Five Democratic candidates for Congress gathered at the on Wednesday evening to debate health care, military spending, immigration, and other national issues.
The five candidates—, , Steve Hobbs, and —along with Republican John Koster and Independent Larry Ishmael, 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 on Nov. 6.
The mood was cordial and upbeat at the event. Most of those in attendance were there to support a particular candidate.
Former Redmond Mayor Rosemarie Ives was one of few attendees who said she had not yet decided whom to support in the upcoming election. After the debate, Ives said she thought all the candidates made good points but that most of the discussion only touched the surface of the given topic.
"I would have preferred to have some questions that dug deeper into the issues," she said.
One of the most contentious questions was about a proposed deep-water port north of Bellingham that would be used to export coal and other bulk commodities. The project is currently under environmental review.
Steve Hobbs, a self-described moderate state senator from Lake Stevens, was the only candidate to pledge full support of the proposal.
"We need this port. There are so many people out of work," he said. "I strongly support this, so I guess that makes me different from everyone else."
The candidates also were asked how they would handle representing a large, diverse district that stretches from Redmond to the Canadian border.
Burner told audience members that the combination of her background in the high tech industry and current residence in rural, unincorporated Redmond helps her relate to a wide variety of 1st District residents.
"I think that the key really is listening to people and giving them an opportunity to meet you face to face," she said.
For a recap of the debate, to view a stream of candidate responses that was posted live from the event. The attached video also shows the candidates' making their opening statements.