Mayor David Condon was in his element. No criticism, no problems. Just tossing candies, shaking youngsters’ hands and wearing a kilt.
In his last year as mayor, Condon walked Saturday in Spokane’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which shut down parts of the downtown core to celebrate the Irish holiday. Condon stuck near members of his large, Irish-Catholic family and their float, from American On-Site Service, made partly out of port-a-potties.
“I’ve been walking it since I was a kid,” he said, as he turned to a child and said, “Hi, I’m Mayor Condon. What’s your name?”
The youngster was too shy to answer.
The parade was one of many Irish traditions in Condon’s family, which includes his two sisters and six brothers, who share the name Condon. The kilt he wore is made from the plaid pattern designated to the surname Condon, which comes from the county of Cork, Ireland.
He sees the parade as one of the first signals of springtime, when thousands line the route to watch llamas, Army trucks and bagpipes crawl along.
“After a long winter, it’s fun to be outside,” he said.
One onlooker, Braedon Chance, 8, said “he likes to see the old stuff,” such as “firetrucks and old cars, like classics,” and the Army trucks.
“I like the military,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to do when I grow up.”
Condon, too, was once a youngster wanting to join the military. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1996. Afterward, he became the district director and deputy chief of staff for Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in 2005. He was elected mayor in 2011, and again in 2015. But Spokane’s term limit bars him from running again.
He said after he leaves office, he’ll likely continue walking in the parade.
“I’ll probably still do it,” Condon said. “My family has been doing it for 30-plus years.”
Ted Condon, David’s brother, walked alongside the mayor and said that parade-watchers liked seeing a politician out and about.
“They’re seeing the mayor in a different light today,” he said.
Steve Deibert, a relative of Condon’s, said he gets the feeling Condon is relieved that he won’t have to serve another term as mayor.
“It’s a lot of stress,” he said. “You’re going to see hate when you’re in a position of authority.”
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