The two women vying to be the next mayor of Seattle offered their reactions to today's news that Amazon plans to open a second headquarters in another North American city.
Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said the city should double down on training Seattleites for the skills Amazon needs. Engineer Cary Moon said she will be "happy to work with Amazon," but warned against a bidding war over tax breaks.
Durkan has been endorsed by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Amazon has donated $250,000 this year to the Chamber's political action committee, which has in turn run ads supporting Durkan.
Here are the candidates' responses to the news:
Today more than ever it's clear that Seattle’s next mayor has a deep responsibility to tackle the affordability crisis from every angle, which includes building more opportunities for our residents as well as addressing rising costs and housing. With one of our leading technology companies announcing their plans to expand – potentially to another city – because of challenges recruiting talent, we should find ways to expanding educational opportunities so Seattle residents can fill our high-skilled jobs. Apprenticeships train our workers, create a pathway to family wage jobs, and provide employers with a significant return on investment. By expanding access and strengthening apprenticeship programs, students and local workers will have access to good-paying careers in new and innovative sectors as well as high-demand jobs. Together, we can create pathways for Seattle’s young people, women, people of color, veterans, and disadvantaged workers while diversifying our skilled workforce.
Durkan also released this plan for expanding apprenticeship programs. In it, Durkan promises to expand apprenticeship programs in public schools, partner with companies like Amazon "to help meet their capacity needs," "promote apprenticeship utilization," host an "apprenticeship summit," and expand priority hire, which gives preference for certain public construction jobs to people from low-income neighborhoods.
Amazon is here because Seattle's quality of life, gorgeous views, smart people and creative culture are key parts of their employee benefits package. Our city will continue to be a key leader in the tech sector because Seattle residents offer so much talent and innovation to the many tech employers. As mayor I'd be happy to work with Amazon to make Seattle more affordable, improve our transit, and invest in quality public education for everyone, including their employees and their families.
However, we've seen with Boeing how a bidding war over billions in tax breaks for corporations only helped the wealthy few while doing nothing to keep good paying jobs here. I'm not interested in playing that game if Amazon isn't serious about helping to pay for the impacts of their rapid growth on our city.