Elections

Podcast series takes on Olympia City Council candidates

How do candidates for Olympia City Council approach working as part of a group, how can they disagree and still get things done, and what would they say to people who don’t trust them?

This campaign season, The Olympian joined forces with The Olympia Standard podcast to interview candidates for three seats up for election on City Council, with questions that focused on process over policy. (We also got the candidates on the record on some non-political topics, such as walk-on songs and dogs versus cats.)

First up was Jessica Bateman, who talked about her time on the council and how she relates to voters who disagree with her. Her opponent, Phyllis Booth, did not respond to Olympia Standard’s invitation to participate.

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Next up: Matt Goldenberg and Dani Madrone, who are running for the only open seat on the council this year. They got into what inspired them to run, what perspectives they would bring to the council and ways to get more people involved in local government.

“Having people sit across the table from each other and (talk) about what our shared interests are, what our shared values are, and building those relationships in the community too,” Madrone said. “Because these divisive issues aren’t just city versus the people, it’s the people versus the people a lot of the time.”

This week’s episode features the two candidates for the mayor’s seat on the council, incumbent Cheryl Selby and challenger Nathaniel Jones. They talked about the role of the mayor, whether that should change and a recent vote to delay clearing a homeless camp they disagreed on.

“I feel like I do need to have a voice for a community that’s very, very unhappy with that decision, so that (vote) is going to be a real tough one for me to stand in support of,” Selby said.

Candidates were also asked to sum up the mood of voters they’ve talked to in one emoji.

“The emoji that I see are people pulling their hair out. They are really concerned,” Jones said.

Ballots for the Nov. 5 election will be mailed in mid October.

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Abby Spegman joined The Olympian in 2017. She covers the city of Olympia and a little bit of everything else. She previously worked at newspapers in Oregon, New Hampshire and Hawaii.
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