On Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, the Kent Chamber of Commerce held a Forum for candidates running in the 2023 Kent City Council election at the Green River College campus at Kent Station.
Ballots will be sent out on Oct. 18, and the deadline to vote is 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Moderated by Kent Chamber Board President John Scully, this forum was part of the chamber’s monthly membership luncheon, and lasted around 1-hour and 22-minutes.
City of Kent, Council Position No. 1:
City of Kent, Council Position No. 3:
City of Kent, Council Position No. 7:
[NOTE: Council Position No. 5 incumbent Bill Boyce is running unopposed in the election and was not present.]
Some highlights of the forum included:
- Jessie Ramsey was late to the event by about 30-minutes due to traffic.
- Position No. 3 candidate John Boyd introduced himself as “pro business and pro life.”
- Candidates shared their opinions on whether they should represent districts or the city as a whole.
- Discussions included the topic of affordable housing and work by the state legislature which was seen by some to limit the City of Kent’s options on housing. It was again noted that Kent is a locale where “naturally occurring” affordable housing exists, so any solutions to increase affordable housing should seek to preserve “naturally occurring” affordable housing stock. Some candidates seemed to confuse “affordable housing” with “low income housing.” NOTE: “Affordable housing” is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as housing that costs an owner or renter no more than 30 percent of their gross household income, including utilities; “low-income” as households earning at or below 80 percent of an area’s median income.
- Regarding the topic of public safety, most supported the idea of adding more officers; however they diverged in how to pay for them and whether volunteers could be utilized in any capacity to give officers more time to patrol or proactively police the city.
Below is an edited video of the forum, as shot/edited by Scott Schaefer (running time 1-hour, 22-minutes):