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Phil Tyler steps down as Spokane NAACP president, sets eyes on politics

FILE - Phil Tyler, NAACP president, leads Peaceful Communities Roundtable, April 13, 2-17, in Cataldo Hall at Gonzaga University. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE - Phil Tyler, NAACP president, leads Peaceful Communities Roundtable, April 13, 2-17, in Cataldo Hall at Gonzaga University. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Phil Tyler, who’s led the Spokane NAACP chapter for nearly a year, announced this week he’d be stepping down ahead of a planned run for office.

“I think I’ve heard enough voices that said we need to have a change in leadership,” Tyler said. “We need to have a different candidate, people that are not career politicians.”

Tyler, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former Spokane County sheriff’s deputy, would not say Thursday what level of office he was considering, mentioning an open City Council seat, the City Council presidency, mayor and even Spokane County Sheriff, if incumbent Ozzie Knezovich seeks a different political office. Tyler said he would continue his work with the NAACP, Spokane Public Schools and other organizations, but the bylaws prevented him from continuing to serve as president of the chapter and pursue political office.

Tyler was a finalist to replace Jon Snyder representing south Spokane on the City Council in January 2016, a seat that ultimately went to Breean Beggs. Beggs is up for election this year after his appointment.

The post of NAACP president will go to either the first or second vice president of the organization, based on the will of the organization’s executive council, Tyler said. He praised the council for their work rebranding the organization in recent years after scrutiny about past president Rachel Dolezal and other issues.

“They’ve been the glue that’s held this organization together,” Tyler said.