Edmonds ‘speed dating’ event draws nearly 100 to meet local candidates

Jay Grant of the Edmonds Civic Roundtable welcomes attendees to the candidate “speed dating” event.
As the digital clock keeps time, Edmonds City Council Position 1 candidate Roger Pence addresses his table.
Edmonds City Council Position 1 candidate Chris Eck listens to a question.
Position 4 Edmonds City Council candidate Michelle Dotsch makes a point.
Position 4 Edmonds City Council candidate Mackey Guenther outlines his stance on city issues.
Vivian Olson, running unopposed for Edmonds City Council Position 5, speaks to her tablemates.
Edmonds City Council Position 6 incumbent Susan Paine lists her accomplishments during her first council term.
Position 6 Edmonds City Council Candidate Kevin Fagerstrom describes his background.
David Preston, running unopposed for Edmonds Port Commission, listens as table captain Larry Fuell describes the ground rules.
Edmonds School Board President Nancy Katims, running for reelection to District 5 director, talks about school district budget challenges.
Hawk Cramer is running unopposed for the Edmonds School Board District 3 seat being vacated by Gary Noble.
Karianna Wilson is running for relection to the Verdant Health Commission/Public Hospital District No. 2, Snohomish County.

A total of 11 candidates for local elected office hopped from table to table at the Edmonds Waterfront Center Tuesday night in the first-ever “speed dating” event sponsored by the Edmonds Civic Roundtable and My Edmonds News.

Participants included those running for Edmonds City Council, Edmonds Port Commission and School Board, along with the Verdant Health Commission. But three of Edmonds’ four mayoral candidates — Diane Buckshnis, Mike Rosen and Brad Shipley — also attended and took part in the roundable discussions.

Candidates were given 10 minutes at each table, during which time they were allowed two minutes for opening remarks and eight minutes to take questions from the nearly 100 attendees. Robust discussions were heard around the room on topics ranging from health care to housing to public safety to school budget cuts to zoning.

There was also a “Zoom room” in which each candidate took turns meeting with those attending virtually.

One participant noted that it was refreshing to be able to have conversations with the candidates face-to-face. Some candidates reported one downside of the event, however: losing their voices by the end of the evening.

For those who couldn’t attend, a video of candidates’ responses will be made available for future viewing.

— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel

  1. As a long-time Edmonds city resident, attending this event was very informative. I was impressed by the presentations made by Chris Eck; Hawk Kramer; Vivian Olson; Susan Paine; and Kevin Fagerstrom. The format by the EDMONDS Civic Roundtable was very well done. Thank you also to the EDMONDS Waterfront Center for the excellent venue.

  2. This was a great event that gave us an opportunity. The give and take nature of the event allowed those attending to get a much better understanding of the candidates and their stances on a variety of issues.

  3. Great journalism, Theresa and good candid photos. Bravo!

    It was a very enjoyable and educational method to have a more personalized conversation with the candidates to better understand their character and convictions towards leading our communities.

    Thank you Edmonds Civic Roundtable Team for an innovative and well managed process! Great job!

  4. This was a well put together event – it was great to hear from the attendees about their concerns and their questions. Huge thanks to the organizers.

  5. I was there and appreciated the event and the candidates. Our table did not hear from any of the mayoral candidates nor did we see them in attendance. We had all lamented the fact that they were not included. Why were they not full participants for all tables?

    1. Judy, the 4 mayoral candidates are all invited to participate in a separate event on June 22nd at 7:00 pm at the Edmonds Waterfront Center. Please plan to attend.

    2. Judy, three of the four mayoral candidates were there and participating on the table panels. They had interesting questions to ask us council candidates. Only mayor Nelson was absent from the event.

      1. It would have been nice if we had all had the same access to all of the candidates. I thought that was the point of the event. Seems like a design flaw to me. We’re they there as candidates or just citizens?

    3. Hello Judy. I would be happy to meet with you individually, or with a group of friends so that I can hear your personal priorities and concerns as well as to answer any questions you might have of me. Do not hesitate to reach out to me at Rosen@Rosen4Mayor.com so that we can arrange a time and place. Thank you for your interest in hearing from candidates and for participating in the event on Tuesday evening.

  6. Thanks for organizing this event. Great to hear about candidate’s priorities in a relaxed setting. Also learned a lot from the questions of others at my table.

  7. Thank you again Edmonds Civic Roundtable and My Edmonds News for the wonderful opportunity to get to know and hear from so many of our neighbors! I really enjoyed our conversations, am thankful to hear many of our community’ member’s priorities, and look forward to connecting again soon with everyone.

  8. Thanks to all who organized and attended for a great evening of exchange around the future of our city! It was really nice to meet everyone. Please reach out to me (mackey@mackeyforedmonds.org) with any follow-up questions.

  9. Thanks Edmonds Civic Roundtable and My Edmonds News for the wonderful opportunity to hear from the candidates! I have attended many candidate forums in the past and found this format to be so much better because of the opportunity to have a conversation with the candidates in a participatory manner as part of a small group of other neighbors. The 10 minute format required both question askers and responses to be brief, avoiding prepared answers. I appreciated even those candidates who are unopposed, like Vivian Olson and Hawk Cramer from participating. I look forward for the future event with candidates for mayor

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