Congressman Jim McDermott announced his retirement at the end of this year, leaving an open seat for Washington state’s 7th Congressional District. Nine candidates are running to replace him and all nine were present at the candidate forum held by the League of Women Voters on Saturday at Shoreline City Hall.
Listed in the order they appear on the ballot:
- Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, Democrat
- Scott Sutherland, Republican
- Don Rivers, Democrat
- Pramila Jayapal, Democrat
- Leslie Regier, No Party Preference
- Craig Keller, Republican
- Arun Jhaveri, Democrat
- Joe McDermott, Democrat
- Carl Cooper, No Party Preference
Walkinshaw, Jayapal and McDermott all cited their legislative experience. Walkinshaw represents the 43rd district in the State House of Representatives. McDermott was a state legislator for 10 years and has been on the King County Council for the past five years. Jayapal serves in the State Senate, representing the 37th Legislative District.
All Democrats, they cited their experience working in a Republican-controlled Legislature and their ability to work across the aisle.
Arun Jhaveri, a Democrat and the first mayor of Burien, is a scientist with 40 years experience who worked 15 years for the U.S. Department of Energy on the issues of climate change.
Craig Keller, a Republican, was pleased that all candidates were included in the forum, several times mentioning a Seattle City Club debate that included only three of the candidates. His concern focuses on the “thousands of non-citizens registered to vote,” getting health benefits and potentially getting Social Security.
Don Rivers said that he had been a “king-maker” for years, working behind the scenes as an advisor to politicians.
Leslie Regier said she was a “big picture” person, and that people can come together when they focus on the goals. She said she thinks out of the box to find solutions.
Carl Cooper said he was a non-professional politician. His issue is representation. He said that for the population of our district we should have 20 people representing us, not just one.
Scott Sutherland, who ran for this position in 2012 and 2014, said he would work across the aisle, favored background checks for gun ownership, and would work to create jobs.
Candidates were asked questions prepared by the League of Women Voters on their primary issues, what they would do about political polarization, gun violence, climate change, barriers to voting, the most pressing issue facing the U.S. and their solution.
Then they responded to questions submitted from the audience on federal legalization of marijuana, Social Security, their position on Roe v. Wade, and why voters should vote for them.
The entire session was videotaped and will be made available on TV.
By Diane Hettrick, Shoreline Area News