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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Many ways to meet, greet the candidates

Like the pumpkins appearing in front of the grocery stores, colorful campaign signs popping up around Spokane Valley point to the beginning of the fall election season.

But who are the people behind the signs?

Voters planning to mail in their ballots before Election Day, as the overwhelming majority did in the primary, can get a head start on researching the candidates on the Internet. All candidates for the three contested council seats now have Web sites. Spokane County also keeps brief candidate profiles for races countywide in the voters guide section of

For those looking to meet the candidates in person, at least three organizations plan to hold candidate forums later this month. The Spokesman-Review is also in the process of scheduling a candidate forum.

“We just want to let people know more about me, and I think that’s what they want to know,” Position 6 candidate Ed Mertens ( said of his approach to campaigning so far.

During the primary, people who didn’t even know Mertens called him at home to learn more about his positions, he said. During the general election, inquisitive voters can call 926-9930 or e-mail him at, he said.

“I’ve had some very pointed questions via e-mail,” said Bill Gothmann (, who also is running for Position 6. The Gothmann campaign handed out 258 brochures at Valleyfest, he said, where all six candidates had booths set up. He also distributes brochures as he goes door-to-door introducing himself, a technique the candidates call “doorbelling.”

“I give them pointed answers,” he said.

People who want to contact Gothmann may call 928-1703 or send him e-mail at

“So many people vote within those three or four days after the ballots are mailed out,” said Councilman Mike DeVleming (

Candidates say they are trying to meet voters well in advance of the election because of the popularity of mail-in voting. DeVleming said some people have told him it was difficult to find information about the primary candidates when the ballots were mailed.

For more information on DeVleming, voters can call him at 879-7248 or e-mail him at

Howard Herman – DeVleming’s opponent for Position 3 – is operating his online campaign from a blog:

Along with his platform and biographical information, visitors can read his opinions on Valley issues and post responses to them.

“If they post something on there, I’ll see that,” he said.

He also set up a campaign headquarters on East Sprague Avenue where people can contact him at 570-3192. His e-mail is

Like the candidates in other races, both contenders for Position 2 have been going introducing themselves door-to-door. “I’ll be doorbelling,” said Jennie Willardson (

Her campaign has a fund-raiser in the works, and her signs should be up this week.

Part of the challenge, she said, is letting people know she is running because races for Positions 2 and 3 did not appear on the primary ballot.

Her campaign number is 218-0750 and her e-mail is

“I’ve been out knocking on doors every night I can,” said Councilman Steve Taylor (, who holds the Position 2 seat.

The shorter days are the only thing shortening his campaign schedule, he said.

In the coming weeks, he said he plans to distribute literature at thousands of homes and that volunteers will be calling voters.

Voters can call Taylor at 869-7470 or e-mail him at

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