Eight candidates in the Seattle mayoral race met in Redmond yesterday at a forum sponsored by the Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC). The forum was moderated by KIRO Television’s evening news co-anchor Angela Russell and attended by a packed room of Microsoft employees.
Microsoft has more than seven thousand employees who live in Seattle. Bringing the debate outside Seattle city limits for the first time provided an opportunity to hear from the candidates on issues that cross municipal boundaries. As the leader of the largest city in the state, the mayor of Seattle plays an important role as a regional leader. This forum provided the opportunity to hear the candidates’ thoughts on how the mayor might take advantage of that role to foster greater regional coordination and relationships with state leaders.
Transportation figured prominently into the discussion. While as many as 40 percent of Microsoft employees take alternate forms of transportation in their commute, improving traffic flows between Seattle and the Eastside is nonetheless a critical issue to them. And for anyone who has traveled the 520 bridge recently, the difference in advancement of the bridge replacement project between the Bellevue and the Seattle sides is stark. Candidates were questioned on their goals for advancing Westside design and funding so that the 520 bridge can be rehabilitated in its role as an east-west regional corridor.
On another subject spanning both sides of Lake Washington, Angela Russell noted that many cities in the Puget Sound region have technology companies located within their borders. She asked the mayoral candidates about how they might work with their counterparts in Eastside cities to advance the industry as a whole and create more opportunities for Washington residents to participate in this thriving sector of our region’s economy.
All of these subjects—and more—took center stage for an energetic hour of conversation about issues that affect Seattle, the Puget Sound region and beyond. The primary for the Seattle Mayor’s race takes place on Aug. 6. Learn more by watching the complete debate below.