Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

KCTS Debate: Seattle Mayoral Candidates Forced to Prioritize

It isn't always easy to pin down a politician. Most would prefer to list a range of issues they plan to address than choose just one top priority. But Tuesday night, during a debate on KCTS-TV, the candidates for mayor of Seattle, incumbent Mike McGinn and challenger state Senator Ed Murray, were forced to list everything, from housing to education in the order of importance.

It happened during what you could call the game show portion of the debate. Co-moderator Enrique Cerna explained that each candidate would be given cardboard strips that they would then place on a kiosk. On the cards were the words "police," "housing," "education," "waterfront," "parks," and "publicly funded elections."

The candidates didn't seem thrilled with the idea of having to choose one issue over the other.

McGinn asked Cerna, "Will I have a chance for some narrative?"

Cerna assured him he would.

So what was Mike McGinn's number one priority? He put "education" at the top of his list, followed by "police."

"I think education is critical to long term economic success and opportunity and we did double the Families and Education Levy. We want to talk about preschool for all, it's a high priority," he said.

Ed Murray put "police" at the top of his side of the kiosk. "I think the issue of public safety and reform of police is just simply the number one thing we have to deal with," he said.

As in past debates, there were a lot of things the candidates agreed on. In the lightning round of the debate, both McGinn and Murray said they support the GMO initiative, favor public funding of city elections, although it was at the bottom of both their "lists" and said they would not support an aggressive panhandling ordinance in Seattle.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.