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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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School Board, District 5

Election Results

Candidate Votes Pct
Mitch Swenson 1,893 56.02%
James Whiteley 1,486 43.98%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

The Candidates

Mitch Swenson

Party:
Age:
61
Occupation:
Owns several apartment buildings

Education: Graduated from Cheney High School in 1978. Earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from Eastern Washington University in 1982.

Political experience: Cheney Public Schools board director since 2015.

Work experience: Has worked as a commercial real estate broker with NAI Black in Spokane for 36 years. He specializes in selling apartment buildings and owns a number of complexes.

Family: Widowed. He has five daughters who all graduated from Cheney High School.

His pitch: Swenson said he has a deep passion for the Cheney area and its schools. He said serving on the school board the lpast few years has been a chance for him to give back since he and many family members attended area schools. The board needs to continue planning for growth and acquiring land for future school construction, he said. With years of experience as a real estate broker and apartment building owner, he said he is equipped to budget and manage a business. Swenson said he supports the capital levy on the ballot so the school district will be able to build new schools, improve technology and attract more students.

His words: “I believe strongly that we as a populous are seeing so much growth in our area all of a sudden and need to make sure our kids have a great system, including great teachers and facilities.”

James Whiteley

Party:
Age:
54
Occupation:
Incumbent school board member

His words: “I do think overall we do a very good job. It’s not like there is something that is missing.”

His pitch: Whiteley said he doesn’t think the district has many issues. However, he would like to improve is the board’s responsiveness to voters. He specifically references two failed bonds the district tried to pass in the last year.

“If the people of this community didn’t want the original bond, we should have reassessed and found out what they wanted,” Whiteley said.

Notable experience: Whiteley has served on the board for one term. He’s lived in the Cheney district since 1999 and his four children went through the Cheney school system. He’s a volunteer Chaplin for the Police Department and a Chaplin at Fairchild Air Force Base.

Education: Graduated from Medical Lake High School in 1984. Earned an MBA from Gonzaga and a master of divinity from the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.