Seattle mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon discussed the affordable housing and homelessness crises in a fast-paced debate in front of 400-plus voters with thousands more watching online Tuesday evening September 12.
Changing Seattle: Mayoral Candidates Debate was produced by Solid Ground and Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness, to “provide a deeper, more nuanced view into how our two final candidates think about housing, homelessness and related issues, and thereby help voters make a more informed choice,” said moderator Enrique Cerna of KCTS 9.
The first public debate of the campaign season revealed just how much Seattle voters care about these issues.
Video of the debate, which you can view now at the bottom of this post or on the Solid Ground Facebook page, has already been viewed more than 20,000 times as of Monday morning, with clips and followup stories by local media outlets gaining hundreds of thousand of views. Media co-sponsors were Crosscut and The Seattle Times.
Here is some of the coverage:
- Durkan, Moon: not so similar after all (Crosscut)
- Jenny Durkan, Cary Moon square off in Seattle mayoral debate overshadowed by Murray’s resignation (The Seattle Times)
- 7 Highlights From the First Major Mayoral Candidate Debate (Seattle Met)
- Moon, Durkan struggle to stand apart in Seattle mayoral debate (Seattle PI)
- Moon Says Stop the Sweeps, Durkan Says Save HALA, In First Debate (Seattle Weekly)
Earlier in the campaign, KING5 polling showed that affordable housing and homelessness were two of the three issues of greatest concern in Seattle.
Ben Miksch, President of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, noted how this was a sea change in terms of voter awareness. “People have been working to focus attention on these issues for decades. Now, we’ve come so far as to have a whole mayoral debate just on housing and homelessness.”
KCTS9’s Enrique Cerna moderated the panel of three journalists who cover City Hall and homelessness: Crosscut’s David Kroman, Heidi Groover of The Stranger, and Vernal Coleman of The Seattle Times, who probed Durkan and Moon to get beyond talking points into policy details.
Solid Ground and SU Project on Family Homelessness and partner agencies Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, Housing Development Consortium and Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund launched this voter education project with a pre-primary candidates’ survey focusing on seven questions around housing and homelessness. Twelve of the 21 candidates in the primary responded. You can read Durkan and Moon’s responses here.
Community members who registered to attend and partner advocacy groups submitted nearly 100 questions for the candidates, many of which were included in the debate. A lightly curated list of the questions is here.
“You don’t get to wonk out about housing policy and homelessness policy for an hour and half very often,” Moon said in her final statement. But clearly, Seattle voters are glad they did!