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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

June 12, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Peter Steinbrueck pays for speech coaching

Peter Steinbrueck (Photo: Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Peter Steinbrueck (Photo: Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

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.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: 2013 Seattle mayor's race, Peter Steinbrueck, speech coaching

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