Houston is a consultant at Lighthouse Counsel, a local company that partners with nonprofits to increase mission awareness, organizational effectiveness and philanthropic support.
As a third-generation Athenian and grandson of the late Judge Joseph Gaines, Houston has long been engaged in his community and continues to be an advocate for conservative values in northeast Georgia. He serves on the Envision Athens Steering Committee and Junior League of Athens Community Advisory Board. Houston previously served on the LEAD Athens Alumni Association Board of Directors and multiple K-12 and University of Georgia boards. He is a 2015 LEAD Athens graduate. As part of his team's project, he helped found Automatic for Autism, an effort that raised funds and awareness for families struggling to afford the costs of autism therapy.
A graduate of the University of Georgia, Houston served as student body president while at UGA. He graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Blue Key Honor Society and several other organizations. While at UGA, Houston also studied abroad at the London School of Economics and spent a summer in Washington, D.C.
"Service to this community has been a longstanding tradition in my family, and that is what guides my candidacy. I'm not your typical candidate, but I am ready to serve and deliver for this district.
It's time for a new direction of leadership to bring a fresh perspective and renewed energy to the Gold Dome."
In the News
"'I’m running for House District 117 because this community has been home my entire life, and I want to serve my neighbors'"
Flagpole Magazine (July 12, 2017)
"Republican Houston Gaines reported today that he has raised over $65,000 in under two weeks as he launches his bid for the open state House District 117 seat."
GeorgiaPol.com (July 13, 2017)
"Houston Gaines, a Republican consultant for non-profits and grandson of a local judge, has raised in the neighborhood of $66,000"
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (July 14, 2017)
"A number of Oconee County leaders, including Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell, already have picked sides in an evolving contest"
Oconee County Observations (July 18, 2017)
"He said that running will give him the chance to give back to the people in the community that he grew up with the ones that motivated him to get involved in the community."
The Red & Black (July 23, 2017)
"A "new, conservative voice." That's what Athens's 117th state House District has in Houston Gaines's recently announced candidacy. His Athenian blood, alumnus status at the University of Georgia, and accomplishments on and off campus in his time there all compliment the slogan favorably."
The Arch Conservative (August 10, 2017)
"Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry is quoted as saying: "Like his grandfather, Judge Gaines, Houston is someone we can trust representing our community and someone we can be proud to call our State Representative. He will get things done in Atlanta and be someone who will listen to all of us.""
Oconee County Observations (August 24, 2017)
"Gaines appears to have some heavy political hitters who are ready to go to bat for him. In addition to Mayor Denson's endorsement, he has the support of Oconee County Commission Chairman John Daniell, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry, Barrow County Commission Chairman Pat Graham, and Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum."
GeorgiaPol.com (August 25, 2017)
"Houston Gaines of Athens, a graduate of Athens Academy and the University of Georgia, is also running as a Republican. Gaines was president of the UGA Student Government Association in 2015-2016 and is the grandson of the late Judge Joseph Gaines of Athens."
Athens Banner-Herald (August 25, 2017)
"'I will bring northeast Georgia's conservative values to the state Capitol and work from those principles to fight for better schools, greater traffic mobility and workforce development that leads to new jobs and prosperity for our families.'"
Athens Banner-Herald (September 14, 2017)
"A year ago, Republican Houston Gaines was the University of Georgia's student government president. Now he has the fast-track for an open Athens-based seat in the Georgia Legislature."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (September 18, 2017)
"I'll represent this district as a common-sense conservative committed to excellence in our schools, mobility on our roads and investment in a highly skilled workforce."
On the Issues
Houston knows we must attract more high-paying jobs to the four counties that make up District 117. Houston will work to bridge the gap between the state’s economic development officials and local leaders. It’s time we begin to look at developing industries and tap into the unmatched pipeline of the first-class workforce coming out of our institutions of higher learning. He will work to make sure state government creates a climate for job creators that keeps Georgia the No.1 state in the nation to do business.
Unlike the career politicians in Washington, Houston knows the importance of balancing a budget without raising taxes. He knows that businesses grow and thrive in Georgia when state government creates an environment to succeed. Houston will look to local business leaders in identifying burdensome regulations to cut, areas to streamline services, and ways for state government to better serve our Georgia families. With advancing technology used by the private sector to run their businesses more efficiently, there is no reason state government should not have the same mindset to provide services to its citizens faster and cheaper.
A HOPE Scholarship recipient, Houston knows the impact the program can have to keep our best and brightest in Georgia. That’s why he will champion efforts that keep the program solvent for deserving students for the next generation. Houston will fight to keep education funding at the highest percentage of the state budget in history. He also believes we can attract great teachers by keeping salaries the highest in the Southeast and use burgeoning technologies to transfer our delivery of education from one-size-fits-all to a student-centered approach that allows those who are ahead to move on and those who are behind to catch up.
While traveling the district speaking to business owners, Houston has seen firsthand the consequences of the uncertainty in Washington for people throughout the district. He knows the state must be prepared to take action that will responsibly increase choice and decrease cost for healthcare in Georgia. Right now, Georgians are paying billions in federal tax dollars that are going to insure people in other states. Houston wants a plan that brings our tax dollars home from Washington, but does so in a fiscally responsible way.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
The importance of getting our people, products and commerce around the district doesn’t apply only to a few Saturdays in the fall. Houston understands that the necessary improvements to our roads and bridges are an economic development issue and a quality of life issue. Upgrades to Hwy. 316 will be a priority for Houston, and he will seek to find creative avenues to find the most cost-efficient ways to complete these projects in a timely manner.
OUR GEORGIA VALUES
Houston plans to make limited government, personal liberties and defense of our conservative values a focus in the State House. Whether it’s protecting the sanctity of life, safeguarding our 2nd Amendment rights or ensuring government spending meets our priorities, Houston will work to defend our Georgia values.