Sept. 26: Edmonds Center for Arts one of venues for Washington state political debates

Edmonds Center for the Arts

The Washington State Debate Coalition has announced plans to produce four political debates this fall, featuring candidates for the Seattle city council, Washington state attorney general, state superintendent of public instruction and governor. The superintendent of public instruction debate will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 4th Ave. N.

The Washington State Debate Coalition was founded by Seattle CityClub in 2016, and Seattle CityClub Executive Director Alicia Crank said the announcement kicks off an important part of the 2024 election cycle and underscored the role debates play in the American elections.

“Candidate debates have long been a staple of our democratic process in that they enable voters to hear directly from those seeking public office while providing opportunity for discussion and rebuttal on key public policy issues. Since its founding six years ago, the Washington State Debate Coalition has played an integral role in convening candidate debates and is proud to continue that tradition this election year,” Crank said.

Here’s the complete 2024 schedule of debates and locations:

Sept. 18 – Seattle City Council, Seattle Central College, Seattle – 7 p.m.

Sept. 19 – Attorney General, Seattle Central College, Seattle – 7 p.m.

Sept. 26  – OSPI, Edmonds Center for the Arts, Edmonds – 7 p.m.

Oct. 11  – Governor, Central Washington University, Ellensburg – 4 p.m.*
(*Yom Kippur starts at sunset that evening, thus the earlier start time.)

“With 2024 being an important election year for local, regional, statewide, and federal elections, we value the need for creating a more robust but streamlined debate series,” Crank said.“Working with a dedicated production team across all the debates has enabled us to expand the number of locations we can convene these important civic engagement opportunities, resulting in hosting a debate for the first time in Snohomish County. Additionally, with the formation of our new Civically Engaged Youth Council, and in partnership with the Building Bridges Project, there will be youth and Gen-Z representation in crafting candidate questions as well as a role in debate moderation.”

Snohomish County Council Members Jared Mead and Nate Nehring, co-founders of the Building Bridges Project, expressed their enthusiasm for the upcoming debates.

“Our involvement in these debates is a unique opportunity to elevate youth voices from our Future Leaders Academy. We believe that encouraging civil engagement and respectful dialogue among candidates, irrespective of their political affiliations, is crucial for a healthy democracy.”

The coalition also expressed appreciation for the support of its presenting sponsors, Comcast and AARP Washington, who will each play a critical role in informing and engaging voters this election season, said Crank.

“Voters 50+ are the majority of voters in every election. They’re not just voting; they’re grappling with the everyday challenges that come with caring for parents, siblings and other loved ones, and they’re concerned about their future health and financial security,” said AARP State Director Marguerite Ro. “AARP is urging voters to find out where the candidates stand on the issues that matter most to older adults and their families.”

“Comcast is proud to support Seattle City Club and the fall debates, which will allow voters to hear candidates’ policies and plans, helping them make informed decisions,” said Carla Carrell, senior Director of External Affairs at Comcast. “We anticipate that the upcoming debates will generate public interest, increase political engagement, and encourage voting. These debates are a crucial part of democracy, providing transparency, fostering accountability and enhancing voter knowledge.”

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