’s Space, a non-profit focusing on suicide prevention and support for local musicians, and as the Outreach Coordinator of the progressive advocacy group Athens for Everyone.

Houle has completed the necessary classes to become a certified county commissioner. They also attended but did not graduate from Worcester State University.

Primary Ballots: Houle almost always takes Democratic primary ballots, but not exclusively.
They are a member of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee.

Inferred Party: Democrat

Signature Issues

Fighting Homelessness — Houle was the primary author of the ACC Commission’s “Resolution to Address Homelessness with Immediacy and Strategic Planning.” This resolution resulted in the creation of the First Step homeless encampment and a deeper partnership between the Athens Homeless Coalition and the ACC Commission, which Houle mediated. Another consequence of Houle’s efforts was the approval a strategic plan to address homelessness.

Transforming Athens — During their 2020 campaign, Houle had an in-depth platform detailing their plans to move Athens leftward, including living wages for all workers, racial justice, a Green New Deal in Athens, affordable housing, participatory budgeting and more.

Significant progress has been made on many of these issues during their first term. For example, the ACC Government raised their wage floor to $15 an hour in 2021 and then to $15.60 in 2022 as a direct result of advocacy by Houle and others. Houle was also effective in pushing the Classic Center to raise their wage floor to $15.85.

Pedestrian Safety — Houle is a proponent of improving pedestrian safety throughout Athens but especially in District 6. Houle helped their constituents write two TSPLOST 2023 projects to improve pedestrian safety in historically under-served areas, including the Stonehenge and Westchester neighborhoods. These projects were funded in the final TSPLOST list, in no small part due to Houle’s advocacy. Houle also successfully pushed for Athens renters to get the same respect as homeowners in the county’s formal process for requesting traffic calming for their neighborhoods.

Prison Abolition — Houle wore a shirt saying “Abolish prison” when they were sworn in on November 17, 2020. They also publicly supported Commissioners Mariah Parker and Tim Denson’s plan to reinvest 50% of ACCPD funding into the community over a period of 10 years.

Voting Record

Fund the Athens Homeless Coalition / Salvation Army: NO
Raise the Stormwater Fee: YES
Approve the Leisure Services Master Plan: YES
Regulate Short-Term Rentals: YES
Block Townhomes in Green Acres: NO
Approve Low-Barrier Homeless Shelter: YES
Overturn Restrictions on Public Comment: NO
Fund Athens Achieves: NO
Approve FY 2025 Budget: YES

(More information about 2024 votes.)

Delay Barber Street Improvements: NO
Approve Mall Redevelopment: YES
Restart the Eviction Prevention Program: YES
Recognize the Firefighter’s Union: YES
Approve the FY 2024 Budget: YES, NO
Ban Indoor Vaping: YES
Start Delinquency Prevention Initiative: YES
Place Public Safety Monitor in Auditor’s Office: YES
Accept Affordable Housing Investment Strategy: YES
Accept Plan to Reduce and Prevent Homelessness: YES
Reject Pet Registration: NO
Close First Step Encampment and Extend Hotel Voucher Program: NO

(More information about 2023 votes.)

Approve TSPLOST 2023 Project List: YES
Appoint Public Safety Oversight Board: YES
Approve American Rescue Plan Framework: YES
Raise Commissioner Salaries: YES
Adopt Inclusionary Zoning Policy: YES
Adopt Complete Streets Policy: YES
Approve FY 2023 Budget: YES
Celebrate Pride Month and Juneteenth: YES
Approve 1010 Oglethorpe Avenue: YES
Begin Prince Avenue Road Diet Pilot: YES
Decriminalize Cannabis: YES
Approve the 100% Clean Energy Plan: YES
Create Homelessness Plan: YES
Authorize Eminent Domain for Firefly Trail: YES
Change Planning Department Work Plan: YES
Recognize Firefighters’ Union: YES
Allow Accessory Dwelling Units: YES
Keep Three Lanes on Prince Avenue: YES

(More information about 2022 votes.)

Approve Apartments Near Airport: YES
Give Public Land for a New Parking Deck: YES
Approve Apartments off Lexington Road: YES
Approve Taser Contract: NO
Approve Linnentown Resolution: YES
Extend the Firefly Trail on original route: YES
Fund Athens Eats Together: YES
Delay Project Reset: NO
Approve FY 2022 Budget: YES
Approve Official Homeless Camp: YES
Establish Local Anti-Discrimination Protections: YES
Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for ACC Gov Employees: YES
Install Downtown Public Restroom: YES
Fund Non-Police Crisis Response Team: YES
Change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day: YES
Approve AFDC to Run Eviction Prevention Program: YES
Establish a Law Enforcement Oversight Board: YES
Establish a Human Relations Commission: YES
Accept JAG Grant: NO
Approve New Commission Districts: YES

(More information about 2021 votes.)

Establish West Downtown Historic District: YES
(More information about 2020 votes)


Election Results

2020 Special Election (to replace the late Commissioner NeSmith)
Jesse Houle (D) – 55.5%
Chad Lowery (R) – 44.6%

2020 Local Election
Jerry NeSmith (incumbent) – 57.0%
Jesse Houle – 43.0%