The race for Bellevue City Council Position 3 has attracted two strong candidates from the city’s Planning Commission. Although Stephanie Walter is deeply versed in land-use policy and has well-earned endorsements from affordable-housing supporters, her opponent, Jeremy Barksdale, has an edge because he presents a more compelling vision for Bellevue’s future.

The only open seat on Bellevue’s at-large council has drawn the most spending of any in the city’s 2019 elections. The combined total fundraising of nearly $91,000 is $15,000 more than the next-highest council race has drawn.

Barksdale, a user-experience researcher for the game developer Unity, is also on the board of the liberal activist group Fuse Washington. This warrants some concern about the role special interests will play in his governmental decisions.

However, he has presented a clear goal of engaging Bellevue neighborhoods to build a more inclusive city, emphasizing affordable housing supply and transportation equity. He also speaks promisingly of how his extensive experience in the technological world can be used to improve city services and opportunities for residents.

Barksdale has been occasionally reticent to delve into specifics of his agenda before constituent groups, but his stated willingness to work on outreach to all sectors of Bellevue suggests a desire to improve his retail politics and his city. There is no doubt of his technical know-how or his ability to engage diverse audiences, and he has the potential to develop as a strong public  official and consensus builder.