Shelly O’Quinn was sworn in Thursday as Spokane’s newest county commissioner.
She replaces outgoing Commissioner Mark Richard, who did not seek a third term. Superior Court Judge Harold Clarke delivered the oath, but before he did, he told O’Quinn that the job will be challenging and rewarding.
“Everyone will want your attention,” Clarke told her.
O’Quinn stood before a packed courtroom of family, friends, elected officials and county employees.
She swore the oath on an 1869 Bible handed down through her great-great-great uncle. The ceremony was streamed live over the Web to relatives in Florida.
After finishing, O’Quinn looked out over the crowd and said she was honored to be there.
“This has been a long year,” she said referring to the hard work of the campaign and the help that she received. “I wouldn’t be here without you.”
O’Quinn, 37, is a Republican and won the District 2 seat with 54 percent of the vote against Daryl Romeyn, a Democrat and former television news broadcaster.
She joins two other Republicans – Todd Mielke, who won election to a third term last month in District 1, and Al French. French is up for re-election in 2014 in District 3.
O’Quinn campaigned on economic development and said that her experience in work force development will be an asset to the commission, which oversees county government but also works on communitywide growth.
On Thursday, she said she has developed a list of issues and proposals, but wants to discuss them with county officials and employees before making them public.
She is from Spokane Valley and a graduate of Central Valley High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University in business and accounting, and a master’s in business administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
O’Quinn spent two years with World Vision working on micro-enterprise development. She was director of missions for the First United Methodist Church in Florida for two years.
She returned to Spokane and worked for nonprofits, including Habitat for Humanity from 2004 to 2007. O’Quinn became the first executive director of the George Nethercutt Foundation for civic engagement among young people in 2008 and 2009 before Greater Spokane Incorporated recruited her to work on economic development.
Her election last fall came after an unsuccessful run for state Legislature in Spokane’s 6th District in 2010.
She and her husband, attorney Sean O’Quinn, have two boys.