In this year’s upcoming municipal elections, one of the key races is for Seattle City Council Position 9. The three leading contenders for that at-large council seat are Nikkita Oliver, a community organizer and political activist, Brianna Thomas, chief of staff to the current council president, and Sara Nelson, co-owner of Fremont Brewing.

In ideological terms, the three contenders are, respectively, a democratic socialist, a progressive Democrat and a business-oriented liberal. In other words, the full political spectrum in Seattle.

The leftward tilt of our town’s politics is not unusual among American cities. From Los Angeles and San Francisco to Chicago and Houston to New York City and Boston, Democrats dominate and socialists are on the rise while Republicans are extinct and pragmatic moderates are often caricatured as shills for business interests or apologists for the status quo.

Our current city council is heavy with members who got into politics as activists or legislative aides. There is nothing wrong with either of those roles, but, with the council lacking much political diversity, there is also not a wide range of professional experience among the council members.

An echo chamber is fine if you want to hear your own voice, over and over again, but it might not be the best model for effective government.

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