Mike Tedesco’s first bid for public office was a failed attempt to join the Liberty Lake City Council in 2013.
The former head of the Downtown Spokane Partnership has set his sights considerably higher in 2019, with eyes to replace outgoing Mayor David Condon.
“This is big time,” said Tedesco, 38, who filed with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission on Friday to run for mayor of the city. “It takes time to build the network, and to run a strong campaign.”
Tedesco, the head of planning and economic development for the Spokane Tribe of Indians, was dismissed from his role as head of the downtown group in 2012, one year into a two-year deal as president. He has gone on to publish a blog titled Spokane Planner, with posts critical of the partnership and efforts by Greater Spokane Inc., to promote economic development in the city.
One post also calls out seven “blunders” committed by Condon, including hiring Police Chief Frank Straub, firing development director Scott Chesney and signing the deal with developer Walt Worthy to provide incentives for construction of the Davenport Grand Hotel downtown without City Council consultation.
“There was an opportunity there to collaborate, including with the developer,” Tedesco, who moved back to Spokane a couple years ago, said. “Everybody was operating in a silo and no one was talking to each other.”
At the time, Condon said the deal furthered the city’s goal of promoting development in the downtown core and helped protect the Spokane aquifer. The City Council ultimately approved the $318,000 needed for soil cleanup at the site of the hotel.
Condon is barred from running for mayor again by a term limit established in the City Charter.
Tedesco, who earned his master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Kansas, said he would be the first mayoral candidate “in a really long time that has expertise in cities, and city management.”
Tedesco said he would work to earn the support of members of both political parties during a campaign. The mayor, like city councilmembers in Spokane, is a nonpartisan position. Tedesco has made political contributions to Andrew Biviano and Candace Mumm, Democrats who ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner last year, and City Council President Ben Stuckart.
Stuckart remains the only other candidate as of Tuesday who’s filed to run for mayor with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, a first step in fundraising for a campaign in the state. After initially filing his candidacy for mayor nearly a year ago, Stuckart altered course in December, shifting his focus to running against for the region’s congressional seat, presumably against incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Stuckart reiterated that pledge Tuesday, saying he wasn’t thinking about any race other than Congress.
“That’s my focus, November of ’18,” Stuckart said. He would not speculate about his plans if his congressional bid is unsuccessful.