As the filing May 21 filing deadline passed, King County and Seattle voters officially had a long slate of choices for the Aug. 3 primary, in anticipation of the Nov. 2 general election.
No race to get there will be more heated than the one following Mayor Jenny Durkan’s controversial term, including in regard to homelessness. The path is wide open, as Durkan is not seeking reelection.
Seven of the 15 Seattle mayoral candidates showed May 20 to participate in a Zoom meeting hosted by Resolution to End Homelessness. Colleen Echohawk, Jessyn Farrell, Lorena González, Bruce Harrell, Andrew Grant Houston, Lance Randall and Casey Sixkiller attended.
For an hour and a half, questions were posed to the candidates that ranged from how city officials can gain the trust of people experiencing homelessness to how and if candidates would prioritize resources and funding. Hot-button topics were affordable housing, tent sweeps and racial disparities within unhoused populations.
Several of the candidates drew on personal experiences, whether it was a family member or a close friend who was unhoused.
Farrell spoke about her father’s longterm housing instability. “My father when I was a child lived in 15 different houses. I never memorized his address, and I know how harmful it can be to have a family and the deep economic and instability that comes from not having a stable roof over your head year after year after year.”
Sixkiller proposed a billion-dollar bond to build 3,000 new permanent supportive homes for more vulnerable people. Houston suggested a sales tax on construction materials to fund future affordable housing projects.
Candidates were also asked what their stance was on the model of “housing first approach.” All agreed housing should be a top priority, no matter an individual’s circumstances.
Read more of the May 26 - June 1, 2021 issue.