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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Seven candidates file for the city’s two top positions on the first day of filing week

UPDATED: Tue., May 14, 2019

The Spokane City Council is expected to hire a council spokesperson soon. (sr)
The Spokane City Council is expected to hire a council spokesperson soon. (sr)

Seven candidates filed for the city of Spokane’s two top positions on the first day of filing Monday.

People have until 4 p.m. Friday to declare their candidacy at the Spokane County Elections Office, or online.

At least one person has filed for every city position and several have filed to run for various city council seats across Spokane County.

Ben Stuckart, president of the Spokane City Council, Nadine Woodward, a former KXLY news anchor, and Shawn Poole, a Spokane firefighter, filed for the mayor’s race with the secretary of state’s office. Five others have filed with the Public Disclosure Commission or said they intended to run, but have not officially filed.

Stuckart announced he was running for mayor more than a year ago and laid out a progressive agenda focusing on affordable housing and infill when he kicked off his campaign in March.

Woodward, who has been a rumored candidate for years, announced she was running for mayor last month and has taken positions similar to current Spokane Mayor David Condon, such as hiring more police officers without raising property taxes.

Poole, an army veteran, filed with the PDC last March and said he hopes to reduce “fraud, waste and abuse” in government by keeping a close eye on how much the city reimburses employees for expenses, city vehicles and cellphones. He has applauded Union Gospel Mission’s approach to helping the homeless, requiring people who are staying in their shelter to be sober.

Two current Spokane City Council members, a business owner and the former president of the Spokane NAACP have filed to run for City Council president. Mike Fagan, who is prevented by term limits from running again for City Council, is often the lone conservative vote on the council.

Breean Beggs, who has also filed for council president, is a civil rights attorney and former director of the the Center for Justice. He was appointed to the council in 2016 and elected in 2017.

Cindy Wendle, the fourth candidate to announce a run for council president, co-owns NorthTown Square, a shopping center on Division Street that houses several retailers and restaurants such as Red Lobster and Dress Barn, and previously managed Spokane’s Washington Trust Bank branch. Wendle said that during her career, she has worked to attract businesses to Spokane and hopes to make sure they are represented at the table when decisions are being made.

Wendle, a first-time candidate, said she was one of many community members looking for a change and new approaches to growing community issues such as homelessness.

“There seems to be a swell of people wanting something new and feeling like things aren’t getting done,” she said.

Phil Tyler, community activist and former NAACP president, has filed to run for council president. Tyler previously applied for a vacancy on the City Council. Tyler has been accused of domestic violence by multiple ex-wives; Tyler has denied that he ever abused women.

Tyler has advocated for suicide prevention and also appeared in a video with Spokane’s mayor, police chief, fire chief and sheriff titled “We Will Rise,” calling for men to speak out against sexual harassment and assault. He also accompanied U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on a “pilgrimage” to the South for Black History Month.

Councilwoman Lori Kinnear, who won her seat in 2015, is the only incumbent who has filed so far, and the only candidate who has filed for the south Spokane council seat. Kinnear recently sponsored a law to increase Spokane’s tree canopy to 30% by 2030 and is working on a follow-up ordinance that would set up incentives for businesses and homeowners to plant and maintain trees.

Two challengers have filed for a council seat in northwest Spokane: Andy Rathbun, an Air Force veteran and former mayoral candidate, and Jeff Martin, who works in fraud prevention for the state Department of Labor and Industries. Incumbent Karen Stratton has reported contributions to her re-election campaign to the Public Disclosure Commission, but has not yet filed with the secretary of state’s office.

Jerrall Haynes, vice president of the Spokane Public Schools Board, is one of two candidates who has filed for the northeast Spokane seat, which is currently held by Fagan. Haynes, an Air Force veteran, was a former secretary of the Spokane NAACP and owns a fitness business. If elected, he said he hopes to improve working relationships at the city between different branches of government and agencies.

Spokane resident Doug Salter has also filed for the northeast district seat, but could not be reached for comment.

On Monday, four candidates filed for Spokane Valley City Council, two of which are incumbents.

They include Brandi Peetz, who won her seat in 2017,and Arne Woodard who was first elected in 2011.

Al Merkel is seeking a seat after unsuccessfully running for council in 2017, and is challenging Woodard.

Shaun Stanfield is challenging incumbent Sam Wood and would be a newcomer to council if elected. Wood has not yet filed with the secretary of state’s office.

This story was corrected from its original version on May 14 to reflect that candidates must file with the elections office by 4 p.m. on Friday and that Albert Merkel previously ran for a Spokane Valley City Council position.

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