Search form

Donate Today

Play Video

Vote 2016

7th Congressional District Primary Debate

After representing the 7th Congressional District for 28 years, Jim McDermott is retiring, opening the door for a new generation to represent one of the most liberal congressional districts in the nation. Who will it be?

KCTS 9 and Crosscut, in partnership with the University of Washington, present a one-hour debate with candidates vying to be among the two in the August 2nd primary election in order to advance to the November general election. KCTS 9’s Enrique Cerna and journalists Joni Balter and Drew Atkins questioned the candidates about how they will represent the interests of the 7th Congressional District amid the gridlock and the challenges facing its citizens.

Join the conversation on Twitter by tagging @KCTS9 or @Crosscut and/or using the hashtag #WAVote2016. Viewers were provided an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates via; through Facebook and Twitter; or live during the event as an audience member.


Pramila Jayapal is a member of the Washington State Senate representing the 37th District. She was elected to the post in 2014 and is the only woman of color in the state senate. Previously, she was the founder and director of OneAmerica, an immigration advocacy organization.

Arun Jhaveri is the former Mayor of Burien. He is a former regional manager for the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Energy. He received a doctorate in educational leadership and sustainability from Seattle University.

Joe McDermott is the current chair of the King County Council. He was elected to the county council in 2010 and represents District 8. Previously, he represented the 34th District in the Washington State House of Representatives for seven years and Washington State Senate for three years.

Courtesy of Leslie Regier

Leslie Regier is an independent running for 7th Congressional District seat.

Don Rivers is a longtime Seattle area resident. He has worked for King County Metro for 32 years. He is a community activist, environmental champion and transportation crusader.

Brady Piñero Walkinshaw represents the 43rd legislative district in the Washington State House of Representatives. He was appointed to the office in 2013 and then elected in 2014. He is a former Gates Foundation program officer and founded a non-profit in Honduras while there as a Fulbright scholar.


About the Moderators

Enrique Cerna

Enrique joined KCTS 9 in January, 1995. He has anchored current affairs programs, moderated statewide political debates, and produced and reported stories for national PBS programs as well as local documentaries on such topics as juvenile justice, salmon recovery, and civil rights.

Enrique has earned five Northwest region Emmy awards and numerous other honors. In June, he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter’s Silver Circle for his work as a television professional.

Joni Balter

Joni Balter is a multimedia journalist and lecturer. She serves as a scholar-in-residence at the Institute of Public Service at Seattle University and teaches at the University of Washington’s Evans Graduate School of Public Policy and Governance.

Balter is a political analyst and editorial advisor to KCTS9. She is a regular on the NPR affiliate, KUOW, and its popular Week in Review show. She worked for many years as a prize-winning editorial writer and columnist and assistant political editor at The Seattle Times.

Drew Atkins

Drew Atkins is the managing editor of Crosscut, a nonprofit news organization affiliated with KCTS 9, and is a longtime reporter and columnist in the Seattle region.


There are 1 comments

Read Comments Hide Comments

I am supporting Don Rivers because he has the ability and the voice of the People of the Pacific Northwest. We need someone who can listen and make the good decisions for all of the People...With a special listening and voice for the African American Male and the Violence with Police. Don Rivers is the Right