Returning government to the people, standing up for the middle class and dumping politics as usual were the main messages Wednesday afternoon, as a crowded field of six candidates debated ahead of next month’s primary for the newly drawn .
Burner, who had a slight edge among her Democratic rivals in a recent poll, emphasized the importance of returning government to the people.
"We need to restore government of the people, by the people and for the people," Burner said.
DelBene said that she plans to stand up for the middle class and that she wants to strengthen education through support for student loans and financial aid, programs that she said helped get her to where she is today.
"That great education helped me to have a great career," DelBene said.
Hobbs spoke of bringing people together and fixing the problems in Washington.
"Our country is broke; Congress is broke," Hobbs said.
Koster, the lone Republican taking part in the debate, said that the solutions to the country's problems can be found in the American people, not big government.
Koster believes that faith in one side or the other is the big issue.
"I think that's the crux of the debate in this election cycle," Koster said.
Rauniyar played up his outsider status, saying that voting into office the same people election after election, adopting the same policies year after year, is simply not working anymore.
"We as citizens need to stand up and say enough is enough," Rauniyar said.
Ruderman said that her main concern is rebuilding the economy. She is also deeply concerned with health care issues and wants to see the country build on the Affordable Care Act.
"The affordable care act was a great start but we need to continue," Ruderman said.
The debate, held at one of Microsoft’s large conference centers in Redmond, was sponsored by CityClub and is part of its 2012 Community Matters Campaign.
Candidates also were asked how they fit into the new district, which stretches from the Canadian border to Redmond, and how they envisioned representing it.
Ruderman said that she has a proven ability to win and has always connected with voters.
"My constituents knew that I was always going to listen to them and be thoughtful," Ruderman said.
She also said that many of her beliefs line up with the diverse beliefs of the district: support for abortion rights, marriage equality and business.
Koster believes that his politics also mesh well with the district, saying that people care about education, good jobs, and business.
"That is from one end of the district to the other," Koster said.
DelBene, a former Microsoft vice president, said that she felt she could build a strong campaign in the district through her support for both small and big business.
"The No. 1 thing on everyone's mind is the economy and jobs," DelBene said.
Another major topic was bipartisanship and breaking the gridlock in Washington.
DelBene spoke of the importance of both parties talking to each other.
Hobbs said that he has a great deal of experience crossing the aisle. "I've done it all the time," he said.
Hobbs described himself as a radical moderate and an extreme centrist, saying that he's not afraid to take positions on different sides and challenge the status quo.
"We have to talk about reforming government," Hobbs said.
Rauniyar again played up his outsider status, saying that he doesn't want to represent a party but instead seeks to represent people.
"The things that we have been doing haven't been working," Rauniyar said. He added that he wants to form a new caucus, engage new people, and fundamentally change the way the business of government is done.
In closing, Ruderman emphasized her belief that a job should pay a living wage. Rauniyar again spoke of creating a paradigm shift in government.
"We need to send somebody like us," Rauniyar said.
Koster spoke of finding solutions in people, not government. Hobbs reiterated that Congress is dysfunctional and that he intends to change that. "Right now it's about country first, party second," he said.
DelBene finished by saying that she has always stood up for working families and has the experience to represent the district.
Burner concluded by saying that the 1 percent have a chokehold on the future of the country and that she wants to fight to create a level playing field.
The six candidates who took part in Wednesday’s debate will appear on the ballot for the Aug. 7 primary election. The top two candidates with the most primary votes--regardless of party affiliation--will advance to the general election Nov. 6.