Which woman? That’s yet to be determined. After sifting through a whopping 21 mayoral candidates during primary season, the voters have spoken. As King County Elections is still counting ballots we know that the top three of the 21 candidates are women. As of Tuesday afternoon, this is how things are sizing up:

  • Jenny Durkan at 31.6%
  • Cary Moon at 15.56%
  • Nikkita Oliver at 13.9%

This is quite extraordinary considering Seattle’s first and only female mayor was elected in 1926, 16 years after Washington State’s Women’s Suffrage was enacted and just 6 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment

As of late, Seattle has been a city that strongly upholds diversity of many sorts in elected officials. A city of less than 10% African Americans elected Norman B. Rice for two terms. Our current Mayor, Ed Murray, is openly gay. Seattle’s congressional district 7 is represented by Indian American Pramila Jayapal. Our City Council is a beacon of diversity, made up of more women than men, Asian American, Indian American and Hispanic representatives.

When it comes to race, gender, and ethnic diversity, we set the standard. However, I want to see the same level of diversity extend to policy. Our top three candidates’ political stances are almost indistinguishable from one another, and that’s troubling. Voters need to have more choices when it comes to our city’s leaders. Just like a successful company intentionally allows for healthy levels of friction and discourse, we need different approaches to how the city will be run. No matter who is elected our next mayor, I hope she brings different viewpoints to City Hall. Hire experienced individuals who will both challenge her and represent all the constituents of Seattle. We need to bring more balance to the mayor’s office. Durkin, Moon or Oliver will have an opportunity to deliver on that.  

This week’s Seattle Mayoral debate discussed a lot about how our city has been negatively impacted by the rapid growth we are currently experiencing. The culprit— “rich developers” and “tech.” Yes, there should be more conversation about how we can all share the load of responsibility and cost that comes with rapid growth. However, last night was an opportunity for a candidate to open up the conversation about the endless resources of technology and innovation we have at our disposal in our own backyard.

For every real challenge we are facing, there are millions of dollars and hours of research going into finding efficient solutions that scale. Right here in our community, we have businesses developing cutting-edge technology tackling many of these hot topics including affordable urban housing, shelter for the homeless, and transit, just to name a few. Where was the idea for a government-technology coalition? With City Hall spending up about $2,000 per resident in the last four years, you would think efficiency and scale would be at the top of the priority list. At a minimum, how about a discussion around data analytics? We are experiencing an unprecedented level of new taxation, and yet no clear reporting on whether this tax spending has been effective. I know of a firm or two that would be more than happy to take a stab at the budget.

Partnering with companies to help bring solutions while collaborating on our growth should have been mentioned by at least once by a single candidate last night. But instead, it was an evening of pandering. Once again we watched big business be blamed for all that’s wrong with Seattle. That attitude is not going end a regressive tax system. Or relive our traffic congestion. Or support the most vulnerable in our community.

As we approach the August 1 Primary Election, I hope we as a city resolve to shed our partisan viewpoints and instead strive to find sustainable solutions. Let’s drop the status quo and get innovative.