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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane City Council President

Election Results

Candidate Votes Pct
Betsy Wilkerson 36,833 53.23%
Kim Plese 32,361 46.77%

* 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

Betsy Wilkerson

Spokane, Washington

Education: Graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 1973. Studied at Jarvis Christian College and Spokane Community College but did not graduate.

Work experience: Owned and operated Moore’s Assisted Living since 1993. Former president of the Women Helping Women Fund, past president of the Carl Maxey Center, past president of the Junior League of Spokane.

Political experience: Appointed a Spokane City Council member in 2020, and elected to the position in 2021. Current president of the Spokane Regional Transportation Council. Current president of the Associated Washington Cities. Serves on the Spokane Transit Authority board of directors.

Family: Single. Two adult children and three grandchildren.

Political donations: Reported raising over $192,000 as of Oct. 10. Top contributors include surgeon Jerry LeClaire, former insurance executive Kathy Greco, political fundraising firm Sterling Strategies, the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local No. 44, and Jordan Goldwarg, executive director for Seattle nonprofit OneWorld Now.

Kim Plese

Spokane, Washington

Education: Graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory School in 1980. Graduated from Washington State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in social work.

Work experience: Owned and operated Plese Printing and Marketing for 32 years before selling the business in 2022. Served on the board of the Spokane Boys and Girls Club, including two years as the board president. Served as board president of Executive Women International. Has volunteered with the Gee Foundation and the Woman and Children’s Free Restaurant and Community Kitchen.

Political experience: Ran for a seat on the Spokane County Commission in 2022, losing to Chris Jordan.

Family: Single. Two adult sons. Sister is Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese.

Political donations: Has reported raising over $247,000 as of Oct. 10. Top contributors include storage companies such as Pay & Pak, developers such as Bouten Construction, and former Gonzaga University and NBA basketball player John Stockton.

Complete Coverage

Spokane pumps the brakes on new drive-thrus on congested stretch of 29th Avenue

New drive-thru restaurants that haven’t submitted building permits will no longer be able to be built on a frequently congested stretch of East 29th Avenue after the Spokane City Council voted Monday to change the zoning in that area.

Inslee presents ‘incredibly visionary’ Spokane with award for relaxing land-use restrictions

In 2022, politicians and city staff in Spokane responded to the growing housing crisis by drastically relaxing land-use restrictions to allow for denser housing like fourplexes and townhomes to be built in all residential areas in the city.

‘God help us’: Conservatives feel iced out by new, more progressive Spokane City Council

Conservatives have held less and less sway on the Spokane City Council since losing the majority in 2013, but after voters elected a more progressive slate of members in November the two remaining right-leaning council members who represent northeast Spokane feel they’ve almost entirely lost their influence.

Anonymity, limited testimony and an end to standing: Spokane City Council changes open forum rules

The Spokane City Council significantly changed its public testimony rules Monday night, including by banning audience members from standing to show support or displeasure.

Spokane City Council approves compromise resolution on Israel-Palestine conflict

The Spokane City Council has now voiced its support for Palestinian civilians under siege in Gaza in addition to the Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas, after a 5-1 vote by the local legislative body.

Lili Navarrete appointed to two-year stint on Spokane City Council

Barbara Liliana Navarrete Lorenzo, better known as Lili Navarrete, has been appointed to fill an open seat on the Spokane City Council for the next two years.

New Israel-Palestine resolution coming before Spokane City Council on Monday

The Spokane City Council on Monday will consider once again speaking out about the Israel-Palestine conflict, this time voicing support not only for the victims of Hamas’ attacks against Israel Oct. 7 but the Palestinian civilians now under siege by Israel’s military.

Five finalists named for open seat on Spokane City Council

Five people have made the shortlist for an open seat on the Spokane City Council vacated by Betsy Wilkerson, who represented south Spokane until winning an election in November to the citywide position of City Council president.

New weight limits imposed on aging Latah Bridge as Spokane seeks funding for rehab

The aging Latah Bridge has new weight restrictions and is barred to some large vehicles, including garbage trucks, aerial fire trucks and other specialized trucks exceeding 22 tons after the most recent inspection found the structure has further deteriorated.

Development, infrastructure and homelessness among priorities for Spokane City Council in 2024

The Spokane City Council returned to work Monday after an end-of-year recess, and its returning and newly elected members say they have big plans for the year ahead.

Matt Boston, budget adviser for Spokane’s City Council, named chief financial officer by Mayor Brown

Matt Boston, who has been the lead financial and budgetary adviser for the Spokane City Council since 2021, has a new job on the other side of City Hall.

Spokane City Council reconsiders limiting open forum after backlash

In the face of criticism, the Spokane City Council has punted on a vote on major changes to public comment at council meetings until Jan. 22.

Seventeen applied to serve a nearly two-year stint on the Spokane City Council

Seventeen people have submitted applications to fill a seat on the Spokane City Council vacated by Betsy Wilkerson, who had represented south Spokane but won election in November to the citywide position of City Council president.

Spokane plans to clear bike lanes with new and ‘transformative’ snow plow

Spokane may soon have the city’s first purpose-built sweeper and plow to remove snow and debris from protected bike lanes, which are too narrow for most of the city’s equipment to navigate.

Spokane City Council’s open forum may be limited to once per month

The public’s time to voice its opinions to the Spokane City Council may change significantly later this year, if a proposal sponsored by Council President Betsy Wilkerson is approved during the Council’s first meeting of the year Monday.

Incoming Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown sworn in during Wednesday ceremony

Lisa Brown was sworn in Wednesday night at a ceremony at the downtown Central Library, five days before she formally takes office as mayor of Spokane.

Spokane extends Salvation Army contract to operate largest homeless shelter, but questions linger

The Salvation Army will continue operating Spokane’s largest homeless shelter, possibly through April, amid ongoing dispute over breakdowns this summer in a process to potentially choose a different operator.

Spin Control: In Spokane elections, winners spent less per vote than losers

Money may indeed be, as a powerful California politician once posited, the mother’s milk of politics. But how you spend that money matters, too.

Spokane City Council makes 11th-hour changes to redistricting measure on February ballot

Spokane voters will still decide early next year whether the City Council should have less power in drawing council districts in the future, but the measure that will appear on local ballots has been slightly changed after a Thursday vote.

Spokane County certifies results nearly unchanged from election night

Spokane County formally certified the 2023 election Tuesday, making official results that became evident weeks ago.