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Mayoral race: Seattle voters tired of 'empty promises,' feeling 'stuck'

Some Seattle voters say they want to hear real solutions from mayoral candidates Lorena Gonzalez and Bruce Harrell on the issue of homelessness in the city.

SEATTLE, Wash. — Seattle voters will be tasked with choosing a new mayor in three weeks as current Mayor Jenny Durkan decided not to seek re-election.

Rising through primaries, the two candidates on the ballot are Lorena González, current Seattle City Council president, and Bruce Harrell, a former council president.

The Seattle City Club is hosting two mayoral debates at 7 p.m. on Oct. 14 and Oct. 28. Both debates will air on KONG and livestreamed on KING5.com.

Several questions were submitted ahead of the debates, but KING 5 asked some voters on the streets of Beacon Hill to share their questions for González and Harrell.

Leticia Espinosa, who works in downtown Seattle, said her biggest concerns include public safety and homelessness.

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"The tents that are all over the city, the garbage, it’s really embarrassing if we have guests coming from out of state," said Espinosa. "That's the first thing they see when we are driving on I-5. How are they going to address that?"

Espinosa said these issues are not only a concern when it comes to tourism, but it is causing some Seattleites to move away.

"We really need change in Seattle. It's scary," said Espinosa. "Candidates always promise, 'Oh we’re going to do this,' but once they’re in the position, they have forgotten what they had promised, and we’re stuck."

Angela Castañeda, of Beacon Business Alliance, said she hopes the local economy and affordable housing are priorities for the next mayor of Seattle. 

In addition to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, Castañeda said Seattle is struggling for affordable commercial and living space.

Castañeda said while some artists, entrepreneurs and gig workers thrive in temporary spaces or coffee shop settings, they're also looking to put down roots.

"They’re also looking for potential brick and mortar. They are looking for affordable commercial space," said Castañeda. "Families need places to live. What are you gonna do about that?"

The Equity in Education Coalition is hosting a virtual “Partners in Change Candidate Forum” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on October 20. The forum features candidates running for positions including King County Executive, King County District 5, and Seattle mayor. Click here to join and watch the forum.

Click here to find a ballot drop box location near you.

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