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Tuesday, October 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Newcomer challenges incumbent for Liberty Lake City Council position 7

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 16, 2019, 4:08 p.m.

Cris Kaminskas, left, faces Thomas Stanley in the race for Liberty Lake City Council position 7 in the November 2019 election. (Courtesy)
Cris Kaminskas, left, faces Thomas Stanley in the race for Liberty Lake City Council position 7 in the November 2019 election. (Courtesy)

In Liberty Lake, some say it’s time for new ideas in city leadership while others say experience is the way to avoid failure.

Tom Stanley, 43, is running for political office for the first time in hopes of bringing fresh ideas and a focus on community safety to the Liberty Lake City Council position 7 seat.

Incumbent, Cristella “Cris” Kaminskas, 50, has been on the City Council since she was appointed in 2010.

Kaminskas hopes to finish out the work she has started over the years.

“If we bring in people without that history, we’re doomed to repeat some of our failures,” Kaminskas said.

One of those major projects is the Harvard Road Bridge Expansion and Interstate 90 overpass.

“I think it’s extremely important at this stage in our city’s development that we retain the knowledge and education that I’ve gained over the last nine years to help move the project forward,” Kaminskas said.

Kaminskas is pleased the project timeline has been moved up but is concerned about the effect that Initiative 976, which would cut car-tab taxes and fees to a flat $30 statewide, could have on the project.

“If that passes, the funding that’s coming from the state for that project is potentially in jeopardy,” Kaminskas said. “That is a key project to taking large steps ahead in the transportation in our community.”

For Stanley, addressing transportation is part of managing growth in Liberty Lake.

“If we grow, can we handle that growth?” Stanley said. “Right now, when you leave Liberty Lake at 5 p.m. you’re not going to get out very easy.”

Stanley hopes, through planning, growth can happen in a positive manner, he said.

“If we’re not safe then our community is not going to grow because people want to move into a safe community,” Stanley said.

Making sure the police department and city are adequately staffed is a priority, Stanley added.

When it comes to taxes, Stanley describes himself as “fiscally conservative.”

“First and foremost I would not want to raise any taxes because I’m a homeowner here,” Stanley said. “We raise those taxes, I’ve got to pay those taxes as well.”

When it comes to taxes, Kaminskas has a few ideas on changing where property taxes go.

“By ordinance the library gets 23% of property tax revenue,” Kaminskas said. “Law enforcement gets whatever is left, which I love the library but to me public safety comes first.”

Kaminskas plans to bring forward an ordinance to set up a public safety fund to monitor and increase the money put toward public safety.

“We need a mechanism to have a really good pulse on where the funding is for public safety,” Kaminskas said.

She also hopes to hold regular meetings with business owners as part of a business retention plan.

“What we want to do is provide a place for comfortable feedback,” Kaminskas said.

It’s easier and less expensive to keep a business in town than it is to attract new ones, Kaminskas added.

After the August primary, candidate Jeanette Nall did not advance to the general election but did endorse Stanley.

“I just think it’s time for a change in our City Council,” Nall said. “He knows the issues that are important to the community.”

Both Kaminskas and Stanley said they did not seek endorsements.

“I’d rather reach out to individuals myself,” Kaminskas said. “I haven’t pursued the endorsements, though I know I could get them, but it’s not something that I spent my time on.”

Though Kaminskas doesn’t have any official endorsements and said she isn’t officially endorsing anyone herself, she did list the candidates she supports, including her father, Bob Moore, and mayoral candidate Shane Brickner.

For Stanley, working on name recognition is the key to his campaign.

“As you go against an incumbent, it’s tough to get your name out there,” Stanley said. “I’m getting a lot of support that I didn’t think I would get so I’m optimistically cautious.”

He also has focused on avoiding the “negative campaigning” that has been going on in Liberty Lake.

“I dedicated my whole life to servant leadership,” Stanley said. “Meaning, I’m not a leader to enhance my life. I’m a leader to enhance the people that I lead.”

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