The GSBA Blog

  • What to expect in the 2022 Legislative Session

    by Matt Landers, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
    | Jan 18, 2022

    The 2022 Legislative Session is just 60 days, but there is a lot on the schedule. Some of the major topic areas and specific bills that GSBA's Policy Council is monitoring are as follows:

    LGBTQ+ Issues
    GSBA has already endorsed bills that would mandate insurance coverage of infertility treatments, including for LGBTQ+ families (HB 1730), mandating Medicaid coverage for all HIV medications approved by the federal FDA (SB 5551), and protecting sensitive information of incarcerated transgender and gender-diverse people from public disclosure (HB 1956). There is also an effort to give courts the authority to waives fees for name changes (HB 1961). In the budget, there are requests for funding of LGBTQ+ senior housing and a study on the decriminalization of sex work. We are keeping an eye on additional anti-transgender bills, though we do not expect them to proceed very far this year due to the pro-LGBTQ+ majority in current leadership.

    Small Business Issues
    Economic support for struggling small businesses remains at the forefront of our advocacy priorities this year. We are working to ensure that federal assistance dollars are allocated to the communities that need them the most, and that those dollars actually reach their intended targets. Additionally we are monitoring the delay of the Long Term Care Act and its mandatory employer deductions and implementation (HB 1732), and programs to develop broadband networks. 

    Education Issues
    As with the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund, there is a proposal in the Legislature to create bridge grants for students receiving the Washington College Grant scholarships to help with expenses beyond tuition (HB 1659), as well as efforts to increase outreach around the availability of the Washington College Grant program (HB 1835). There are additional efforts to clarify and strengthen the Fair Start for Kids bill that we endorsed last year, including SB 5553's efforts to strengthen the definition of "quality child care." GSBA is additionally looking into efforts to support apprenticeships and career/college pathways.

    Policing & Safety Issues
    Much of the work accomplished last year was just the starting point. There are a few bills introduced last year which continue to be considered by the Legislature, including independent prosecutions of police criminal conduct (HB 1507) and rules around the hiring and certification of police officers (SB 5089). Additionally, there are important gun control measures such as a ban on high-capacity magazines (SB 5078), prohibiting guns at local government meetings and elections offices (HB 1630 and HB 1618)

    GSBA's Policy Council meets weekly to discuss potential positions on legislation. Other areas that we are investigating include voting rights, housing affordability, and transportation.

    GSBA's 2022 legislative agenda and bill tracker are always available on our Advocacy page. You can learn more about any legislation by searching by bill number here.

    You may be interested in some of the work of our partner organizations:
    - Business for America (voting rights)
    Legal Voice (gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights)
    - Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (racial equity)
    - Ventures (equity in entrepreneurship)
    Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (gun control)
    Washington LGBTQ Commission (LGBTQ+ issues)
    Washington STEM (equity in education)

  • Welcome Chris Kuhel, GSBA Director of Scholarship & Education

    by GSBA Staff
    | Jan 14, 2022
    chris kuhel headshot 2

    A familiar face to the organization joined GSBA in January 2022 as the Director of Scholarship & Education. Chris Kuhel (he/him) is excited to provide leadership and passion to an already successful program, the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund, which provides multi-faceted support to post-secondary LGBTQ+ students. 

    You may recognize Chris from his past six years of volunteering with GSBA at events, presenting awards to scholars, as a GSBA Ambassador, keynote speaker at EQUALUX - TASTE of GSBA in 2017, as well as a scholarship interviewer. He first connected with the organization as a GSBA Scholar in 1995.

    Chris was born in Hawaii and moved to Troutdale, Oregon, when he was two years old. Growing up in a small town was already difficult, but then his family moved to Auburn, Washington in his 9th grade year. He began at that time to learn that he was gay, but he was not fully out. During high school, he was actively involved with the forensics team, where he competed in cross-examination debates throughout the country and mentored novice students to prepare them for tournaments. Upon graduating and sharing the highest honor at Auburn Senior High School, Student of the Year, he continued his passion for helping students by serving as the Assistant Debate Coach and judge at competitions.

    While in community college at Green River in Auburn, he worked on campus as a Leadership Associate and oversaw the clubs and organizations. Before departing to the University of Washington in 1995, he received the Social Science Division Award and the Leadership Award at commencement. The summer of 1995 was of great significance for Chris as he became a GSBA Scholar, which he credits to this day for helping him come out to his peers, family, and friends.

    The summers of 1993-1995, he worked in Seattle for the environmental and consumer protection non-profit WashPIRG as a canvasser, field manager, and an assistance campaign director. In 1996, he started his 25-year federal government career with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a student intern.

    Chris graduated from the University of Washington in 1997 with a BA in Sociology. He led a prestigious and highly-decorated career at SSA, with 19 years in management and supervision, including Area Director for Washington and Alaska. Through his tenure, he visited and helped influence all the offices in the region which also included Idaho and Oregon. Every day, he knew he was making a difference with the most vulnerable among us including the elderly, disabled, low-income, widowed, and children. September 2021, Chris took an early retirement from SSA to begin his next chapter in life.

    While not at work, Chris enjoys living in Fremont with his cat Mochi. His interests include photography, traveling, camping, plant-based cooking, and getting outside as much as possible - as he loves the Pacific Northwest.  If you’d like to connect with Chris and provide your ideas for advancing the GSBA Scholarship and Education Fund’s impact, please contact him here!

  • EQUALUX - TASTE of GSBA makes a triumphant return, raising over $610,000 for the GSBA Scholarship Fund

    by Mark Rosén, GSBA Acting President & CEO
    | Nov 22, 2021
    To each and every guest who brought their vaccination cards and diligently masked-up throughout the night and to every donor who tuned-in online from home, thank you, thank you, thank you!
    With your help, we raised over $610,000 Saturday night to benefit the GSBA Scholarship Fund!
    equalux_03Many coinciding factors made this year's hybrid EQUALUX a celebration unlike any we've had before, with both an in person and a virtual option. The pandemic hasn't made it easy to have a night like Saturday night, surrounded by friends old and new, chosen families, and other loved ones, coming together as one to support the future of LGBTQ+ students. We are so thankful to have such generous, dedicated, and thoughtful community members who, time after time, show up for GSBA Scholars - whether that was in person or virtually.
    If you missed the event, there's still time to donate and show your support for our scholars. Click here to invest in our future LGBTQ+ leaders. 

    Royalty led us into the ballroom, as the Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle proudly paraded to the stage where they were joined by viral sensation, Mila Jam, singing the most apropos version of dance classic “It’s Raining Them,” celebrating the richness of our diverse LGBTQ+ community. The evening was led by our two fabulous emcees Ellen Meny and Gaysha Starr who brought wit, humor, and - most of all - heart.
    This year's event took place on an important day for our community: Transgender Day of Remembrance. Gaysha and GSBA Scholar Ro Boyce shared their personal experiences and visions for a better future, including asking the audience to actively stand up for the transgender and gender-diverse community every day. Ro led our Scholars in a remembrance of community members who've been murdered because of their identity. You can learn more about combatting anti-trans violence, the intersections of racism and transphobia, and active allyship here.
    Planning a gala during a global pandemic is no small task and that’s what makes theequalux_18 contributions of everyone who helped make this year’s EQUALUX possible so enormous. We could not have had such a successful event without our Title Sponsor Car Pros Kia, and our Scholar Cohort Champion Salesforce, Presenting Sponsor Premera, Student Empowerment Sponsor Symetra, and Event Sponsors Alaska Airlines, Amazon, DML Insurance, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, The Westin Seattle; and Science & Innovation Virtual Sponsor Fred Hutch.
    EQUALUX has become renowned for featuring top-tier LGBTQ+ performing artists, thanks to the creative vision of EQUALUX producers, Jared Michael Brown and Paul Flanagan. We owe a huge thanks to our dedicated EQUALUX Co-Chairs Masoud Torabi and Eve Hwang who brought visionary leadership and passion. Thank you to the wineries of SODO Urbanworks, who provided the world class wines to accompany our dinner: Structure Cellars, Rotie Cellars, Latta Wines, Kerloo Cellars, Sleight of Hand Cellars, Old World Tasting Room, Nine Hats Wines, and Patterson Cellars.
    Special thank you to GSBA Programs Manager Carlos Chavez and GSBA Sr. Development Officer Jeff Boyer who worked tirelessly on planning the GSBA Scholarship Fund’s biggest night as a hybrid event, redesigning every element. Our hats are off to the wonderful staff of The Westin Seattle, who walked with us step-by-step through the planning process and made sure that our guests felt safe and welcome throughout the night.
    If you missed the event, you can watch an abbreviated version here! (Some performances have not been included).

    Thank you to the Beeks Family Foundation for the creation of a new endowed fund with a $100K gift. The generosity of several donors inspired others to dig deep. Special mention to Jay Petterson and Michael Mattmiller, Carrie Carson, Puget Sound Energy, Kurt Kruckeberg, Roz Edison, Kevin Spratt, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Carolyn Ockels, Steve King, Roz Edison, and Lori Dugdale, who gave so generously.
    The success of the GSBA Scholarship Fund wouldn't be possible without our outstanding Board of Directors, led by Board Chair Jay Petterson, and their contributions to the Annual Leadership Matching Fund. A special thank you goes to Masoud Torabi for his magnificent leadership as Scholarship Fund Chair.
    equalux_16We'd also like to thank our Supporting Sponsors Boeing, Google, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Safeco Insurance, Pacific Medical Centers, and Precision Garage Door Service; Voice of Scholarship InterChange Media Arts Productions; our wine district wineries Aluel Cellars, Elsom Cellars, Goose Ridge Estate Winery, and Nota Bene Cellars; and our caterers Taylor Shellfish, Mamnoon, and D Squared. We’d also like to thank our Event Photographers Nate Gowdy and Malcom Smith, Design Partner Enjoli Izidor, Print Sponsor Girlie Press, DJ Seattle Parties, and Floral Sponsor Sal Floral Design.
    Most importantly, from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you - our guests - for helping make this year's EQUALUX such an outpouring of community love and hope.
    If you were not able to join us Saturday night, there's still time to show your support by making a year-end gift to the GSBA Scholarship Fund. If there was ever a time we needed community and support for small businesses and access to education, it is now. If you haven't done so, please renew your GSBA membership for 2022. If you are not yet a member, we invite your to join us in 2022. Together, we all thrive.
    For equality,
    Mark Rosén (he/him)
    GSBA Acting President & CEO
  • Get to know Kamryn Kurtzner, GSBA's Scholarship & Education Program Manager!

    by GSBA Staff
    | Nov 12, 2021

    IMG_3109After working in higher education for the past five years, Kamryn Kurtzner (she/they) is delighted to join the GSBA team as the Scholarship & Education Fund Program Manager.

    Kamryn was raised in a small town in Northern Michigan and completed her undergraduate degree from Alma College in Music Composition and Creative Writing. As an undergraduate she was heavily involved on campus with Alpha Gamma Delta International Fraternity and served as her chapter’s first openly lesbian president. After graduation, she quickly began her student affairs journey with the University of North Texas as a sorority house director and, at the same time, she founded the first LGBTQIA+ affinity group for sorority members to find support, resources, and to serve as a collective voice for members in regards to policy and programming. This affinity group is now the oldest and largest LGBTQIA+ affinity group for an individual organization with over 500 members and informs policy change for the international organization.

    After Texas, Kamryn moved to California to work alongside the second female Dean of Engineering at Stanford University. While working at Stanford, she continued her involvement with Alpha Gamma Delta International Fraternity and became a founding member of the international Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee for the fraternity. This involvement led her to pursue her Master’s in Education, with a focus in higher education and social justice, from Boston University.

    At the end of 2019, Kamryn moved to Seattle and briefly worked in marketing at the University of Washington before transitioning to her most recent role as an academic advisor for the College of Arts & Sciences. While working for the University of Washington, Kamryn was appointed as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee for Alpha Gamma Delta and co-founded an educational consulting team that focuses on anti-oppression curriculum and implementing strategic disruption for sorority and fraternity organizations.

    Kamryn was introduced to the GSBA through her involvement as a scholarship interview volunteer two years ago and has been smitten with the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund's mission and vision ever since. She feels that her position as Scholarship & Education Program Manager combines her life’s work as a volunteer, advocate, and activist with her professional work as an educator, advisor, and program manager in a way she didn’t know possible. Throughout her life she’s held the belief that education equals opportunity and Kamryn feels honored to serve the LGBTQIA+ community through this role, understanding that our community has long been underserved in regards to education. She is particularly excited about creating more opportunities for leadership and storytelling skills-building, shaping the scholar alumni network, and increasing non-traditional education/career pathway visibility to the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.

    Outside of work, Kamryn volunteers as a kitchen lead at Teen Feed, a Seattle-based food service provider for unsheltered youth, and hosts a meal team bi-monthly with her wife. She enjoys writing and is a published poet with work featured in The Lavender Review and Rat’s Ass Review. When not working or volunteering you can find Kamryn at the theatre enjoying a performance or at home trying a new recipe. If you'd like to connect with Kamryn and share ideas to benefit GSBA Scholars, contact her here!

  • Welcome River Teslar, GSBA's new Business Training Specialist!

    by GSBA Staff
    | Nov 04, 2021

    MicrosoftTeams-imageRiver (she/her) is thrilled to join GSBA as a new Business Training Specialist. She has already so enjoyed getting to meet GSBA members and is excited to work with such a variety of businesses! 

    River is a spirited advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and is looking forward to bringing her warmth and encouraging nature to business education and growth. She believes in giving people the tools they need to thrive, and creating spaces where community can blossom. She grew up in Richland, Texas (a town of just two hundred people!) and went to music school as a vocal major in nearby Corsicana, Texas. During River's college years, she won a singer-songwriter competition, sang in several choirs, and began playing regular local shows with her band. She also became involved in community work, and is proud to have helped organize two successful annual fundraisers for the International Justice Mission to combat human-trafficking.

    Regardless of the field, River has always loved working directly with people – in many customer service roles, four years as a pharmacy technician, and most recently as a catering server for FareStart. She was excited about getting more involved in the background of nonprofit work, and when the pandemic halted catering, River appreciated learning about operations, and was delighted by the community connections she made working in the emergency meals program.

    River moved to Seattle in 2017 to transition, and found an amazing community of friends and chosen family. A consummate food enthusiast, she spends her free time finding new restaurants and cooking with her partner, as well as performing at open mics, hopping between her favorite local haunts, and enjoying walking around the beautiful East Capitol Hill neighborhood. River hopes to become a small business owner herself someday, and host community events and organizing.

    Say hi to River by emailing her here and learn about the many business consulting services GSBA offers here.

  • Redesigning WA's Tax Structure

    by Matt Landers, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
    | Sep 17, 2021

    The Washington State Legislature established the bi-partisan Tax Structure Work Group to identify options to make our tax code more equitable, adequate, stable, and transparent. The group is not looking to increase or decrease the total amount of tax money collected by the state, but rather examining the combination of tax types that generate the same amount of money. The group is looking at different types of taxes with the goal of improving Washington State's tax structure, and also does not involve local and federal taxes. After several years of research and outreach, the Work Group has a number of options to share with taxpayers. 

    In 2021, GSBA has held two editions of our Civic Engagement Series with the Tax Structure Work Group, both of which were recorded and can be viewed on-demand. In February, Dean Carlson (WA Dept. of Revenue) and Representative Noel Frame talked about the existing tax structure in Washington and the goal of the Tax Structure Work Group. In September, Work Group staff shared potential scenarios and the survey for small businesses to provide feedback.

    We encourage all our members to examine the potential scenarios and think about what would make the tax system more equitable, adequate, stable, and transparent. All scenarios are intended to be revenue-neutral, meaning they would not increase the total amount of tax collected by the state, but rather re-balance where that money comes from. Some scenarios involve:

    • changing the property tax limit factor
    • decrease property tax and add taxation of personal wealth
    • eliminating the Business & Occupation (B&O) tax and replacing it with some combination of a value-added tax (VAT), a margins tax, and/or an employer compensation tax
    • eliminating the B&O tax and lowering sales and property taxes by adding personal and corporate income taxes, which themselves could be either flat (one rate for everyone) or progressive (higher rates for higher incomes)
    More details on what these tax structures mean can be found in the recording of GSBA's September Civic Engagement series as well as in a series of upcoming regional town halls conducted by the Tax Structure Work Group. This series of virtual events allows any taxpayer - not just accountants or tax experts - to hear from the Work Group, ask questions, and explore the scenarios in an interactive context.

    Once you feel comfortable with the concepts involved, small business owners and entrepreneurs are invited to take a survey sharing their thoughts and ideas for these scenarios. They are looking to understand the views of taxpayers around Washington on how to improve our tax system. You can take the survey at

    GSBA has often heard strong opinions about taxation from our membership - especially the B&O tax on gross receipts. This work offers a chance to reform that system, and we urge everyone to take the time to share their thoughts with the Tax Structure Work Group.

  • GSBA to carry on the legacy of Out In Front

    by Out In Front Board of Directors
    | Sep 17, 2021

    The following statement by the Out In Front Board of Directors was made on Sept. 14, 2021:

    Dear Out In Front Community,

    As we all chart our own paths out of a difficult and painful pandemic, Out in Front is changing the way it supports leadership development in the Pacific Northwest.  As of the end of this June, Out in Front ceased to function as an independent nonprofit. Out in Front is very excited to announce that it will be handing its carefully honed training materials to the GSBA to use in that organization’s work of leadership development.  The GSBA is a long-standing leader in the Puget Sound’s LGBTQ+ community and has encouraged the emergence of new leaders through its scholarship program. 

    GSBA has supported and partnered with Out in Front in various ways over the past decade. Our decision to offer the Out in Front training program to the GSBA did not come easily or lightly. After extensive reflection among board members, the board concluded that the GSBA is ideally positioned to bring Out in Front’s training mission to the largest and most diverse audiences possible.  We wholeheartedly believe that this transition is the best way to honor the legacy of Out In Front as a pioneering leader in LGBTQ+ professional development in the Pacific Northwest. 

    Mark Rosen, Acting President & CEO of GSBA, shared that “GSBA has been a longtime supporter of the work of Out in Front and applauds its Board on making the difficult decision to sunset the organization. We look forward to working with dedicated OIF leaders to help us shape the expansion of leadership training and cohort building to those in our community who are most marginalized. We believe that doing so will help further our mission of promoting both economic and educational equity.”

    Strong and effective leadership requires resolve and optimism in the face of challenge. This decision has come after almost two years of careful deliberation.  Out In Front has always sought to keep its curriculum updated and relevant to current issues.  As we wrapped up our 2019 cohort it was becoming clear that to fully address diversity, equity and inclusion in the curriculum, the organizers and the presenters would require a significant re-thinking of the program. At the same time, we were confronting issues of sustainability and volunteer commitment that are common to volunteer-run nonprofits, while simultaneously facing a changed landscape of leadership development opportunities for LGBTQ+ adults in the Puget Sound.  It became increasingly clear that the best chance for keeping Out in Front’s training materials alive and relevant would come from reaching beyond our nonprofit to an organization that had a solid foundation of resources for sustaining and expanding leadership development in our community. The GSBA is an ideal recipient of our program materials. A few members of the Out in Front leadership will engage with the GSBA to ensure a smooth transition of knowledge and experience, and we look forward to seeing an expansion of leadership development opportunities for the Puget Sound LGBTQ+ community.  

    The vibrant heart of Out In Front is – and will continue to be – its community of alumni, volunteers and donors.  The connections built during the 12 years of OIF programs and the ways our alumni have taken next steps of leadership in their own communities is inspirational.   As we transition away from an independent Out In Front program we hope that you will continue to support LGBTQIA+ Leadership Development as we embrace and benefit from the larger network of GSBA supporters and scholarship fund alumni.  Thank you for being part of the Out In Front community and we hope to see you at a future GSBA event!  


    The Board of Directors of Out In Front

  • Seattle mayoral candidates tour businesses with Capitol Hill Business Alliance

    by GSBA Staff
    | Sep 07, 2021

    As the voice of the neighborhood’s business community, the Capitol Hill Business Alliance (CHBA) was pleased to have the opportunity to connect neighborhood business owners with both of Seattle’s candidates for mayor, Bruce Harrell and Lorena Gonzalez.  

    thumbnail_Tracy Taylor, Peter Aaron, Bruce Harrell (1)On Tuesday, August 17, CHBA Program Manager Ahi Martin-McSweeney met Bruce Harrell at Elliott Bay Book Company on 10th Avenue where Bruce spoke with Owner Peter Aaron and General Manager Tracy Taylor. From there, Bruce and Ahi set out to meet Wildrose’s Shelley Brothers and Martha Manning, swung by Tracy Taylor’s newly-established Big Little News on E Pike Street and 11th Ave, and Owner of Perfect Copy & Print Amanda Powter on 12th Avenue.  

    Each business came prepared with a variety of questions for Bruce and issues they wanted to elevate including small business funding; the future of street cafes; the ongoing labor shortage; challenges of retaining employees with competitive wages; desire for stronger social programs; and equity in access to local, state, and federal dollars. 

    Next, CHBA met with Lorena Gonzalez on Friday, September. 3. This tour began atIMG_2319 Flight Wine + Chocolate on 13th Avenue where Lorena and Ahi spoke with David Wildman and Kevin Morton before walking over to Amanda Powter at Perfect Copy & Print, and concluding at Elliott Bay Book Company where Lorena spoke with Tracy Taylor. Lorena and these business owners also covered a wide gamut of topics, including addressing the homelessness crisis, racial justice, financial recovery from the pandemic, street use, retaining employees, and funding for small businesses.  

    CHBA is thankful to both candidates and their teams for taking the time to meet with CHBA members and hear their concerns as we move closer to November’s election. We would also like to extend our gratitude to each business owner who partook in these tours and made their voices heard on these important issues. Please let us know if you would be interested in hosting a candidate or councilmember at your business for a future event. 

    As a nonpartisan organization, GSBA does not endorse candidates.

  • GSBA visits MoPop's "Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement"

    by Cade Schmidt (he/him), Marketing & Digital Communications Manager
    | Sep 03, 2021

    rise up_1As soon as visitors to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) reach the top of the second floor stairs, they're faced with large, blocky letters in bright orange proclaiming “Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement.” On loan from Washington D.C.’s Newseum, this exhibit uses artifacts, texts, and multimedia to tell the story of America’s LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement. As visitors make their way through the exhibit, one thing becomes inextricably clear: the very nature of this exhibit, the platforming of LGBTQ+ histories at a venue like MoPop, is a milestone in itself.

    The exhibit opened during Pride Weekend on June 26 and takes guests through a chronological breakdown of important eras, political battles, and pop culture touchstones before highlighting local organizations and leaders in the Pacific Northwest’s LGBTQ+ community.

    From the Mattachine Society, to the dawn of LGBTQ+ press and the critical role GayIMG_5588 and Lesbian newspapers played in our community, Rise Up explores the many ways LGBTQ+ people found each other and built community in the first half of the 20th century. From here, the exhibit demonstrates how out of community grew activism, and how Lesbians, QTBIPOC communities, transgender, and gender-diverse people wrestled with prejudice and worked to carve our their own intentional spaces - including the founding of S.T.A.R. by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Johnson’s involvement with the Stonewall Uprising is featured prominently, though Rise Up is clear that details about who threw the first brick on June 28, 1969 remain contested. Old newspaper clippings covering the Stonewall Uprising are included in this display, as well as little-known histories of LGBTQ+ activism before 1969.

    With different segments of the exhibits, visitors can take quizzes and share their opinions on interactive screens. One quiz asks visitors their opinion on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case while another asks people to guess what year Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage.

    rise up_7Once guests take-in artifacts from the lavender scare, Anita Bryant’s “Save the Children” campaign, the 1979 March on Washington, the AIDS epidemic and ACT UP movement, the US Supreme Court’s 2015 decision on marriage equality, North Carolina’s 2016 anti-trans bathroom bill, and more, Rise Up pivots from history to contemporary activism and representation in pop culture - along with a display explaining the LGBTQ+ acronym, reclamation of the word “queer,” and other common terms. Here, local leaders like Aleksa Manila and D. Dynasty (drag persona of GSBA Board Member Dominique Stephens) are featured, having loaned costumes to MoPop. 

    The feature “Icons of Seattle” spotlights several regional LGBTQ+ leaders includingrise up_6 GSBA Members David Neth, Dr. Bish Paul, Adra Boo, Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm, Marsha Botzer, and other leaders such as Speaker Laurie Jinkins, Cal Anderson, and Justice G. Helen Whitener are also included. A few feet away, MoPop highlights regional organizations and businesses continuing to work on behalf of LGBTQ+ civil rights, including GenPride, Babeland, Entre Hermanos, Gay City, Seattle Pride, UTOPIA WA, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Seattle Men's & Women’s Chorus, Bailey Boushay House, Lifelong, Gender Justice League, and more. 

    Rise Up honors the legacy of LGBTQ+ activism and gives a soap box to these histories often overlooked. But most of all, the exhibit not only educates potential allies, but fulfills the important need of reminding us how far we’ve come and to not take for granted the freedoms we have today - even while critical battles continue to be fought.

    Rise Up closes on Sunday, Sept. 12. GSBA also visited MoPop as a part of our Travel OUT series in June, interviewing and touring the museum with Sr. Communications Manager Michael Cole-Schwartz. Other exhibitions currently on display at MoPop include Heroes & Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume, Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, Indie Game Revolution, and more.

  • Love is family at ORM Fertility

    by Courtesy ORM Fertility
    | Aug 02, 2021

    At ORM Fertility, we believe that Love is Family and everyone deserves to realize their dream of parenthood. We pride ourselves on being a truly welcoming clinic and helping all families grow. According to a family building survey conducted by Family Equality (2019), 48 percent of LGBTQ+ millenials are actively planning to grow their families to 55 percent of non-LGBTQ+ milennials -- a gap that has significantly narrowed.

    thumbnail_Dads & DaughterORM Fertility has been passionately growing families for more than 30 years and we’re proud to be a leading clinic for LGBTQ+ parents from around the world. We are committed to serving the LBGTQ+ community with sensitivity, compassion, and advocating for inclusivity, not only in our practice but in our extended medical community as well. Our team strives to provide respectful and personalized care to every patient who walks through our doors. 

    As fertility advances and the options for family building expand, so does our understanding of identities as humans. Our team of knowledgeable reproductive physicians, clinical leaders, and expert staff knows that every path to parenthood is unique, and our personalized approach to care is specially tailored to you.

    As part of our commitment to honoring our patients’ unique journey, we strive to create a safe environment where members of the LGBTQ+ can access the professional medical care they deserve. To further our commitment to our LGBTQ+ patients, we partnered with Family Equality, a national nonprofit leading advocacy for LGBTQ+ families, to earn our Open Door Training Designation as an organization.

    “The entire experience was so positive, comfortable and welcoming. I just can’t imagine not having our daughter, we are just so fortunate and grateful to ORM. We felt a lot of trust and loved every bit of the experience.” - ORM Fertility Family, Reciprocal IVF

    Your Unique Journeythumbnail_iStock-892516256 (1)
    There are many options to growing your family and the journey through fertility treatment is unique for everyone. From donor egg and surrogacy to donor sperm and in vitro fertilization (IVF), it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Our experienced team, along with our expert surrogacy and donation agency partners, have years of experience working with thousands of growing families every year. ORM Fertility also has a large, innovative, in-house genetics team and a robust in-house egg donor program. Having these services coordinated and working together at one clinic can make things easier and help streamline the family building process. With our partners, navigating the legal aspects of care are made possible and seamless. Simply put, it’s complicated and we’re here to help every step of the way.

    We are proud to be a leading fertility clinic in third party reproduction (TPR), having completed more than 10% of all TPR cycles in the US in 2019. Third party reproduction is a term that describes the group of amazing individuals like egg donors, sperm donors and surrogates who make growing a family possible for so many. 

    thumbnail_iStock-1175554132Nestled in the Heart of the Rainbow Family Explosion
    Located in both Seattle, WA and Portland, OR, not only is ORM Fertility committed to inclusivity but so are the communities we reside in. The gorgeous Pacific Northwest continues to provide a clean, welcoming, and fertile place for growing LGBTQ+ families. With supportive legal surrogacy laws to a progressive and open-minded medical environment, it’s no surprise that Washington and Oregon are some of the tops states in the US for LGBTQ+ families. There is more access and support than ever and we’re passionate about helping continue to cultivate an equitable environment for all who wish to start or grow their family.

    As Washington and Oregon are rated among some of the top states in the US for LGBTQ+ families, there is more access than ever to resources you need to grow your family. With new access to compensated surrogacy and important legal protections for LGBTQ+ parents, the Pacific Northwest is one of the best places for growing LBGTQ+ families.

    Let’s Grow Your Family, Together 
    There’s a lot to consider as you begin planning your unique path to parenthood and we06192016_ORM-Pride_MJS_076 are honored to be a trusted resource for the LGBTQ+ community. In an effort to provide education about fertility care options, ORM Fertility hosts free webinars led by our physicians and agency partners to walk you through your treatment options. You can also connect with one of our physicians by scheduling a consultation today.

    Learn more and register for our upcoming FREE LGBTQ+ Family Building Webinars:
      ●  Donor Egg & Surrogacy
      ●  Egg Seeking Sperm

    You can also visit us at, which is our dedicated online resource for LGBTQ+ family building.

    There are many options to growing your family and the journey through fertility treatment

  • Incubator: Summer 2021 Cohort

    by Levi Coffin, Business Training Specialist & Grant Manager
    | Jul 21, 2021

    Tiffany Kelly-Gray (she, her) has a background in finance and the vacation rental business. She currently owns and operates a vacation rental in the CD that I primarily operate on Airbnb.  She manage the listing, cleanings, remodels as needed and design. Is the current board chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Bertschi School,  actively engaging in strategic planning in order to move DEI initiatives forward. Tiffany also a Bachelors of Art from Seattle University in Digital Culture and Technology.

    Her business will be a group of vacation rentals in a rural location in western Washington, within 3 hrs drive from Seattle. The property should be no less than 5 acres. The property will allow farming, gardening, and the growth of small orchards.  The vacation properties would allow access to visitors for classes geared toward farming, seed to table, gardening as well as biodiversity. This is often referred to as agrotourism, this business would focus on teaching children about growing their own food, understanding their environment, and caring for small farm animals.  She is particularly interested in hosting Black farming classes and camps.

    Nick Albritton (he, him or they, them) brings authenticity, an open heart, and strategic leadership to his work with individuals and organizations. His professional background has traversed the non-profit sector ranging from Outdoor Education, Career Services for youth experiencing homelessness, and leadership roles within Washington States community college network. He is an engaging collaborator who has helped organizations prioritize their goals, restructure their programming, and innovate new solutions to chronic issues. Nick has a MS in Management and Leadership and is passionate about transformational, strengths-based leadership and effective change management. He is the owner of Rust and Revelry, an apparel company that designs inspiring and affirmational clothing for trans, non-binary, and queer folks. As a queer, transgender person – he knows how necessary and powerful it is to see yourself represented and celebrated in the world. He was recently published in The Born This Way Foundations collaborative book with Lady Gaga ‘Channel Kindness’. He has also facilitated Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Inclusivity Trainings, and served on the Board of Directors for Seattle Pride. In his personal time, Nick is an avid outdoorsperson who enjoys storytelling and poetry.

    Heron Consulting works with small businesses who are focused on social impact initiatives, creativity, education, art, leadership, community building, and way-making for a more inclusive, heart-centered world. Heron Consulting helps small businesses who need to: outline and finalize complex projects, create structure for/restructure processes, refine their programming, automate services or communications, and innovate new solutions. As a consultant, Nick takes the time to listen and understand the unique ecosystem of factors influencing your business. Through a collaborative process, he works closely with you to find solutions that are durable and bring value to your work in the world.

    Lesster Eduardo Munguia Nieto
    (he, him) is a photographer based in Seattle, Washington who specializes in photographing Interiors. He grew up in a small town in Honduras: one of those strange towns in the middle of the mountains, not unlike Macondo of One Hundred Years of Solitude. His interest in photography began with helping his mother shoot weddings at 9 years old. After studying Biology at UNAH, he moved to Seattle, Washington, to work in environmental restora8on with Earthcorps and later served as a program manager for Entre Hermanos, a Latino LGBTQ+ nonprofit. Throughout these different roles, he continued developing his craft of photography.

    Fishmoon Productions was born in January 2021 as a result of Lesster's passion for photography. This business offers production of Interior & Exterior Photography & Videography for Real Estate Agencies & Architecture firms; as well as production of commercial photography and videography for companies and nonprofit organizations.

  • Incubator: Spring 2021 Cohort

    by Levi Coffin, Business Training Specialist & Grant Manager
    | Jul 21, 2021

    Tara Morgan (they, she)  brings to barbering a lifelong passion for people and the revelations that can happen in our honest interactions. Tara spent 25 years in the field of fundraising and non-profits, including founding Seize The Oar Foundation (est 2013). Tara loves collaboration and small business and currently runs Vashon Flyer apparel and gifts, in addition to co-founding Steady State Media Network in 2020.

    C'Mon Barber, coming May 2021 will be a full-service barber, providing affordable haircuts, trims, shaves all in a gender-affirming space for all ages. Mobile and in-salon, zero waste and always classy.

    Ryan Riley
    (she, her) has 10 years commercial roofing experience. Started on the roof pushing a broom, moved up into project estimation, sales and management. Eventually became the general manager of a $1.5MM commercial roofing company. Began gender transition in Feb 2020 and registered the first trans owned roofing company in WA state in March 2020.

    NW Roofing Services is a high quality, value driven roofing company with equality-based ethics. Starting out with residential roof inspections, cleaning, maintenance and small repairs, moving into residential new and re-roofing projects and eventually entering and focusing on the commercial roofing sector.

    Lauren Moore (she, they) is a queer neurodivergent artist hellbent on restorative justice in Seattle. Social isolation in the chronic and mentally ill community is rampant so she created a floral pranking business that delivers flowers and custom audio tracks to folx in Seattle. In non-COVID times She curates quieter accessible events for deeper conversations to emerge. Her practice is inter-generational, intersectional, and raises reparations for Real Rent Duwamish. One of nine siblings from South Carolina, she understands that poverty excludes people from healthy pain management and often leads to a cycle of addiction. Lauren’s art harnesses color therapy, flowers and binaural audio to comfort survivors, include fellow mentally and chronically ill folx, and celebrate friendship. Her ASMR activations create safe spaces to deeply notice the body’s edges. As a survivor 3 years sober, Lauren believes art can heal our most traumatic experiences. Her relentless strength and solidarity come from deep listening, which is her favorite art.

    OK Bloomer is a flower pranking service that brightens the steps of Seattlites while celebrating friendship and intergenerational healing. Pranks are often kept anonymous and aim to surprise and delight seniors and folx experiencing chronic and mental illness, though all are welcome. Curated audio tracks and care packages are available additions to the floral surprise.

  • Understanding Your 2021 Primary Election Ballot

    by Matt Landers, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
    | Jul 20, 2021
    Ballots are due in the 2021 primary election on August 3, and there is a lot to consider! Cities and counties across Washington are holding local elections and as usual voters are also being asked to weigh in on ballot measures. GSBA is active on issue politics and often takes positions on ballot measures, however we do not endorse candidates.

    King County Proposition 1
    GSBA has endorsed the Best Starts for Kids levy renewal and encourages everyone to vote YES on King County Proposition 1.

    Seattle Mayoral Candidate Interviews
    With a large field of candidates running for Mayor in Seattle this year, the GSBA Policy Council decided to do pre-primary video interviews with candidates. With questions submitted by members and the Policy Council, the candidates were able to speak to some of the most pressing issues for GSBA members in Seattle. Policy Council members Denise Diskin and Eve Hwang, along with GSBA's Matt Landers, conducted these interviews during the second week of July. Each video is around 15-20 minutes long.

    GSBA Members Running for Office
    Every year we feature statements from GSBA members running for office. While we do not endorse candidates (and we have had instances of multiple members running for the same office), we welcome the opportunity for these individuals to share their platform with fellow GSBA members. For 2021, member candidates who have submitted statements include:

  • Member-Candidate Profile: Lance Randall

    by Lance Randall
    | Jul 19, 2021
    As a membership organization, we invite all our members running for elected office each year to submit a statement to their fellow members. GSBA is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates, and this statement should not be construed as an endorsement by GSBA, its Board, or its staff.

    Lance Randall, running for Seattle Mayor

    Seattle is known for its beauty, diversity and innovation around the world, which is why I chose to make the “Emerald City” my home. I believe that by working together we can create a more fair and sustainable future, but we have some challenges we must overcome first.

    Our economy needs to recover from the effects of Covid-19, we need to address homelessness in a compassionate but firm way, we must ensure everyone is protected through comprehensive public safety and we must maintain and improve our transportation infrastructure.

    We can overcome our challenges with a leader that has a vision, a plan to solve problems, can build working coalitions and produce results. I am ready to be that leader.

    For 30 years I have worked as a political scientist, economic development practitioner and entrepreneur. I have held leadership positions with a U.S. Congressman, a State Senator, Mayors, businesses, non-profit organizations, public-private partnerships, and educational institutions. My background and experience make me uniquely qualified and prepared to be Seattle’s Mayor at this exact moment in our city’s history.

    As the country and world come out of the pandemic, we will search for a city modeling effectiveness, sustainability, equity, and accountability to its citizens. Seattle can be that model city. I want to leverage Seattle’s creativity and ingenuity to model a city where everyone can live freely, create, and prosper.

    I have pulled together a platform explaining my plan to address topics including dignity for the homelessness, economic rebound, revitalizing our music scene, rebuilding our infrastructure, public safety, and climate. This platform invests in our people, our culture, and our future. I trust that after you read it you support my campaign and elect me to be the change Seattle needs, “A Transformational Leader for a Transforming City.”


  • Member-Candidate Profile: Sara Nelson

    by Sara Nelson
    | Jul 19, 2021
    As a membership organization, we invite all our members running for elected office each year to submit a statement to their fellow members. GSBA is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates, and this statement should not be construed as an endorsement by GSBA, its Board, or its staff.

    Sara Nelson, running for Seattle City Council, Position 9

    I’ll cut to the chase: if you think things are going well in Seattle, I’m probably not the candidate for you. I’m Sara Nelson and I’m a progressive small business owner and I’m running because I believe Seattle has lost its way. As the only candidate in this race with experience in both the public and private sectors, I’ll bring the pragmatic and experienced leadership needed right now to meet our city’s challenges as we emerge from this pandemic. 

    I served for ten years as a Legislative Advisor for Councilmember Richard Conlin and I learned that good policy is made by paying attention to detail and reaching out as well as meaningfully incorporating input from the widest possible range of stakeholders. That’s especially true for small business owners and workers who can’t easily attend public hearings.

    I’m a GSBA member and co-owner of Fremont Brewing, a sponsor of GSBA’s Scholarship Fund. We were hit hard but we managed to retain all our employees and increased their wages to make up for lost tips. But I know many of you weren’t as fortunate.

    That’s why forging an equitable, long-term recovery is my top priority. We all know that small businesses are job creators and innovators and we make up the fabric of our communities. Hundreds of small businesses have closed and many more are on life support but City Council isn’t acting with enough urgency to help. It’s time for the missing voice of small business to City Council.

    Public safety is key to our recovery because rising crime (theft, property damage) poses significant cost burdens for small businesses and we’ve all read stories about businesses leaving town because employees don’t feel safe. Defunding the police by an arbitrary percentage won’t reduce crime nor end systemic racism in policing. We need to reform the police in a manner that keeps communities safe and holds officers accountable for all forms of misconduct -- and fund accordingly.

    My second priority is getting back to the main job of local government: adequately funding and delivering basic city services. Failing bridges, trash-filled parks, and limited library hours are the result of Council diverting General Fund dollars to ad-hoc initiatives.

    What will I do about homelessness? I’ll call for implementing a model works in other cities, based on individualized case management and a real-time, centralized database that service providers and City agencies access to ensure continuity-of-care and help individuals obtain the housing and services that meet their immediate needs.

    Voters have a clear choice this election and the stakes are high. They can vote for the same old ideological rhetoric and failed policies that have gotten us into the state we’re in now, or they can elect a candidate with pragmatic policy solutions to make Seattle a safe and livable city -- for everyone.

    I’m endorsed by the Seattle Times, Seattle Fire Fighters, Ironworkers, Plumbers and Pipefitters, and a broad range of community leaders. Learn more about my campaign for City Council Position 9 at:

  • Member-Candidate Profile: Krystal Marx

    by Krystal Marx
    | Jul 19, 2021
    As a membership organization, we invite all our members running for elected office each year to submit a statement to their fellow members. GSBA is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates, and this statement should not be construed as an endorsement by GSBA, its Board, or its staff.

    Krystal Marx, running for Burien City Council, Position 7

    While running for office is, in itself, a monumental task, doing so as a bisexual woman has been a lesson in authenticity and opportunity. LGBTQIA+ elected officials have a unique set of responsibilities on our shoulders. We are the path-makers, the way-lighters and the example-setters for the next generation of LGBTQIA+ leaders, which means we have to not only run based on the issues of the office we seek, but with the knowledge that we are leading the way for a new generation. When I am re-elected to the Burien City Council, I am excited to work on building up LGBTQIA+ youth in the Highline School District by working working the Highline School Board, local youth organizations, and City Staff. It is not enough that we run and win, as queer people, but that we make sure the next generation can as well. 

    Krystal Marx, Candidate for Burien City Council (Position 7)

  • Member-Candidate Profile: Dow Constantine

    by Dow Constantine
    | Jul 19, 2021
    As a membership organization, we invite all our members running for elected office each year to submit a statement to their fellow members. GSBA is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates, and this statement should not be construed as an endorsement by GSBA, its Board, or its staff.

    Dow Constantine, running for King County Executive

    When COVID-19 arrived here – the first place in the country – I took swift, decisive action. We led with science and reason, saving thousands of lives. The New York Times reported that had America followed our lead, “the nation could have avoided more than 300,000 coronavirus deaths.”

    Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, I’m bringing that same clarity and resolve to the toughest challenges – homelessness, racial bias, public safety, climate action, and uniting our region for an economic recovery where everyone can thrive.

    In the pandemic’s wake is a new opportunity to rethink our economy, invest in our communities, and spur the kind of growth that empowers us all. I’m leading a bold economic recovery plan – investing millions into new jobs, community and small business support, and urgent action to deliver on this promise of a better future and a full, equitable recovery.

    Critical to this effort is supporting those who have long been left out. I was honored to receive GSBA’s Voice for Economic Justice award in 2016. I will tell you that my commitment to economic fairness, equity, and opportunity for all remains steadfast, and has been integral to the design and implementation of our recovery efforts.

    I recently announced and issued a Pro-Equity Contracting Executive Order with the distinct purpose of supporting minority- and women-owned businesses in King County. We are working to break down long standing barriers that have historically prevented and excluded underrepresented business owners from building and expanding their businesses.

    Beyond these efforts, we are taking bold, urgent action on the crisis of homelessness. Under my leadership, we are moving thousands of chronically homeless people off the streets this year, into housing with the services to restore lives. And, through Best Starts for Kids, we’ve kept 10,000 children and families safely housed. I led the process to create the much needed Regional Homelessness Authority, and through our collaborative approach, we are seeing the regional buy-in needed to ensure progress.

    Above all else, we must continue striving to create welcoming communities for every neighbor, especially our LGBTQ+ community. My record on this is clear: I organized to pass Referendum 74 for marriage equality; worked with legislative leaders to enshrine state protections for the LGBTQ community; achieved global milestones in the fight against HIV/AIDS; and made King County the largest county in the nation to track the number of contracts awarded to LGBTQ entrepreneurs, designating LGBTQ-owned small businesses as minority-owned businesses, and created an LGBTQ category in our small business directory.

    Across my tenure as Executive, GSBA and King County have been strong partners, working together to deliver on our shared values. As I seek re-election, it is with a commitment to continuing those efforts. The time is now to build a more inclusive, welcoming and prosperous economy, community, and future for us all – let’s get to work.

    You can learn more about my campaign or get involved at Thank you for your support.

  • Member-Candidate Profile: Lacrecia "Lu" Hill

    by Lacrecia "Lu" Hill
    | Jul 16, 2021
    As a membership organization, we invite all our members running for elected office each year to submit a statement to their fellow members. GSBA is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates, and this statement should not be construed as an endorsement by GSBA, its Board, or its staff.

    Lacrecia "Lu" Hill, running for Spokane City Council, District 3

    I am Lacrecia “Lu” Hill (she/her) I am a lightly melanated mixed race, Black and white, queer, able-bodied human living in the inland Northwest, Spokane, WA. This region is the traditional ancestral unceded territory of the Spokane and First Nations that have and continue to be stewards and protectors of the land and water. 

    I love Spokane, four generations of my family have called Spokane home. I was born into the most economically depressed zip code in the state 99207. This experience deeply shaped my belief in economic opportunity for all. I am running for Spokane City Council District 3, because the path I was able to access for opportunity is becoming more narrow and for some in our community is nonexistent. We have to have humans able to address our housing crisis, public safety, and the economy. 
    I have spent my career being a servant leader and ensuring others see the leader in themselves. I am committed to the growth of a regional-based economy and the significant role small businesses play. I believe that we must implement the quadruple bottom line; people, planet, policy, and profit. As we strengthen our regional economy we must ensure that folks are not left behind and more LGBTQIA2+ and BIPOC humans are guiding these policies and conversations.

    I have served Spokane through the non-profit, philanthropic, and business sectors. I worked for Boys & Girls Clubs for over 7 years,  in Vegas, Rural Oregan, and right back home to Spokane. I have raised millions of dollars and engaged families to create health and safety through programs and community initiatives. In 2014, I was recruited by Empire Health Foundation. I worked closely with Better Health Together to addressing houselessness through low barrier supportive housing and community health workers. In the last four years, I became an entrepreneur in the Cannabis industry and built out a production & extraction facility, developing top brands in the state, and annual revenue of $3 million. I know it will take public/private partnerships to address our housing, economic, and public safety realities here in Spokane. I am here for it! 

    I have spent my career Listening, Facilitating & Educating. I enjoy bringing diverse stakeholders together, reviewing data, developing budgets, listening to find solutions, and making hard decisions. I could not think of a better use of my experience, time, and skills than to serve my neighbors and extended neighbors in district 3. 

    I own a consulting business (Wake the Culture/LMH Consulting) and I am a Yoga Teacher (The Wake Yoga). I have a BA in Psychology and an MBA. I currently serve as board president of Spectrum LGBTQIA2+ Center, I also represent Spectrum on the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition. I am on the INBA (Inland Northwest Business Alliance) board, as well as the WA State LGBTQ+ Commission’s economic development committee. Most recently, I have worked with a group of humans to establish the first Black chamber of commerce in Spokane. I have the lived and professional experience that Spokane City Council needs!

  • GSBA Endorses Best Starts For Kids Levy Renewal

    by Matt Landers, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
    | Jul 12, 2021
    The GBSA Board of Directors has endorsed King County Proposition 1 (Best Starts for Kids), and encourages GSBA members to vote YES on the upcoming August ballot.

    Learn more about the levy and its programs.

    This is a renewal of an expiring levy passed in 2015, also endorsed by GSBA. This measure maintains and expands programs that support kids as they grow with high quality childcare, homelessness prevention, and social and emotional youth development programs. Prevention and early engagement is the most effective, and least expensive way, to ensure positive outcomes for our kids and community. We also must support children and youth of color to overcome racial injustice and have the best opportunity to thrive.

    The renewal of this levy will allow King County to maintain and expand effective programs that put children and youth on a path toward lifelong success. Investments include Prenatal-5 family support, preventing youth and family homelessness, and community-driven partnerships through Communities of Opportunity that address emotional growth, early engagement with youth, and racial and social equity priorities.

    The levy invests in out-of-school time programs for ages 5-12, transitions to adulthood for teens 14-24, and builds up to four school-based health centers across the county. It also creates a new child care subsidy to make child care more affordable for more than 3,000 low-income families and ensures that child care workers, through a Wage Project, earn a living wage for their essential work.

    The levy imposes a property tax of 19-cents per $1,000 assessed value (up from 14-cents in the expiring levy). 

    GSBA strongly supports this ballot measure because of the proven success of the previous effort, and the strong and transparent tracking provided by King County. The strong emphasis on equity in education match core values of GSBA. Additionally, GSBA has been the recipient of funding from the Communities of Opportunity program (as part of the Transgender Economic Empowerment Coalition) and we understand the significance and importance of these social equity programs.

    Other supporters of the levy renewal include a unanimous vote by the King County Council, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, King County Labor Council, El Centro de la Raza, API Chaya, Seattle Children's Hospital, Legal Counsel for Youth and Children, CISC, Washington Association for Infant Mental Health, West Side Baby, Treehouse, Moms Rising, and more.

  • Member-Candidate Profile: Andrew Grant Houston

    by Andrew Grant Houston
    | Jul 08, 2021
    As a membership organization, we invite all our members running for elected office each year to submit a statement to their fellow members. GSBA is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates, and this statement should not be construed as an endorsement by GSBA, its Board, or its staff.

    Andrew Grant Houston, running for Seattle Mayor

    I’m Andrew Grant Houston (he/him), also known as “Ace”. I am a queer, Black and Latino architect, environmental advocate, and housing activist living on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

    I am running for Mayor of Seattle because, after years of advocating for more housing at all income levels, we’ve seen little change while worsening wildfires highlight the urgency of our homelessness, housing, and climate crises. We need action, and we need it now. 

    I am an entrepreneur with my own architecture practice, House Cosmopolitan, focused on creating places where people belong. This, along with my membership in the GSBA, are important to me as I have always had to fight to make space for myself in an industry dominated by straight, white men. So now, through my work and my advocacy, I make space for others where none was made for me.

    Over the years, we’ve watched Seattle’s historically LGBTQ+ Capitol Hill price out so many in our community. Often, that means that all of the creativity and uniqueness that we bring to the city, through our small businesses and our art, are pushed out. That’s why I will invest additional funds and resources into building more subsidized cultural spaces, including music venues and art galleries—and, of course, housing. When we build more permanently affordable housing, artists and creatives are able to afford to live in our city and contribute more of their time and energy into making Seattle a truly unique place. To be sure our small businesses can not only stay but thrive, I will implement commercial rent control. We know it works. Rent control protects small businesses from rental price gouging by scheduling reasonable and gradual increases, promotes neighborhood stability, and makes sure Seattleites can stay in Seattle.

    But we need to make sure that everyday people, customers, are taken care of, too. Prioritizing people and economic vitality are not at odds. I will pay people a living wage, build affordable housing across every area of the city, and make it easier for people to reach what they want and need through transportation improvements, so everybody wins.

    At the end of the day, we need transformative change. As a project manager with experience leading multimillion-dollar jobs, I have the knowledge necessary to get things done. My vision of Seattle makes it one of the most vibrant, sustainable cities in the world; a city where no one has to sleep outside, where local businesses and culture thrive, and where orcas start to visit once again. In order to do that, we must center our most marginalized first and, with my experience and background in mind, we will do just that.  No more empty promises.

    Seattle, I will act. And I would be honored to have your support in this race for Mayor of Seattle.

    Andrew Grant Houston (“Ace”)