Spokane City Councilman Mike Allen, who was first appointed to the City Council in 2007 to fill the seat left vacant when Mary Verner became mayor, announced today he would not seek re-election this year.
Rumors of Allen's desire not to run have been talked about for months, but Allen would not confirm them, saying the decision was not easy to make. Recently, he has expressed frustration at the heated state of discussion happening at City Hall, notably when the council discussed removing Councilman Mike Fagan from the health board two weeks ago. At that meeting, Fagan led members of the crowd in calling Council President Ben Stuckart a "coward."
Allen said that he'll endorse someone who will announce their candidacy for his vacated seat tomorrow, though he wouldn't name them.
Two liberal candidates, John Waite and Lori Kinnear, have already said they would run for Allen's seat in District 2. John Ahern, a former Republican legislator who failed to unseat Councilman Jon Snyder two years ago, is rumored to be considering another run, though there is an organized effort to encourage him to run for the school board instead. He would face former city attorney Rocky Treppiedi in that race.
After being appointed to Verner's seat, Allen faced Snyder in the 2009 election and lost. In 2011, Allen challenged Richard Rush and won. In all, Allen will have served about six years on the council.
Allen has always described himself as a political moderate, but in the last year, the council member who he voted with the most (in votes that weren't unanimous) was Fagan, who is far more conservative. Allen, who was endorsed by the Republican Party in 2011, leans right on fiscal issues, but is less outspoken on other issues.
Allen's full statement is below:
I would like to thank the Citizens of Spokane and in particular the citizens of District 2 for the opportunity to serve you for six great years. It has been an honor. At this time I will not be seeking another term on the Spokane City Council.
I’m proud of the work I’ve done in helping create an independent Office of the Police Ombudsman, finding a long-term street funding solution, championing a comprehensive capital plan for the City, more police on the streets and a hire-ahead program to keep them on the streets, ordinances that support a Downtown for everyone, moving the Peaceful Valley Youth Center to Browne’s Addition to serve up to three times the amount of youth, consolidation of Animal Control with the County and many other opportunities to serve the citizens and Neighborhood Councils.
Thank you to current and former council members in particular Nancy McLaughlin, Steve Salvatori and Ben Stuckart.
I’d like to recognize the work Mayor Condon, his senior staff and all the folks at the City have done to move our City forward. Great Job.
Thank you to my legislative assistant Rae Lynn Barden. You served the City, community and myself with kindness and grace and kept me on schedule.
Thank you to the members of the STA and Park Boards. Great work and results from dedicated people.
Thank you to my wife Dena and daughters Madison and Kait. Thanks for putting up with me in politics!
For the balance of the year I will work to continue to find solutions to the Fire/Medical Response needs for Eagle Ridge and the 195 Corridor, short-term rentals, cell tower solutions for residential neighborhoods, Street levy and Park Bond implementation and promote economic development for our community in any way I can.
Going forward I plan to focus more on my teaching at North Idaho College, my marketing clients and developing more wine tourism in Spokane via The Cork District.