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Tuesday, March 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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No longer leading Spokane City Council, Ben Stuckart starts consulting business

Former Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart, shown at a fundraising event in October 2019, has started a new consulting business. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Former Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart, shown at a fundraising event in October 2019, has started a new consulting business. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

After eight years in Spokane City Hall, former City Council President Ben Stuckart has launched a new career.

For now.

Stuckart formally created a consulting business, Forward Principle Consulting, this month, but isn’t ruling out taking his career in a different direction in the future. In the near term, the primary focus of his consulting work will be on behalf of clients with political and government-related interests.

Politics and government are arenas Stuckart is comfortable in, having won citywide races for council president in 2011 and 2015 before losing his bid for mayor to Nadine Woodward in November. Stuckart left office in December.

With two clients already under contract, and potentially more on the way, Stuckart said he’s got enough work to keep him busy full-time through March.

Both clients approached him, according to Stuckart.

“I have not done a single bit of outreach,” he said.

One of Stuckart’s first clients is the Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based think tank. The Sightline Institute is advocating for statewide reform that would reduce barriers to the construction of accessory dwelling units – such as backyard cottages – for Washington property owners.

In his role, Stuckart said he will reach out to municipal elected officials across the state to endorse the proposal. Legislation with Sightline’s backing was introduced in the state House of Representatives this month.

Stuckart also has inked a contract with Impact Strategies Inc., a management consultant firm. Stuckart will be tasked with working on oral and dental health outreach and public education in support of Smile Spokane, a consortium that includes CHAS Health.

For the first year after his departure from office, Stuckart is somewhat limited in the scope of work he can take on. City ethics rules set a temporary ban on former employees participating “in matters involving the city if, while in the course of employment with the city, the former city officer or employee was officially involved in the matter.”

For example, Stuckart could not lobby on behalf of an interest group in the upcoming battle over tenant protections in Spokane, having been personally involved in drafting legislation on the topic as City Council president.

Though he has plenty of work lined up, Stuckart said there’s “still a debate in my head” over whether to leap fully into the consulting world or take on a more traditional job. He’s applied for three different positions he’s waiting to hear back on, he said. Consulting may be the more lucrative track, but he said a full-time position would offer more stability.

Before winning election to the Spokane City Council in 2011, Stuckart was a manager at TicketsWest. In 2017, he launched Communities in Schools, an education nonprofit.

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