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So, you've decided to run for city council

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Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/

So far, 34 candidates are running for seven spots on the Seattle City Council openings, and the list gets longer every week. So how can candidates stand out in a crowded field?

Seven of Seattle’s city council positions are up for election this year. Four of them are open seats, because Kshama Sawant, Lisa Herbold, Alex Pederson, and Deborah Juarez have announced they are not running for reelection.

That’s a lot of seats, and it’s bringing out the hopefuls. Thirty-four candidates are officially in the running and more are likely to declare in the coming months.

"It's March. Filing week is still a couple months away," said Seferiana Day, a political consultant and a founder-partner of Upper Left Strategies, a Seattle-based firm that assists candidates across Washington state.

"We're just seeing more and more candidates really feel like they can do it," Day said. "It's accessible, which I think is great."

A constant stream of announcements have appeared in news outlets and on social media from community leaders, business owners, and some people you may not have heard of before announcing their intention to run.

Perhaps, you're reading this thinking, "Maybe I’ll give politics a shot, everyone else is."

Well, how do you get started? What are the things you need to think about early on?

For one thing, candidates need to figure out what their story is.

"Figuring out, as a candidate, what are your values? What are the things that you truly value? And then what are your lived experiences? And what have you done?" explained Raven Tyler, a political consultant at Northwest Passages Consulting. "Then comparing it to who else is in a race? And what do they have going on? And how can I elevate and highlight my values and my lived experience, and my actual results and put that kind of in the forefront?"

Tyler and Day spoke with Soundside about their thoughts on the upcoming city council race and how candidates can stand out in a crowded field.

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