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Godden Faces Large Slate Of Challengers On Seattle City Council

Amy Radil

Today (Friday) is the deadline for candidates to file for office in Washington state. In Seattle, five city councilmembers are up for reelection. The campaign season kicked off with a candidate forum at Seattle City Hall. KUOW's Amy Radil was there.


Candidate filings are still being updated this afternoon, but at noon today (Friday), 11 city council candidates were already debating the issues. The debate sponsored by the Metropolitan Democratic Club included 11 of around 14 expected candidates for the five seats.

Two–term city council member Jean Godden so far has drawn the most opponents in her reelection bid. Godden says as budget committee chair this term, she has sought to preserve what she called Seattle values, including funding for domestic violence programs and community health centers. She also took credit for bringing Russell Investments to Seattle from Tacoma, where they've become the main tenants in Washington Mutual's old headquarters.

Godden: "I've brought jobs to Seattle. I personally negotiated with the Frank Russell Company and managed to bring them to Seattle, cinched the deal, otherwise they would be in Chicago."

Her opponents include Maurice Classen, a former King County prosecutor. Classen was asked about funding public libraries, but said to be honest he would address other needs first.

Classen: "In reality, we need a safe community first and foremost so we can build our community. Second, we need to make sure it's as equal as possible and provide equal opportunity for people. And healthcare. And then fore(?) there we can focus on some of those things that are a little bit more, not necessarily lower on the priority list, but ones we have to get to when we have more money."

Another Godden opponent is Bobby Forch. Forch works for the city and previously ran to fill the seat won by Mike O'Brien. Forch was also asked about library funding, and said he would try to brainstorm new sources to keep them from depending on the shrinking general fund.

Forch: "I look at things in terms of problem solving, it usually isn't all or one. I like the idea of a levy and then some dedicated funding. The general fund kind of moves up and down depending on what's going on."

The final contender for Godden's seat is Michael Taylor–Judd, a Democratic activist and nonprofit manager. He called funding libraries a social justice issue and a high priority. Taylor–Judd was also asked how he'd help the city address climate change.

Taylor–Judd: "Well, the first thing I would do is put a stop to the tunnel project."

Including Taylor–Judd, there appear to be at least three challengers for City Council seats who oppose the deep–bore tunnel. Currently Mike O'Brien is the only sitting councilmember who opposes it. The issue could be a high–profile one in the primary, since the August ballot will also include a referendum on the tunnel approval process.

I'm Amy Radil, KUOW News.

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