The obvious standout in this crowded field is Stephanie Pure, a longtime aide to Seattle City Council Member Peter Steinbrueck, who is making her first run at elected office. (Ed Murray, whom she’s looking to replace, also started out as a council aide, as did current King County Executive Ron Sims and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.)
Pure, a quick study, has a long history of working to preserve the rights of people who aren’t often heard in politics: tenants (Pure organized the citywide Renters Summit with Judy Nicastro in 2000) and youth (she was a founding member of the Vera Project; she served for several years on the city’s Music and Youth Task Force to overturn the Teen Dance Ordinance; and, as an aide to Steinbrueck, she worked to increase library hours).
To winnow the candidates, the SECB held our own “primary,” narrowing the field to three: Pure, Preston Gates & Ellis attorney Jamie Pedersen, and former City Council Member and Superior Court Judge Jim Street. Pure, who’s focused on density and smart growth, is most in line with the SECB (and her district) on a wide range of issues. She supports public financing of campaigns; she says full marriage equality, not just civil unions, is her goal; and, saying the city’s commitment to meeting Kyoto standards “seem[s] to stop short when we talk about the viaduct,” she supports the surface/transit alternative for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. (Pure’s opponents all support the mayor’s unaffordable, environmentally unsustainable $4 billion tunnel.) And Pure was the only candidate of the three to mention education and reproductive rights among her top priorities.
Voters in the district should not be swayed by the desire to “send a message” to the supreme court by sending Pedersen, who is gay, to Olympia. Pedersenâ€”an attorney who will stay on the Preston Gates payroll even if he wins a seat in the legislatureâ€”is too compromised and middle-of-the-road to be truly effective. (During the SECB’s interview, Pedersen argued credulously that money has no influence on politics. “I don’t think there’s a problem with the system,” he said.) His constant bragging about “saving” PacMed on Beacon Hill (work he did in his paid role as a lawyer for Preston Gates) also turned us off. Street, who initially struck several members of the SECB as the brainiest and most knowledgeable of the pack, quickly started to grate on us with his know-it-all demeanor. We’re worried he’ll turn off his potential colleagues in Olympia, too. Pure, a young woman who has lived in the 43rd (mostly on Capitol Hill) her entire adult life, best represents the full diversity of her district. A smart, effective young woman would be a great addition to the Ed Murrayâ€“Frank Chopp power axis in the 43rd. Vote Pure.
I love it! And let’s face it, we all love Stephanie Pure. I’m so looking forward to saying “I knew her when!”