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Minority leaders support McGinn re-election, with emotion

Keith Seinfeld

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he’s seeking a second term, despite the presence of several high-profile, well-funded challengers. He launched his campaign Wednesday with a big group of supporters in south Seattle, at the Filipino Community Center.

McGinn has a list of positive news he can boast about since being elected mayor in 2009. The economy has started to rebound, with the local jobless rate falling by one-third; the city avoided any major cuts to services or policing; he helped pass several levy and bond measures, particularly an expanded Families and Education Levy. He also led the negotiations for a new NBA basketball arena.

In asking voters for a second term, he tried to sound like a ‘kumbaya’ mayor.

“People look to Seattle for leadership,” he said. “And I want them to say, ‘Look at how they work together, look at how they get the most out of every person in the city.’ And that’s why I got involved in my community, that’s why I got involved in the Sierra Club, that’s why I ran for Mayor. ... I love working with all of you."

In the room, giving the mayor their emotional endorsements, leaders of minority groups applauded McGinn. Particularly, Hispanic and East African leaders praised him, nearly in tears, for reaching out to them and responding to their needs.

McGinn’s relations with the City Council have been more difficult. Councilmembers have accused him of not being a good collaborator.

And he's hoping voters forget about early stumbles, including a battle over the SR-99 highway tunnel beneath downtown, and recent problems with police accountability.

His top priorities for a second term include programs that prepare pre-school children for kindergarten and make them all readers by 3rd grade, and a big push for new mass transit lines, including new rail lines to Ballard, through downtown, and through Eastlake across to the U-District.

“What we know is if there's a new round of federal funding for transit, we want to have the plans ready, so it doesn’t go somewhere else,” he said.

So far, McGinn’s challengers for mayor include State Senator Ed Murray, City Councilman Tim Burgess, former Councilman Peter Steinbrueck, and several others.

Keith Seinfeld is a former KNKX/KPLU reporter who covered health, science and the environment over his 17 years with the station. He also served as assistant news director. Prior to KLPU, he was a staff reporter at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma and a freelance writer-producer. His work has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.