Today, the Washington Technology Industry Association unveiled a voter guide to help members of the Seattle tech community decide who to vote for in the upcoming mayoral and City Council races.
The WTIA asked candidates to fill out a questionnaire “focused on policy issues that directly impact those of us who live and work in our city.”
Some of the candidates also participated in in-person interviews and were given the opportunity to refine their answers and discuss their stance on tech-related policies.
“We wanted to give each candidate a wide range in which to express their point of view,” said Michael Schutzler, CEO of the WTIA. “And we wanted to assess how well the candidate understood the tech industry as an asset, as a partner, and as a resource in creating a better city for all who work and live here.”
WTIA narrowed the candidates down to Jenny Durkan, Jessyn Farrell, Mike McGinn, and Cary Moon for the mayoral race. For City Council Seat 8, the guide includes Sara Nelson, Teresa Mosqueda, and Jon Grant.
The voting guide includes criteria like “chief executive experience,” “able and willing to engage tech industry,” and “deep familiarity with tech issues.” The WTIA also published the candidates’ questionnaires, along with the guide.
Among the mayoral candidates, former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan checked off the most boxes in the WTIA’s list of criteria. Sara Nelson is the top City Council candidate, according to the WTIA guide.
We asked Schutzler if the voter guide was an attempt to get the tech community more civically engaged. Here’s how he characterized the industry’s role in Seattle politics:
The tech community is not a monolith. We are men and women, many different ethnic groups, religions, languages, races, and educational backgrounds … If we have something in common on civic engagement, we are typically more obsessed with shipping the next version or serving a customer than worrying about local election politics. WTIA wants to activate the dormant segment of our tech employees in this and all future city elections. We get the government we elect, so if we don’t vote then we let others set the agenda.