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Tacoma Election Will Bring New Mayor, Councilmembers

Flickr photo "Union Station" by Travis Wise is licensed under cc by 2.0

Balancing business development, focusing on environmentally-conscious projects and combatinghomelessness are just a few of the issues coming up in Tacoma. Voters now have an opportunity to decide who will lead the city into its next phase.

KNKX Morning Edition Host Kirsten Kendrick spoke with News Tribune city government reporter Candice Ruud to find out more about the municipal races in Tacoma as part of our ongoing election coverage.

Interview highlights

Mayoral race: "Jim Merritt is a veteran architect in Tacoma. He's been involved in a lot of really iconic projects. He has never held public office before. He ran in 2009 against current mayor Marilyn Strickland and was defeated. And his opponent is Victoria Woodards. She was a two-term councilwoman and former director of the Tacoma Urban League. She has lived in Tacoma all her life. She served in the military. If you want to vote for someone who has been on the council and has experience as a politician in Tacoma, and has the support of the current city council, that would be the person you would vote for. If you want to see someone fresh on the city council who hasn't been an elected official in Tacoma, you'd probably vote for Jim Merritt."

Old Tacoma vs. New Tacoma: "In District 5 we have two candidates. One is a local business owner with a family. His name is Brian Arnold. He's running for the first time and has a lot of support from business owners. He very much talks about Tacoma like a 'gritty-blue collar city.' I think he more represents 'Old Tacoma' and that identity of it being a blue-collar place. He is running against Chris Beale, who was a former chair of the Tacoma Planning Commission and is a planner by trade. He has a lot of progressive ideas. He represents the more 'New Tacoma.' He isn't as tied in with the business district, but he has more ideas about Tacoma at large."

Motivations to vote: "Voters aren't voting on a progressive platform, or a more conservative platform. They're really coming out, I think, based on issues that they're interested in and where a certain candidate stands. It's a big-ish city with a small-town feel and a lot of these people have been around for decades. I think a lot of voters also have a personal connection with many of the candidates and that might be a factor in some of the voting, but it absolutely feels like an issues-driven race.

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.