Seattle election preview: Mayoral, city attorney candidates make their case

Oct 12, 2021, 11:35 AM
Seattle endorsements...
Seattle City Hall. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Ballots for the November 2021 General Election begin going out to voters on Wednesday, Oct. 13. With Election Day just around the corner, MyNorthwest spoke with Seattle mayoral and city attorney candidates for insight into each of their respective campaigns.

Mayoral race

August top-two Primary results:

  • Bruce Harrell, 34%
  • Lorena Gonzalez, 32%

Bruce Harrell:

Harrell served on Seattle City Council for 18 years before deciding not to run for reelection in 2019. He also briefly served as interim mayor in 2017, opting not to finish out the term and to instead return to the council. He served as Council President for four years.

In a city where homelessness is among the chief concerns of voters leading into November’s mayoral election, Harrell hopes to leverage a more cooperative approach with the city council into the implementation of several measures laid out in Compassion Seattle’s now-defunct ballot initiative.

Responding to whether he supports a proposal from the group that would have mandated that all parks and public spaces be kept clear of homeless encampments, he described it as “an unfair narrative to try and use as a litmus test for one’s compassion towards people who are homeless.”

Harrell went on to note that he “does not believe our parks and sidewalks should be used as de facto houses,” and that “it is a good thing to have required action and a sense of urgency to house people.”

Read the full interview with MyNorthwest here.

Lorena Gonzalez: 

Gonzalez was elected to Seattle City Council in 2015, before assuming the role of council president following Harrell’s decision to exit the dais in 2019.

She describes her own plan to address homelessness as “drastically different” from Compassion Seattle’s, claiming that the group’s proposed charter amendment was “fundamentally rooted in legitimizing inhumane, forcible removal of people from parks and public spaces.”

“That is not a solution to homelessness,” she told MyNorthwest. “That is a Band-Aid approach that is the current status quo, which is to simply move the problem from one neighborhood to another, and that’s unacceptable.”

Read the full interview with MyNorthwest here.

City Attorney

August top-two Primary results: 

  • Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, 36%
  • Ann Davison, 33%

Nicole Thomas-Kennedy:

Thomas-Kennedy worked as a public defender for King County for four years, before leaving in 2020 to take on pro bono defense work for activists amid a flurry of social justice protests across the region.

A self-described “abolitionist,” she believes that the term is often misunderstood when it comes to her actual policy positions.

“As an initial reaction, I get why there is that reaction because it sounds scary — it sounds like ‘Escape from New York,’ or ‘Thunderdome,’ or like ‘The Purge,’ but that’s not what it is,” she explained. “The whole idea around abolition is preventing harm and creating healing and repair, and we just can’t do those things while causing the trauma at the same time, and while pouring resources into causing that trauma. It’s a scaling-back and a building-up at the same time.”

Read the full interview with MyNorthwest here.

Ann Davison: 

Davison has worked as a lawyer and arbitrator for roughly 15 years, having largely focused on civil cases over that period. She ran for city council in 2019, losing to incumbent District 5 Councilmember Debora Juarez by a 60% to 30% margin. She then ran as a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, placing third in the primary with 12% of votes.

Much of her message is centered on public safety, as part of a platform she says has remained consistent across her three campaigns for public office.

“Public safety has always been an aspect of what I’ve talked about,” she told MyNorthwest. “It seems to be the conversation is about public safety, and this really is the place to have a positive impact.”

In this particular race, she sees it as “specifically not anything related to policy,” and more about “making sure people are safe regardless of their situation.”

Read the full interview with MyNorthwest here

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Seattle election preview: Mayoral, city attorney candidates make their case