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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Spokane candidates on their political heroes

This year, we asked each of the candidates running for office in Spokane to name their political heroes. Their answers are below.

David Condon, incumbent candidate for Spokane mayor: "There’s two. When I was raised, just to go back to your formative years, the mayor I always remember is Mayor Chase. That was the mayor in my head as a young person. I was in fifth to eighth grade. I saw him bring this community together, reach out to young people. His initiatives still live on today in a real way.

"During those years on the national stage, you have Ronald Reagan and what he did for this country. I believe he was pragmatic in his approach in a time that was difficult for our country and our world. But he gave that guidance."

Shar Lichty, candidate for Spokane mayor: "I have three political heroes: Shirley Chisholm, Harvey Milk, Bernie Sanders. Well, Bernie Sanders may not be a hero but he certainly influenced my decision to run. He’s been in politics for 40 and has never wavered on his values, which shows me that it’s possible to do.

"The others were revolutionary. Shirley Chisholm, a strong African-American woman who threw her hat in the presidential race. She had courage and stood by her convictions.

"Harvey Milk. I just watched Milk again a few weeks ago to get re-inspired. He’s out there with a bullhorn. I don’t know if folks would get it if I went out with a bullhorn and said, “I’m Shar Lichty and I’m here to recruit you.” But yes. He’s somebody who saw a lack of people being represented in elected office and stood up and took a stance. He was the first openly gay person to be elected to office. That took a huge amount of courage."

Ben Stuckart, incumbent candidate for Spokane City Council president: "I try to make decisions using Aristotle’s definition of good.  Making the right decisions for the right reasons at the right time.  My political hero is Robert F. Kennedy."

John Ahern, candidate for Spokane City Council president: Did not provide answers.

Mike Fagan, incumbent candidate for Spokane City Council, District 1: "I don't have 'a' political hero. I admire a lot of leaders past and present like the apostles of Christ and the signers of the constitution, who risked all including their lives. I admire president Reagan and his legacy as the great communicator, Martin Luther King for his legacy on equal rights." 

Randy Ramos, candidate for Spokane City Council, District 1: "Dr. Martin Luther King, while he was never an elected official, was able to lead the way for civil rights and expanded the opportunities for everyone to take part in the American Dream. He is my political hero."

LaVerne Biel, candidate for Spokane City Council, District 2: "My political hero is President Harry Truman.  He was a man of the people.  He was a humble man from humble beginnings.  President Truman was faced with complicated issues that he continued to tackle regardless of his popularity.  President Truman led the way for civil rights by integrating the military which was not popular.  In addition, President Truman understood the importance of national and public safety."

Lori Kinnear, candidate for Spokane City Council, District 2: "My political hero is my great, great grandfather John R. Kinnear. He was a populist style Republican who served as a territorial legislator prior to Washington becoming a state and served several terms as a Washington State senator. I have read his views on government and admire that he was representing the people and not special interests."

Karen Stratton, incumbent candidate for Spokane City Council, District 3: "My parents were both passionate, committed progressives who spoke honestly about the issues and respected differences of opinion.  I can think of no better example to follow as we tackle the challenges of modern city life."

Evan Verduin, candidate for Spokane City Council, District 3: Did not answer the question. To read his answer to the question, go here.

To read the full answers from each candidate, check out our "On The Issues" blog posts.

Nicholas Deshais
Joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He is the urban issues reporter, covering transportation, housing, development and other issues affecting the city. He also writes the Getting There transportation column and The Dirt, a roundup of construction projects, new businesses and expansions. He previously covered Spokane City Hall.

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