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Annie Kurtz running against longtime Liberty Lake Council fixture Robert Moore

UPDATED: Thu., Sept. 26, 2019

Annie Kurtz, left, and incumbent Robert Moore are running for Liberty Lake City Council position 5 in the November 2019 election. (Nina Culver / The Spokesman-Review)
Annie Kurtz, left, and incumbent Robert Moore are running for Liberty Lake City Council position 5 in the November 2019 election. (Nina Culver / The Spokesman-Review)

The race for position 5 on Liberty Lake City Council pits a candidate who touts his experience against one who stresses the need for a fresh voice.

But Annie Kurtz, who is challenging incumbent Robert Moore, wasn’t necessarily hoping to oust Moore when she filed to run for the position.

Moore currently serves in position 1. When he filed for re-election, he chose to run for position 5. Shane Brickner, who currently holds that seat, has chosen to run for mayor instead of re-election to the council.

“I did it because Phil Folyer filed in January for position 1,” Moore said. “I knew that Brickner was going to run for mayor. I didn’t think anyone else would file for the position. I didn’t think I’d have to run a campaign.”

Kurtz had the same idea. She applied for position 5 because she knew Brickner was not running for re-election. She said she was surprised to learn Moore had filed for the seat.

“I don’t want to unseat anybody,” she said. “I just want a chance to be a part of that. I think I have a fresh perspective.”

Moore was appointed to the Liberty Lake planning commission in 2010 shortly after he moved to the city to be closer to his daughter, Cris Kaminskas, who also serves on the council.

“When we first got here, I read in the Liberty Lake Splash that they couldn’t have a planning commission meeting because they didn’t have enough members,” he said.

He applied for a vacant position and was appointed. After five years, he decided to apply for a vacant position on the City Council.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to serve,” he said.

Kurtz grew up in Great Falls and Helena, Montana. She lived and worked in Bozeman for several years before moving to Astoria, Oregon, to work as a social worker for the state’s Child Protective Services. Less than a year after the move, she got married and moved to Denver, staying for five years. The couple moved to Liberty Lake in 2011 after her husband got a promotion.

“We were looking for a community with good schools,” she said.

She worked for CPS as a social worker and then was a program manager from 2013 to 2018, quitting to stay home with her children. That was when she began thinking about serving on the City Council.

“I’ve been home for a while, trying to think of how else I could be involved in my community,” she said. “I was really good at policy, and that’s part of what this job would do. I also notice there is only one woman on the City Council.”

Kurtz said she believes she can bring a different perspective to the council.

“I think stay-at-home moms are kind of marginalized, but I think moms and dads who stay home have a lot to contribute,” she said.

Moore grew up in Norwood, Ohio. After he finished high school, he graduated from the American Institute of Banking and went to work. He also served six years in the Ohio National Guard. He attended night school for 16 years before he earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Cincinnati.

“It wasn’t easy, either,” Moore said of those 16 years. “I was working 40 hours a week. All I had time to do was study, go to work and get to class. I think that’s where I developed a lot of discipline.”

Moore spent about 40 years as a corporate executive, working for several different companies. His positions included vice president of finance and CFO of Tresler Oil Co., senior vice president and finance and CFO for Duro Bag Manufacturing Co., president of Bufkor, Inc., and vice president of corporate operations for Reptron Electronics.

Moore said he believes the city needs to continue to manage its growth well.

“Liberty Lake is one of the fastest growing communities in the state of Washington,” he said. “We’re also one of the safest cities in the state of Washington. That didn’t just happen.”

Moore said he’s proud that he introduced the concept of strategic planning to the city, which now has strategic plans in place for different sections of the city.

“Before I did that, there were not,” he said.

He said he wants to continue in his role on the council, even if it is in a different position.

“I have enjoyed serving on the City Council and serving the community,” he said. “I’d like to continue to help facilitate meeting a lot of our goals and objectives. I think I am qualified to do so. I am the most qualified and experienced candidate because of my education, background and experience.”

Kurtz agreed that the city’s growth is the biggest issue.

“I just want to make sure we do it as responsibly as possible,” she said.

Kurtz said following the city’s strategic plan is important – to a point.

“I think it needs to bend and flex with the community,” she said. “I don’t think the strategic plan should be static.”

Her goal is to make Liberty Lake “even more livable than it already is,” Kurtz said.

“I think I have good, sound judgment,” she said. “I’m pretty approachable. I hope people are looking for some change.”

Moore said some have objected to him serving on the council with his daughter. She was appointed to the council about the same time he began serving on the planning commission.

“I’m really pleased she decided to get involved in community service,” he said. “I think people would be surprised how little we talk about our city jobs when we’re together. That’s family time.”

The two don’t agree on every issue, and it’s not unusual for them to vote differently on things, Moore said.

“She’s an independent thinker and raised to be that way,” he said.

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