In a bid to unseat Councilor Patti Bushee in the city's first district, Houston Johansen made his candidacy official in a press release today.
Johansen, 25, is focusing part of his bid on bringing more job opportunities to younger people in the city. Just how he intends to do that remains to be seen. His press release says he'll "spend the coming weeks talking to voters, listening to their concerns, issues, and experiences living in Santa Fe." After that, he'll lay out a platform, Campaign Manager Alysha Shaw says.
Some issues he's interested in are increasing the city's broadband internet access and making the water supply more sustainable. He holds a political science degree from Creighton University and interned with Bill Hume, a former water policy adviser under Gov. Bill Richardson.
As the longest sitting-member on the council, Bushee will likely be a tough challenge. She tells SFR that she welcomes a lively debate and will focus on curbing crime in her district, bringing instant runoff voting to city elections and bringing conventions like that of the International Mountain Bicycling Association to the city.
City elections are synonymous with low voter turnout. In 2010, just 27 percent of registered voters made the effort, which is technically considered high because it featured a mayoral race on the ballot. The election will be held in March. Read more about it in SFR's special politics issue, due to hit newsstands tomorrow.
Photo lifted from Johansen's Facebook page.
Johansen's press release:
HOUSTON JOHANSEN ANNOUNCES CITY COUNCIL CANDIDACY IN DISTRICT 1
Johansen Challenges 17-Year Incumbent Patti Bushee, Offers New Ideas and Proactive Participation in Politics
SANTA FE-- Santa Fe native and lifelong city resident, Houston Johansen announced his candidacy for City Council in District 1 on Tuesday, offering a new perspective on politics and a plan for increased civic participation and responsibility.
Johansen (age 25) is especially concerned about the lack of opportunity for young people in Santa Fe, and wants to focus on building an economy that restores opportunity for working families and addresses the mis-trust in elected officials.
“I want to be the next City Councilor in District One. Santa Fe is the only home I know. I love Santa Fe, but I think we can do better,” Johansen said. “I hope to raise some important issues in this race – such as: where are the economic opportunities for young people? Why do young people flee the city to find jobs? And how can we do better by working families?”
Johansen will spend the coming weeks talking to voters, listening to their concerns, issues, and experiences living in Santa Fe. The campaign will periodically host public forums online and in-person that provide unprecedented venues for Santa Feans to publicly express their concerns during an election cycle. Constituents' issues will form a significant part of the campaign and its platform.
“I’m going to do this the old-fashioned way – listen to the concern of voters in my district and share my ideas about how to make Santa Fe better. Basically, I’m going to work really hard and talk to every voter I can. A lot of candidates make the rounds and chalk up constituent visits, but the lessons learned and the concerns confided in that process seem to vanish after election day. Again, I think we can do better. ” Johansen said.
With this voter feedback, Houston will release his campaign platform in the coming weeks.
Houston was raised in Santa Fe, and attended Rio Grande Elementary and Santa Fe Preparatory schools. At the age of 19 he opened One World Coffee, a fair trade, sustainable, education-oriented coffee house. One World gave young people hands-on experience running a business, helping to inspire a generation to think creatively about their ability to affect change in the world. After stepping down as manager, Houston left Santa Fe to pursue a degree in political science at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. During that time Houston interned for Governor Richardson’s top water policy advisor, Bill Hume. He also worked to raise money for Creighton’s scholarship funds and worked on President Obama’s Omaha campaign.
Johansen is the son of Carl Johansen and Mary Lattimore, long time residents of Santa Fe. His father is a well-known local artist who taught Johansen the power of art, and the importance of creativity. Houston's mother raised him in a house that is completely off-the-grid, which helped him develop a deep passion for sustainability and innovation. Together they taught him early on that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to find a good job and be a part of something bigger.