The race for Spokane County Commission District 1 is getting chippy.
In less than a week, west Spokane voters will decide whether they want Democrat Chris Jordan or Republican Kim Plese to represent them on the Spokane County Commission.
As the Nov. 8 general election inches closer, Jordan and Plese are buying TV airtime to launch attack ads at each other.
One Jordan TV ad attacks Plese for a response she gave to a We Believe, We Vote questionnaire. The conservative Christian organization based in Spokane asks political candidates questions on moral and social issues from a Biblical perspective.
The nonprofit this year asked politicians whether they think the Washington law that grants women the right to an abortion should be repealed or challenged.
Plese responded with a 10 on a scale of 1-10, indicating that she fully agreed the state’s reproductive privacy act should be repealed or challenged.
However, Plese said in an interview that she supports women’s rights and doesn’t believe the state law should be repealed.
“I’m disgusted and offended by that commercial,” she said.
In texts, Plese said she wasn’t responding to We Believe, We Vote’s prompt about Washington abortion law. She wouldn’t say what she was responding to, though.
The Spokesman-Review asked Plese why she answered the question with “10.” She said she needed to look at the question again and would call back, but didn’t.
Plese repeatedly said abortion isn’t a county issue.
“The county commissioners have no say over that,” she said. “If I truly wanted to repeal that, I would have ran for a state Legislature position or higher in order to do that.”
Jordan said abortion is a county issue, in at least one respect.
He said he would support a county law prohibiting the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office from cooperating with out-of-state abortion investigations.
During a KSPS debate last month, Plese wouldn’t say whether she would support such a law.
Plese’s TV ads, mailers and mass text messages are attacking Jordan on three fronts.
First, the Republican is accusing her opponent of “supporting tent cities as a solution to homelessness.”
In that column, Jordan makes a case for bringing Tent City III to the University of Washington campus.
Jordan argues the move would be compassionate, good for students and safe. He points out in the column that the King County Sheriff’s Office and Seattle Police Department stated Tent City had not caused an uptick in crime.
“All I was doing in the article is saying what the chief of police and sheriff said,” Jordan said in an interview Thursday.
The Democrat said he does not support homeless encampments as a solution for homelessness. He also said he believes individuals living at Camp Hope, the large homeless encampment along Interstate 90 in east Spokane, should be moved elsewhere and offered housing options and assistance .
In mass text messages, Plese has also accused Jordan of wanting to defund the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Jordan said that’s untrue and said he works with law enforcement agencies often as an attorney with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in Spokane.
Plese also attacks Jordan for another column he wrote in the student paper, about income taxes.
In that column, Jordan argues that Washington has the country’s most regressive tax code and that the state should adopt a graduated income tax.
County commissioners don’t have the ability to impose income taxes, but Plese said she thinks the question is still relevant.
“It’s very relevant to what the county commissioners do as far as taxes go,” she said.
Jordan accused Plese of being deliberately misleading and twisting his words on tent cities, funding the Sheriff’s Office and income taxes.
“Even 13 years ago I never advocated an income tax on working or middle-class people,” he said. “I don’t have a position on an income tax in 2022. The debate is ongoing about how to make the wealthy pay their fair share.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Nov. 4, 2022 because the original version mischaracterized We Believe, We Vote’s questionnaire. The prompts within the questionnaire did not change over time.
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