September 15, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 37
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Monday, Jun 01, 2020



Candidates make final push at GSBA Candidate Forum
Candidates make final push at GSBA Candidate Forum
Sold-out event attracts 300 people

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

The Greater Seattle Business Association, a chamber of commerce for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and its allies, held a candidate forum at The Westin in downtown Seattle on Wednesday, September 13. The sold-out event attracted about 300 people, who heard from mostly legislative and judicial candidates about business concerns and issues of importance to the LGBT community.

KUOW Morning Edition host Deborah Brandt moderated the candidate forum. Brandt has been honored by numerous professional organizations for her on-air reporting work since she took the host position in 1998.

Unlike past forums, the audience was not allowed to ask questions of the candidates. Instead, Brandt read questions prepared by the GSBA. Each candidate received two minutes for opening remarks and another two minutes to make a closing statement.

State Rep. Rodney Tom (D), who is challenging State Sen. Luke Esser (R) in the 48th Legislative District spoke about his experience and support for issues of importance to the LGBT community. Tom is endorsed by the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee (SEAMEC), a non-partisan candidate rating organization that rates candidates based on their record and opinions on LGBT issues.

Political newcomer and former Microsoft engineer Eric Oemig (D) is seeking to defeat State Rep. Toby Nixon (R) in the 45th Legislative District's state Senate race. Former State Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, who was praised for his favorable vote on the Anderson Murray Civil Rights Bill last legislative session, did not seek another term. Nixon had voted against the bill in the House.

Former King County Councilmember Steve Hammond (pro) and John Rose of the Nature Conservatory of Washington (con) debated the positives and negatives of Initiative 933. The measure would require local governments to decide if they'll use tax dollars to compensate property owners for land use restrictions or whether to waive the restrictions.

All six of the candidates in the 43rd Legislative District Democratic Primary race were in attendance: Lynne Dodson, Dick Kelley, Jamie Pedersen, Stephanie Pure, Bill Sherman and Jim Street. Representing the Progressive Party, Linde Knighton was also in attendance.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and his opponent John Groen joined Justice Susan Owens and her opponent Michael Johnson to answer questions about their candidacies for the state's highest court.

The event was a component of the GSBA's September Business Luncheon, which featured an elegant entree of chicken breast and Asian vegetables with mango-chili sauce.

Pedersen, the only openly Gay candidate in the 43rd Legislative District Democratic Primary race, believes it is important for the LGBT community to hold candidate forums. "I think it is really important that our community be very active in this process; to make sure that candidates are required to come here and talk about our issues," he said. "If I can say one thing about what having me in the race did, it is that it did required people to talk about marriage equality, to make commitments about marriage and other civil rights issues and to make that a priority in the campaign.

"Obviously, Equal Rights Washington and the GSBA are helpful in that way too; in trying to force those commitments and the prioritization of our issues. However, I hope that my being part of the conversation helped that as well."

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