Candidate Cindi Bright answers a questions regarding homelessness and mental health. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Candidate Cindi Bright answers a questions regarding homelessness and mental health. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

48th District candidates discuss homelessness, quality of life at Redmond forum

Candidates for Washington State Legislative District 48 Position 2, were invited to the First Baptist Church of Redmond for the first in a series of candidate forums held by the Education Hill Neighborhood Association on June 7.

Amy Walen, mayor of Kirkland and president of the Sound Cities Association, and Cindi Bright, owner of the management consulting firm The Bright Group and board member of the Seattle Urban League, discussed several topics regarding the Legislature and statewide issues and answered a variety of questions submitted by the audience.

Some of the big topics of the night were about homelessness, mental health and other social services. Walen said that mental and physical health, along with addiction are illnesses that need more social services to help address. In her work with the King County “One Table” task force, Walen said working with the juvenile justice and foster care programs are important to prevent those minors from ending up homeless as well.

“Breaking the cycle from the criminal justice system to homelessness to hospitals, this is very expensive for society, it’s not the best service we can do,” Walen said.

“Having our people sleeping on the street and being so ill should be unacceptable to all of us… it is going to take philanthropy, business and government working together and we are on the way to that cooperation I think.”

Bright also said that the areas of homelessness and mental health in regards to race and gender are a primary concern for her. The demographic hit hardest by these issues, she said, are people of color and Bright wants to address the systematic issues that put people into homelessness. Through public and private partnerships she hopes to lead change in this area.

“I’m a business owner, we have businesses here that have profits in the trillions while people are sleeping under bridges,” Bright said. “There is a problem. We have a social responsibility to do something as a community. I want to lead that effort because it is effecting people that look like me, it is effecting people who look like my family.”

Responding to an audience question regarding changes the candidates would make to the quality of life of their constituents, Walen said she wants to focus on affordable housing, making transit accessible and firearm safety.

“I would work with other people, I would build coalitions, I would solve problems, I would learn and take action, advocate,” Walen said. “…You move forward by working hard, finding common ground and then advocating for change.”

Bright said her goal would be to address inequality in employment opportunities. Her aim is to improve access to job opportunities for all people.

“We have Chinese, Asian, brown, black people in our constituency who are being considered not qualified for work and who are not being given opportunities in these corporations that are here in our backyard,” Bright said. “To improve the quality of life, my issue is to address the ecosystem that gives all people the same access, so that they have the same opportunity for a quality of life here that they are not being given.”

One audience member asked if there was a was a bill on any issue they would like to see passed. Both candidates didn’t have a specific bill in mind, but did speak to issues they felt were important to work toward. Bright spoke about improving the diversity seen in the businesses of the state.

“I do believe that there is something that’s going to have to be introduced to legislation that is going to hold companies accountable to progress this. They’re not doing it on their own,” Bright said.

Walen said she would like to see work done around firearm violence, stating that she hopes that running for this position will allow her to make a change to the state of regulation around guns.

“We should require safe storage, we should require insurance. If you drive a car it’s a dangerous object, you can do damage with your vehicle, you should have insurance of how you conduct yourself with your car,” Walen said. “We should require that for firearms.”

In their closing statement both candidates expressed their desire to represent the district in order to make positive changes to the lives of the constituents.

For the full video of the candidate forum, visit the Education Hill Neighborhood Association’s Facebook page. Their next candidate forum will be held on Thursday, Aug. 6, and will feature the candidates for the Legislative Districts 45 and 48 state Senator positions.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Candidate Amy Walen discusses the importance of legislative transparency. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Candidate Amy Walen discusses the importance of legislative transparency. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

More in News

Bellevue Police car
Bellevue police officer placed on administrative leave for social media posts

Department is investigating the posts, which included conspiracy theory about George Floyd’s death.

King County assessor wants Legislature to fix laws to help small businesses

Changes needed because of COVID-19 impact on commercial properties

File photo.
Bellevue police investigating fatal stabbings

The city announced in a news release an ongoing investigation of a June 1 domestic disturbance.

King County could be in Phase 2 in two weeks

The county is also hoping the state lets them reopen several businesses by Friday.

Bellevue lifts curfew scheduled through Saturday

The city no longer has a curfew in the downtown area, as of June 4

Bellevue Chamber CEO: Volunteers help with downtown cleanup

Update: They are not seeking additional volunteers at this time. Cleanup comes after a few stores in Bellevue faced property damage from looters.

Bellevue City Hall. Photo courtesy city of Bellevue
How is COVID-19 impacting Bellevue?

New King County data dashboard breaks down case rates, number of unemployment filings and more.

Kabal Gill, owner of East India Grill in Federal Way, wears gloves to hand over take-out orders at his restaurant on March 23. File photo
New guidelines for Phase 2 reopenings in King County

All workers will need to wear masks as restaurants, retail shops and other businesses reopen.

Most Read