In case you somehow managed not to hear about today's "Rally to Bring Back Our Sonics," it's at 4 p.m. at Occidental Park—and Andrew Hughes, whippersnapper and candidate to be Seattle's next Congressman, would like to remind you that he's going to be there.
"This issue impacts the people I intend to represent," Hughes said in a statement to The Stranger. "This is about bringing our team home. It’s about our local economy and it’s about the fans. Right now the discussion of building a new stadium is centered around the SODO District. Regardless of where an arena is located it must have a positive economic impact and not harm local industries, such as the maritime industry."
Hughes continued, attempting to pivot to a shot over the head of Jim McDermott, the 23-year Seattle Congressman he wants to unseat:
It is incumbent upon our leaders at ALL levels to lend their voice and advocate for those in their communities. Congressman McDermott has chosen not to engage on this issue, just as he has chosen not to engage on other local issues in the past. By engage, I mean letting his District know where he stands. You don’t have to legislate to lend your voice on behalf of those you represent.
A quick call to McDermott's office in D.C. produced his stance on the issue.
"Everybody would like to have the Sonics come back," McDermott told me yesterday. "But the Port of Seattle is the economic driver in this city, and before anybody makes any snap decisions I think we need to have a process of the City Council, and the County Council, and the port all looking at it."
So is the SoDo arena a good idea or not?
"I don't think anybody knows all the answers at this point," McDermott said. "I learned a long time ago that it's good to be careful in things like this. You shouldn't just jump."
Hughes campaign manager Jeff Upthegrove had told me yesterday that "McDermott has said nothing that we know of on this issue." So I asked McDermott why he wasn't weighing in on the Sonics, and all the arena talk, until Hughes's attempt to use it against him prompted me to call.
"There's no federal issue here," McDermott said. "If there was a federal issue, I might be. But this is an issue where—I mean, I know about the Sonics, and I know about the funder, and all this stuff... But I don't want to make any decisions that are going to in some way put our city in any more trouble than it's already in... I want to hear more, and I want more than one study done. I want to have a thorough process. You know, the Seattle process is not one of jumping quickly. Everybody wants a basketball team and a hockey team and all this—but I don't think it makes sense to do it in two months."