We Believe Washingtonians Deserve Better

Why Form A Coalition?

The Challenge: Public Access to High Quality Political Debates

The bulk of information available to voters about candidates for our most important federal and state offices comes through highly partisan sources or advertising by the candidates and third parties. Public debate between candidates presents one of the few opportunities for the public to hear directly from candidates about why they should be elected as well as providing the opportunity for others to ask questions of the candidates and, even the opportunity for candidates to challenge each other.

Unfortunately, debates in Washington are often inconsistent in quality and infrequent, allowing for little or no direct interaction with voters.

Our Solution: A Coalition

Inspired by our history, our mission and the needs of Washington voters, Seattle CityClub formed a coalition of civic leaders, nonpartisan organizations, colleges and universities and media partners to enhance citizens’ access to high quality, nonpartisan and informative political debates.

It is our mission to inform, connect and engage the public to strengthen the civic health of our region. We are committed to providing a space to talk about the issues that impact our lives; dialogue that is passionately nonpartisan, connections to leaders and government, and the tools and inspiration to make a difference.

We know informed, engaged citizens build a stronger community and healthier democracy. Since our first program in 1981, we have sponsored thousands of dialogues, discussions and candidate forums featuring local, regional and national experts and leaders. We are recognized state-wide for our position as a trusted convener, programmer and collaborator.

The Washington State Debate Coalition was inspired by the work of the Indiana Debate Commission.

The Coalition strives to create a solution that is uniquely tailored to Washington State voters and in line with Washington State’s values.

What Does a High Quality Debate Look Like?

In order to challenge prevailing trends and power dynamics that reduce political transparency, candidate accountability and public participation, we have established the following criteria for high quality political debates:

  • Incumbents and challengers both participate
  • Short answer and in-depth discussions of our most challenging issues
  • Broad distribution through a variety of mediums
  • Varied formats with public engagement elements
  • Geographic diversity

Debate Coalition Endorsements

Increasing Access for All

A distinguished array of civic leaders, nonpartisan organizations, colleges and universities and media partners have joined the Coalition:

Civic Leaders

  • Norm Dicks
  • Slade Gorton
  • Christine Gregoire
  • Gary Locke
  • Ralph Munro
  • Sam Reed
  • Bill Ruckelshaus

Media Partners

  • Arlington Times/Marysville Globe
  • Auburn Reporter
  • Bainbridge Island Review
  • Bellevue Reporter
  • Bellingham Business Journal
  • Bothell/Kenmore Reporter
  • Bremerton Patriot/Central Kitsap Reporter
  • Covington/Maple Valley/Black Diamond
  • Reporter
  • Crosscut
  • Federal Way Mirror
  • Forks Forum
  • iFiberone
  • Inlander
  • Islands’ Sounder
  • Islands’ Weekly
  • Issaquah/ Sammamish Reporter
  • Journal of the San Juan Islands
  • KBTC Public Television
  • KCTS 9
  • Kent Reporter
  • KEPR TV
  • KHQ
  • KIMA TV
  • KING 5 News
  • Kingston Community News
  • Kirkland Reporter
  • KIRO 7
  • KIRO Radio
  • Kitsap Week
  • KNDO
  • KNDU
  • KOMO Radio
  • KOMO TV
  • KONA
  • KORX
  • KREM
  • KSPS-TV
  • KUNS

Nonpartisan Organizations

  • Bellingham City Club
  • City Club of Tacoma
  • Henry M. Jackson Foundation
  • Seattle CityClub
  • Seattle Rotary IV
  • Slade Gorton International Policy Center
  • YMCA Youth & Government

Media Partners (cont.)

  • KUNW
  • KUOW
  • KVI
  • KVVK
  • KXLY TV
  • La Raza
  • Mercer Island Reporter
  • NewsRadio 560 KPQ/Wenatchee
  • North Coast News
  • North Kitsap Herald
  • Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune
  • Peninsula Daily News
  • Port Orchard Independent
  • Q13 FOX News
  • Redmond Reporter
  • Renton Reporter
  • Scene Magazine
  • Seattle Weekly
  • Sequim Gazette
  • Snoqualmie Valley Record
  • South Beach Bulletin
  • South Whidbey Record
  • Tacoma Daily Index
  • The Courier-Herald
  • The Daily Herald
  • The Daily World
  • The Herald Business Journal
  • The News Tribune
  • The Olympian
  • The Spokesman-Review
  • The Vidette
  • The Wenatchee World
  • Tri-City Herald
  • Tukwila Reporter
  • TVW
  • Vashon-Maury Island
  • Beachcomber
  • Veterans Life
  • Whidbey Crosswind
  • Whidbey Examiner
  • Whidbey News-Times
  • Whidbey TM

College & Universities

  • Bellevue College
  • Big Bend Community College
  • Central Washington University
  • Columbia Basin College
  • Community Colleges of Spokane
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Olympic College
  • Pacific Lutheran University
  • Seattle University
  • South Puget Sound Community College
  • Spokane Falls Community College
  • The Evergreen State College
  • University of Washington
  • Washington State University
  • Western Washington University