SEATTLE - Thursday, Seattle mayoral candidates Bruce Harrell and Lorena González squared off in a debate focusing on some of the city’s biggest issues.
Both candidates are very familiar with what is affecting the city. Harrell is a former city councilmember and González is a current city member.
While the focus was intended to be on business and the economy, many other subjects were discussed during the hour-long debate including public transportation, affordable housing, as well as taxing large corporations.
Both candidates said their top priority as mayor will be addressing the homelessness crisis.
"I want our parks back, and I want our sidewalks back, and I want to house people. That’s my sense of urgency. And quite candidly, the whole city knows we’re not seeing that coming from city hall," said Harrell.
"People living in our open spaces, in tents, is unacceptable. I don’t believe people should be living outside. We need to work clearly and urgently to rapidly increase shelter," said González.
The candidates agreed on some topics, like requiring vaccine mandates for city employees like first responders. However, the two mayoral candidates were on opposite ends of the debate on topics like the future of public safety in the city.
"We have got to have a mayor who is not going to make excuses for a police department that has significant operation and management issues, a police department that has deep cultural and reform issues," said González.
"When you openly say your goal is to defund the police department by fifty percent, realizing that 90 percent of the costs in that department are personnel related there is going to be an aftershock of that. One of them will be small businesses that need protection and need help," said Harrell.
The candidates will meet for a second debate on October 28. Election Day is Nov. 2
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