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

Medical Lake Mayor Terri Cooper announces bid for Congress

Medical Lake Mayor Terri Cooper is running to represent Eastern Washington in Congress, she announced Saturday at the Spokane County Republican Convention.

“I am a change agent, born for this, and I didn’t even know it until I was called to the task in the middle of the crisis,” Cooper said.

She is running for a seat being vacated by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who announced in February that she would not run for re-election. Cooper joins an increasingly crowded Republican field for the seat, including Spokane City Councilman Jonathan Bingle, Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, Ferry County Commissioner Brian Dansel, former state employee John Guenther, talk radio host Rene Holaday and state Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber.

Three Democrats also have joined the race, including OB-GYN Bernadine Bank, small business owner Ann Marie Danimus and former diplomat Carmela Conroy.

Cooper, a personal friend of McMorris Rodgers, has served as mayor of the city of Medical Lake since 2021, though no challenge in office has brought her to greater prominence than her leadership in the face of a devastating fire last summer that destroyed dozens of homes in her city. That experience has convinced her that she had the capacity lead and clarified shortcomings in federal and state policy that stymied recovery efforts, she said.

“When you have 22,000 acres that burn, and your state government and the U.S. government says: call your insurance company, and clean up your square?” she said. “I have to change policy at the federal level.”

After the smoke cleared, Cooper stepped up to lead the Spokane Region Long Term Recovery Group, a group that works with governments and nonprofits.

Cooper retired early from her job as Cheney Municipal Court commissioner at the end of October to devote more time to her work as mayor and recovery efforts. The position of mayor in Medical Lake is paid for part-time work.

Cooper co-founded Restore Hope, a humanitarian aid group, as well as ReImagine Medical Lake, an organization focused on increasing Medical Lake tourism.

In 2008, she started the Cheney Youth Court, which is an alternative court for young people who get traffic tickets.