LaVerne Biel announced today that she would run for the Spokane City Council seat representing the South Hill that's currently held by Mike Allen.
Allen announced on Wednesday that he would not run for re-election.
Biel ran against Councilman Jon Snyder in 2013, but came in last in the primary with 20 percent of the vote, behind Snyder and John Ahern, a former legislator.
In that race, Biel was endorsed by city council members Mike Allen, Steve Salvatori and Nancy McLaughlin. At the time, she said her primary goal at the city was to create an environment where "business owners want to work with the city, and the city wants to work with them."
She also took aim at salary’s at the city, noting that she'd like to consider cutting the compensation and benefits of all city workers, including the mayor and city administrators.
Biel moved to Spokane in 1972, with her husband, Kent, and their family. They've lived in the Perry District since 1983.
The Biels own and operate Access Unified Networks, a provider of voice and data services to other small businesses. She has no experience in government, elected or otherwise.
She earned a master's degree in business at age 57. As the former chairman of the East Spokane Business Association and Associated Builders and Contractors, she said she understands the needs and difficulties of business owners, something she’d bring to City Hall.
In 2013, she supported a proposed bridge connecting Sprague Avenue to the University District for economic development purposes, but was less pleased with the $16 million price tag.
In 2013, her opponents were both men with the same name. During that race, she claimed not to have a "political side." Still, she poked her opponents by telling potential voters: "Anybody but the Jons."
Read her full statement below:
Spokane --- LaVerne Biel (non-partisan), small business owner of Access Unified Networks, announces that she is running for Spokane City Council, District 2. Mike Allen currently holds the position and has decided not to seek reelection.
LaVerne Biel, and her husband Kent, started Access Unified Networks (formerly Access Telcom) 21 years ago. Access Unified Networks is a technology service provider with 10 employees. In the past she has also worked as a Personnel/Compliance/Safety officer for Kato Corporation (a construction company), and an accounting firm administrator for Heiskell, MacGillrary & Associates both in Spokane.
LaVerne served as Associated Builders and Contractors President and currently on their Training Trust Board, East Spokane Business Association President, and is currently a Board Member of Friendsview Retirement Facility (in Newberg, OR), and East Central Community Organization who works developing housing and social opportunities in East Spokane neighborhood.
LaVerne is proud of her collaboration with East Spokane businesses in addressing the loss of the Altamont street exits and onramps on the I-90 freeway. The Altamont exits and onramps will become a vital connection for South Hill residents when the North Spokane Corridor Project is completed. “I believe that lasting change requires focused collective opinions. I want to ensure that South residents are heard and their opinions are integrated into any solution that is presented,” LaVerne stated.
“I’m looking forward to serving residents of Spokane’s second district”, she stated. “Community involvement and commitment is something that has always come naturally to me. I feel it’s important to build strong relationships and trust within the community. A strategic focus will move our city forward to improve our quality of life to build a stronger economy.”
LaVerne plans on limiting her time at Access Unified Networks. “I believe that it’s important to be an active part of neighborhood and the business community to understand how changes affect everyone in Spokane. I’ll do a good job for the second district to focus on people and issues that need our attention – that’s exciting to me,” said Biel.