During his years on the Seattle City Council, Peter Steinbrueck developed a reputation for being, shall we say, a tad long-winded from time to time.
When he stepped down in 2007, a colleague expressed relief that Steinbrueck’s speechifying would be subject to the usual public-testimony time limits if he returned to City Hall. “We will finally have only two minutes of Peter Steinbrueck,” Councilmember Nick Licata joked at the time.
As a candidate for mayor this year, Steinbrueck has sought to hone his rhetoric — with a little professional help. According to a campaign-finance filing, he paid $1,700 in April to Lorraine Howell, a Seattle consultant who trains business executives and others on public speaking and media interviews.
Howell’s web site advertises her expertise in helping clients craft an “elevator speech.” That’s a useful skill for a mayoral candidate like Steinbrueck who frequently faces questions at candidate forums such as: “How would you solve homelessness in Seattle? You have 1 minute.”
When asked about his training last week, Steinbrueck was guarded. “I’m not going to answer the specifics of what kind of speech coaching I got,” he said.
But Steinbrueck said he generally received advice on how to be more “precise and succinct” in his public oratory.
“We can all benefit from that kind of practice,” he said.