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Seattle City Council Race
April 24, 2017
by William P. Meyers

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Sheley Secrest and Theresa Mosqueda make best first impressions

Maybe because I recently moved to Seattle from a small town, I was very impressed by the quality of all of the candidates for mayor and for the city council, position 8, which is an at large seat.

I admit I am not intimately aware of the details of issues in Seattle politics, though they appear to be similar to issues in most jurisdictions.

There were two clear up-and-coming stars in the mix of perhaps 15 candidates attended the Democratic-party sponsored forum I saw on April 20th. Both were running for the city council seat. I would note that I had no prior impressions of any of the candidates, and I reserve the right to change my opinion of them as I learn more. Also, the candidate filing deadline is May 19, so more people could enter each of the races. Election Day is August 1, and it is a primary, so there could be a runoff on November 7.

Theresa Mosqueda Sheley Secrest
Theresa Mosqueda
Sheley Secrest

Sheley Secrest and Theresa Mosqueda both gave strong presentations. Theresa appears to be the favorite. She is backed by most of the Democratic political establishment and the AFL/CIO, who she has worked for. However, this would be her first time winning an elected office. I don't recall ever seeing a candidate show so much energy and confidence on stage. It was like watching a movie about a candidate. On the other hand, she is the establishment anointed one, and so might turn out to be too much get-along-go along compared to what Seattle and the country really need.

Sheley Secrest was just behind Theresa in presentation abilities, and clearly someone who sees a need to shake things up. Her main issue appears to be civil rights, but you can bet she is strong on social justice. To get into the run-off she will need to reach out more beyond her traditional base. However, so far she has been weak at fundraising. [disclaimer: I gave her campaign my vouchers and a small donation]

Before Theresa Mosqueda entered the race the favorite was Jon Grant, who apparently ran for the seat in the last election and came in second. Jon is a renters right guy, former director of the Tenants Union. Apparently Jon has pissed off some powerful people. However, he was too quiet spoken in the forum to make much of an impression on me. Probably most of the people in the audience already knew what a great guy he is. Also, he has raised a relatively large amount of money, so maybe being not favored by the city political & democratic party establishment is not a campaign killer.

Another candidate worth mentioning is Charlene Strong, who is another long-term activist who has also had experience with appointed seats to public commissions. In fact she is currently Chair of the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

Pretty much everyone in the race (both Mayor and city council) appeared to be progressive, but not all identified as Democrats. They don't need to, because it is a non-partisan race.

I'll round out with links to the web sites of two of the other city council candidates who made a good impression on me:

Mac McGregor
Sarah Nelson

Finally, the usual caveats apply. I've served in a number of capacities over the years, including on a public school board. I've seen that some people who are natural born politicians in the sense of being great speakers and people persons, fall down when it comes to doing their homework in office. A relatively quiet person with a backbone can be a very effective elected official. Any candidate can say they care about homelessness, high rents, and high housing prices, but doing something about issues is not as easy as caring about issues.

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