Erik Houser is the author of “Combat and Collaboration in Seattle’s Historic Minimum Wage Debate,” the First Place Award winner in the Best Teaching Case Competition in 2018. The case was written in 2017 as a Master of Public Administration capstone project under the advisement of Professor Craig Thomas and Associate Professor Stephen Page at the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. In 2014, Seattle became the first major city in the country to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour, and this winning case explores the contentious and private negotiations between labor, business, and nonprofits that led to the policy becoming law. Students put themselves into the shoes of various stakeholders as the fractured negotiating committee races toward an impending deadline.
Erik Houser is based in Seattle as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for both the Campion Foundation and Campion Advocacy Fund, a family foundation and 501(c)(4) nonprofit that work to protect wilderness, end homelessness, and build nonprofit capacity. Erik has been a political and strategic communications adviser to a number of Washington state’s members of Congress, including U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, and then-Congressman Jay Inslee. He also served as the spokesperson for Planned Parenthood’s advocacy and political arm in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Hawaii. In addition to his MPA from the University of Washington, Erik is a graduate of the College of William and Mary.