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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Incoming Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown sworn in during Wednesday ceremony

Lisa Brown was sworn in Wednesday night at a ceremony at the downtown Central Library, five days before she formally takes office as mayor of Spokane.

“I’m very excited and proud to be your next mayor, and I believe in a better way,” Brown told an audience of more than 100 gathered on the library’s top-floor event space.

It was an echo of a campaign slogan that Brown has repeated since announcing her candidacy in March as a few bars of Ben Harper’s “Better Way” played over the loudspeakers, a song which also concluded the evening’s ceremony.

Brown was sworn in by King County Superior Court Judge Jaime Hawk, a former housemate of Brown’s who was appointed to that West Side seat in 2022 after years working as the legal strategy director for Smart Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, and before that as a trial attorney with the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, a criminal defense practice.

Brown said she experienced a flood of emotions as she walked on stage Wednesday , including gratitude, hope, but also terror.

“Terror at how complicated some of these problems are and how tough some of this is going to be,” Brown said. “I fully expect, despite all the great jobs I’ve had in my life, I bet this will be the hardest one.”

The incoming mayor added that she was excited to face those challenges with others in the community, noting the dozens of community leaders who she has tapped to be part of her transition team, tasked with setting her agenda for the short and long term.

Brown noted the many challenges her administration will face: a challenged city budget, the seemingly intractable twin crises of homelessness and housing affordability, concerns over public safety and more.

But she also highlighted what she thought were opportunities that were often overlooked, hoping to spend the next four years improving and maintaining the library and parks systems, bolstering businesses and the local artistic community, and supporting the local education system.

City Councilwoman Kitty Klitzke, who will represent Northwest Spokane alongside incumbent Councilman Zack Zappone, was also administered her oath of office by Hawk.

“When I got to City Hall and did my tours, I got really nervous,” Klitzke said. “We have a lot of challenges ahead of us, and the reality sunk in.

“But I had a couple of meetings with Lisa Brown and (Council President) Betsy Wilkerson, and my fellow council members, and I feel a lot better standing up here today to say, yes, raise your expectations. We can do this.”

The event opened to fiddle tunes from the local band Haywire, which performs most Fridays at The Grain Shed, proceeded by a performance of “The Woman Song” by students of the Salish School of Spokane, and a reading of an original poem by local author Sharma Shields.