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

Newcomer challenges incumbent on Liberty Lake City Council

By Trevor Picanco The Spokesman Review

Like in many of the races this year for Liberty Lake City Council, the city’s library is front and center.

Travis L. Scott jumped into the race to challenge incumbent Jed Spencer after the City Council voted in May to have the final say over library policies. Spencer was one of four council members to approve the plan, but Mayor Cris Kaminskas vetoed it.

Scott called the plan “big government overreach.” Spencer said it was merely about making sure the library is accountable to people chosen by voters.

Spencer, who was endorsed by the Spokane County Republican Party and Spokane County Sheriff John Nowels, assumed office in 2022 and hopes to continue Liberty Lake’s efforts in improving public safety and managing the city’s rapid expansion.

Scott, who received the endorsement of retired Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and the Spokane Regional Labor Council, stresses his role as a nonpartisan candidate in the race with “values on both sides,” working to “protect the people of Liberty Lake.”


The library controversy, which started with a citizen’s attempt to get the book “Gender Queer” banned, has been a defining issue in the city’s races for City Council.

Spencer said the City Council’s efforts were misinterpreted.

“The vote that we were working on wasn’t to control the library,” Spencer said. “It was going to give us the ability to either approve or reject any sort of policies that the library board wanted to put in place. It really didn’t have anything to do with controlling what they’re doing over there, but just allowed the individuals who are directly accountable to voters to have a say on policy.”

Since the city’s library board is vetted before their employment, Scott believes this “checks and balances” system is unnecessary and a violation of personal freedom. He said the appointed board is better equipped to make library decisions.

“When you start trying to prevent people from obtaining information, that, to me, is borderline communism; it’s not American,” he said.

Growth and development

The candidates offer similar ideas on how to manage Liberty Lake’s rapid expansion and development.

Spencer advocates for collaboration with landowners on zoning requests, as well as further use of infrastructure monitoring processes and systems that the city uses to track the state of roads “so we can stay ahead of the curve and make sure everything is being maintained when it’s supposed to.”

Scott said the city needs to do a better job of communicating and educating the public about what is happening. He said City Council agendas should be more detailed about the issues being discussed.

“I feel like they’re unclear what the plans are for Liberty Lake,” Scott said. “We’ll have a plan for zoning changes and it’s unclear why it’s happening.”


Both candidates support more investments in law enforcement and maintaining Liberty Lake’s separate, city-run police department.

For Spencer, supporting local law enforcement means providing more resources and “tools.” He cited a camera surveillance system installed at different entry points into Liberty Lake that can help police find stolen vehicles and assist in investigating other crimes.

Scott also endorses providing further revsources and said law enforcement is important to protect the people of Liberty Lake from outside threats such as the fentanyl epidemic. Scott said that while confronting the fentanyl issue is difficult to confront at a local level, he believes it is an opportunity to “work cross-functionally with other cities and the state as a whole to attack the problem.”