Spokane Valley City Councilman Arne Woodard has added his name to the list of people who want to replace Shelly O’Quinn on the Spokane County Commission.
O’Quinn announced last month that she will resign in June to serve as chief executive of the Inland Northwest Community Foundation. She represents District 2, which encompasses the southeastern third of the county including Spokane Valley.
Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase, Spokane County Deputy Auditor Mary Kuney and John Guarisco, an account manager at a Spokane Valley marketing firm, previously announced they will apply for the seat.
Woodard, 63, was appointed to his seat on the Spokane Valley Council in 2011. He successfully retained his seat in an election in 2011 and won re-election in 2015. He has served as deputy mayor for three years.
Once O’Quinn departs, Republican Party precinct committee officers will vote to pick their top three candidates for the seat. The two remaining county commissioners, Al French and Josh Kerns, will select a replacement from those choices.
The person selected will have to run for the seat in 2018 if he or she wants to fill out the remainder of O’Quinn’s term. Woodard said he will run in that election regardless of whether he is appointed to the seat.
Woodard describes himself as a “traditional Republican,” one that’s “very pro-business” and supportive of low taxes. He owns Woodard Properties and Investment, a residential real estate company.
“I’m really an independent, conservative, constitutional Republican,” he said.
Politics on the Spokane Valley Council last year were particularly contentious, following the termination of the Spokane Valley City Manager Mike Jackson. Following that decision, two council members resigned in protest.
Woodard, who supported Jackson’s termination, said he has worked to act responsibly and follow the law at all times even with difficult personnel decisions.
“I have been able to bridge various factions,” he said.
Chase, 63, was elected in 2010, narrowly defeating incumbent Democrat Skip Chilberg for the post after running as a write-in candidate. He won re-election in 2014. Prior to his election as treasurer, he held a variety of jobs in business, including a stint at Hewlett-Packard.
Chase welcomed Woodard’s entry into the contest: “I say the more the merrier, and that gives the PCOs more choices.”
Kuney, a certified public accountant, worked for the state auditor’s office from 1993 to 2004. She has since worked for Contineo Consulting, a major accounting firm, and co-founded Summit Tea Co. She lost a bid to unseat Chase as county treasurer in 2014 and was hired for her current job the following year.
Guarisco sits on the board of directors of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. A newcomer to politics, he co-owned Luigi’s Italian Restaurant throughout the 1990s and later founded his own marketing firm before merging with MDI Marketing, where he currently works.
Reporters Chad Sokol and Kip Hill contributed to this report.