Since May, Seattle Times editorial board members have been interviewing candidates in select races in our region ­– from Issaquah City Council to Seattle School Board to Snohomish County executive. Here are our recommendations for selected races in King and Snohomish counties.

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Editor’s note: While this off-year election season does not have the sizzle of a presidential election year, the results will arguably affect voters’ lives in more ways, whether it’s their quality of life or their tax bills.

School board, City Council, Port and fire commission races are on the ballot. And the election gives voters a chance to send a message about whether they want change or the status quo.

Since May, Seattle Times editorial board members have been interviewing candidates in select races in our region ­– from Issaquah City Council to Seattle School Board to Snohomish County executive. We’ve quizzed candidates, usually side by side, about their goals and intentions for serving their constituents.

Here are our recommendations for selected races in King and Snohomish counties.

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Seattle City Council

Phillip Tavel

Phillip Tavel for City Council District 1

Strengths: Refreshing, pragmatic sense of analytical thinking and intellectual curiosity

Constituents could count on Tavel to listen, engage and speak convincingly about creative solutions … his decade of work as a public defender in the courts and judge pro tem for King County demonstrates his ability to be fair and make tough choices for the people of Seattle City Council District No. 1. …”

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Bruce Harrell

Bruce Harrell for City Council District 2

Strengths: Strong voice on police reforms; understands social-justice issues

Harrell’s strength is his understanding of social-justice issues and how systemic racism often hinders progress and opportunities for many in a district with high concentrations of working-class, and often foreign-born, Asian, black and Latino residents. …”

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Pamela Banks

Pamela Banks for City Council District 3

Strengths: Management and leadership abilities; an advocate of the underserved

A longtime resident of the district, Banks made a career of advocating for underserved residents. … Banks’ impressive abilities to manage and lead were demonstrated at the Urban League, where she rebuilt the organization and restored its programs … .”

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Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson for City Council District 4

Strengths: Seasoned public-policy nerd; pragmatic and independent

He is a transit evangelist, but also has a pragmatic streak … Johnson shows a willingness to break from Seattle’s insular liberal orthodoxy and be an independent analyst. …”

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Debora Juarez

Debora Juarez for City Council District 5

Strengths: Intellectual rigor and ideological independence; diverse record of accomplishment

Juarez understands the pressures of gentrification, which pushes poorer residents north. She advocates for better transit service and more affordable housing in mixed-use developments. … Juarez offers the most complete package for a unique and underserved part of the city. …”

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No recommendation for City Council District 6

VOTERS in the new Seattle City Council District No. 6 — which includes the Fremont, Greenlake, Ballard and Crown Hill neighborhoods — have a difficult decision to make. Three sincere but flawed candidates are challenging incumbent Mike O’Brien, who has his own set of problems as a council member. None rise to the level of an endorsement from The Seattle Times editorial board. …”

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Sally Bagshaw

Sally Bagshaw for City Council District 7

Strengths: Steady and effective presence on the council; particularly strong on parks and urban-safety issues

Balance and neighborhood advocacy will be needed to mitigate the effects of downtown’s northward sprawl and traffic generated by Ballard’s density. … Bagshaw’s depth and experience make her the best candidate.”

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Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess for City Council Position 8

Strengths: Relatively moderate and pragmatic; has shown impressive leadership

The clear choice in this race is the incumbent, Burgess, a former police officer who later founded a communications consulting firm. Burgess stands out, especially for his ongoing work on police reform, and Seattle would benefit if he stays on the case. …”

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Lorena González

Lorena González for City Council Position 9

Strengths: Critical, independent thinking; history of overcoming challenges

As former legal counsel to Mayor Ed Murray, González’s job was to offer no-nonsense advice on policies, such as land use, affordability, police reform and implementation of labor standards. …”

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Seattle School District

Lauren McGuire

Lauren McGuire for Seattle School Board District 3

Strengths: Deep understanding of issues; analytical and organizational skills; existing relationships with board members

McGuire demonstrates a deep understanding of issues, such as rapidly growing enrollment, inequitable funding for schools, governance and board accountability. She possesses the leadership skills to advocate for change. …”

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Leslie Harris

Leslie Harris for Seattle School Board District 6

Strengths: Detail-oriented, analytical thinker; will demand better accountability and educational outcomes

Harris’ years of volunteering on Parent Teacher Student Association boards and a commitment to tracking school policies and budgets, as well as her conviction to take the school board in a new direction, puts her ahead of Marty McLaren and challenger Nick Esparza. …”

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Port of Seattle Commission

Courtney Gregoire

Courtney Gregoire for Commission Position 2

Strengths: Effective and pragmatic overseer

Gregoire is the daughter of a former governor, but she has built an impressive career of her own. Since joining the Port Commission in 2013, Gregoire has been an effective and pragmatic overseer. …”

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Herb Krohn

Herb Krohn for Port of Seattle Commission Position 5

Strengths: Strong record of public advocacy; concrete suggestions for improving Port’s accountability, transparency

Krohn stands out as the top candidate … [he has a] record of fighting for the public interest, adjusting the balance of power between the commission and Port staff and supports the Port’s industrial and job-creation activity. …”

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Bellevue City Council

Vandana Slatter

Vandana Slatter for Bellevue City Council Position 5

Strengths: Brings an outsider perspective along with organizational skills and regional vision

Slatter’s broad vision for Bellevue and distinct perspective make her the best candidate to challenge the status quo and take creative risks in governing Bellevue. …”

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Jennifer Robertson

Jennifer Robertson for Bellevue City Council Position 7

Strengths: With two terms under her belt, Robertson understands and embraces Bellevue’s challenges.

Robertson is the best choice for City Council Position No. 7 to help Bellevue manage growing pains. … Because of her experience and outlook for Bellevue, voters should re-elect Robertson. …”

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Kirkland City Council

Shelley Kloba

Shelley Kloba for Kirkland City Council Position 2

Strengths: Two years of experience working on important issues, can make unpopular decisions

Concerns about housing affordability in Kirkland will only intensify without a real commitment from city leaders. Kloba is aware of the problem and shows keen interest in developing effective solutions …”

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Bothell City Council

Andy Rheaume

Andy Rheaume for Bothell City Council Position 2

Strengths: Thoughtful leader; transparent and independent

Rheaume has been a thoughtful leader since joining the council in 2012. He’s provided valuable perspective on projects like the City Hall development, which he opposed as too costly. …”

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James McNeal

James McNeal for Bothell City Council Position 4

Strengths: Leadership; experience as a construction manager; advocacy for Bothell

McNeal is the best candidate in this race because of his leadership, experience as a construction manager and advocacy for Bothell locally and with other jurisdictions recruited to preserve the open space. …”

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Davina Duerr

Davina Duerr for Bothell City Council Position 6

Strengths: Experienced and has support from multiple jurisdictions

Duerr, an architect, has served as vice president of the Northshore Schools Foundation and chair of Bothell’s Landmark Preservation Board. That experience should make Duerr an asset as Bothell continues its downtown redevelopment and works to maintain its charm while accommodating growth. …”

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Renton City Council

Ryan McIrvin

Ryan McIrvin for Renton City Council Position 4

Strengths: Experience with public policy; demonstrates an earnest, thoughtful temperament

McIrvin would help strengthen Renton’s response to challenges, such as revitalizing its downtown core, improving transportation and transit service, and urban planning. He brings the ability to hit the ground running on everyday city matters. …”

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Issaquah City Council

Bill Ramos

Bill Ramos for Issaquah City Council Position 4

Strengths: Experience as a transportation consultant; lengthy list of public service

Ramos is the better candidate because of his experience as a transportation consultant. … The 15-year Issaquah resident also has a lengthy list of public service, including serving as chair of the city’s Human Services Commission and on the Economic Vitality and Planning Policy commissions. …”

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Paul Winterstein

Paul Winterstein for Issaquah City Council Position 6

Strengths: Leadership in mitigating the effects of growth

Winterstein, who lives in the Squak Mountain area, makes a persuasive case for his re-election. … Managing growth is not an easy task, but Winterstein has been part of meeting milestones to get a handle on it. …”

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King County Elections Director

Julie Wise

Julie Wise for King County Elections director

Strengths: 13 years’ experience at the elections department; a seasoned, nonpartisan technocrat

Wise lays out a solid agenda for the future, including processing ballots, smarter placement of ballot drop boxes countywide and translating ballots into more languages. Importantly, she is endorsed by the retiring elections chief, Sherril Huff, who has quietly restored the department’s reputation. …”

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Snohomish County Executive

Dave Somers

Dave Somers for Snohomish County executive

Strengths: Strong knowledge about Snohomish County government; long record of public service

Somers is a seasoned public official with an ability to both bridge ideological divides and to stand on principle when necessary. He would step quickly into the executive chair. …”

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