Why form a coalition?

Washingtonians deserve better

WA State Debate Coalition

The Challenge: Public Access to Quality Political Debates

The bulk of information available to voters about candidates for our most important federal and state offices comes through highly partisan sources or advertising by the candidates and third parties. Public debate between candidates presents one of the few opportunities for the public to hear directly from candidates about why they should be elected as well as providing the opportunity for others to ask questions of the candidates and, even the opportunity for candidates to challenge each other.

Unfortunately, debates in Washington are often inconsistent in quality and infrequent, allowing for little or no direct interaction with voters.

We believe Washingtonians deserve better.

Our Solution: A coalition 

Inspired by our history, our mission and the needs of Washington voters, Seattle CityClub formed a coalition of civic leaders, nonpartisan organizations, colleges and universities and media partners to enhance citizens’ access to quality, nonpartisan and informative political debates.

It is our mission to inform, connect and engage the public to strengthen the civic health of our region. We are committed to providing a space to talk about the issues that impact our lives; dialogue that is passionately nonpartisan, connections to leaders and government, and the tools and inspiration to make a difference.

We know informed, engaged citizens build a stronger community and healthier democracy. Since our first program in 1981, we have sponsored thousands of dialogues, discussions and candidate forums featuring local, regional and national experts and leaders. We are recognized state-wide for our position as a trusted convener, programmer and collaborator.

The Washington State Debate Coalition was inspired by the work of the Indiana Debate Commission. Formed in 2007, the Commission is a nonpartisan group of media and citizen organizations dedicated to sponsoring and producing open, unbiased and transparent political debates in Indiana.

The Coalition strives to create a solution that is uniquely tailored to Washington State voters and in line with Washington State’s values.

“So much of our political and governing process occurs beyond the view of the average voter.  Debates are one of the few opportunities for voters to hear directly from candidates about their vision and why they should be elected. The Washington State Debate Coalition’s commitment to ensuring that quality public debates occur regularly is a noble cause that I’m proud to endorse.”
– Sam Reed, Former Washington Secretary of State