Anyone who has lived in the area for very long knows that everyone here seems to be connected. If you go to the airport, chances are good that you will run into someone you know. If you are out to dinner, your next door neighbor might be sitting three tables away.
But Spokane Valley Tom Towey and Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove share a connection that most mayors don’t.
They share grandchildren.
In 1991, Towey’s son, Bill, and Trulove’s daughter, Karlyn, married after meeting at Washington State University. Bill and Karlyn Towey have two daughters, Bailey, 15, and Avery, 11.
Trulove has been involved in Cheney politics for many years. When Karlyn was in junior high school in Cheney, her dad was mayor, so she knows what it’s like to have her father in public service.
“Everyone knows who you are,” Karlyn said.
Now, her daughters are experiencing what it’s like to be in the public eye, not just in Cheney but in Spokane Valley as well.
When the two mayors get together, they can’t help but talk shop. Towey, who has been the mayor of Spokane Valley since January, said he often asks Trulove for advice. Although Trulove has been the mayor of Cheney this term since January, he has been the mayor before and has served for many years on the City Council.
At a recent softball game to watch Bailey play, the two sat together and chatted about city business. “We tried to watch and talk at the same time,” Towey said. The two often joke about setting up municipal embassies in each other’s communities.
Karlyn said when the two get together with her husband Bill, a policy analyst for natural resources for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the talk always turns to issues in the area.
“A meal with all of them ends up as a talk of what is going on in the area,” said Karlyn, a teacher at Cheney’s Betz Elementary.
Bailey, a freshman at Cheney High School, said that listening to her grandpas has inspired her interest in municipal service. She has joined the Cheney Youth Commission, a group that holds events for teens in Cheney.
“It’s exciting,” she said. She said she also helped work on the campaigns. She passed out fliers and recruited her friends to help, too.
The two girls said that being the mayor’s granddaughter in either community means they get to meet people and go places they wouldn’t get to ordinarily.
“Everywhere we go we have to stop and talk,” Avery said about appearing in public with her grandpas.
“I get to do lots of parades,” Avery said. She helped Trulove pick the car they rode in during the Mayfest parade in Cheney.
Avery, a fifth-grader at Betz, also rode in the rumble seat of a classic car during the Lilac Parade in Spokane with Grandpa Towey and attended the coronation of the Lilac queen with Grandpa Trulove.
“The kids at school ask if he (Trulove) can change laws,” Avery said. She said that one of them asked her if Trulove could make a law that all kids can eat for free at restaurants in Cheney.
Karlyn said that some of the girls’ teachers live in Spokane Valley. Although familiar with the connection to Mayor Trulove, they noticed the name Towey during the last election season and wondered if there was any relation.
The two girls are proud of their grandpas, and appreciate their jobs, but they said they most enjoy spending time with them away from the public eye. They go to a cabin with Towey and boating with Trulove.
“They have the most fun doing the family thing,” Karlyn said.