When Spokane Valley City Council Member Brenda Grassell moved out of the city last year, the appointment of her vacant post came down to retired business owner and executive Rod Higgins and Linda Thompson, executive director of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council.
When a divided council couldn’t decide on a frontrunner, the decision – per city procedure – came down to a literal coin toss. Higgins came out on top and took the job.
Now, Thompson is back and it’s time for the electorate to decide.
Linda J. Thompson
Family/How long living in Spokane Valley: My husband Rich Thompson and I have been married for 27 years. Daughter Katee (Pierce) Claros (U-Hi ’98), her husband Jack (Ferris ’98) and my darling granddaughters Jaylee June (3) and Aubree Aliciana (1) live in Vancouver, Wash. Son Nate Thompson (U-Hi ’06) and his wife Laura (Leach) (U-Hi ’08) live close by in south Spokane. Spokane Valley has been my home since 1968 (except for a few years in southwest Washington) when my parents Ron and Hazel Hatcher, my brothers Lyle and Steve, and I moved from the north side of Spokane out to our home on the corner of Broadway and Flora among the cantaloupe fields and apple orchards.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? As a young Girl Scout I learned early on the importance of giving back, making a difference and being a part of my community. When our city first incorporated I was working full time, committed to being a U-Hi booster, a sports mom, and a Scouting parent so I chose to wait to run for City Council. With this year being the 10-year anniversary of Spokane Valley when the interim position opened up, I applied. The City Council split their votes 3-3 between my current opponent and me so a coin toss determined the appointment. Believing the flip of the coin should not determine leadership for our city, I filed for Position 1. I will appreciate the opportunity to serve as a City Council member based on the vote of our citizens.
What are your goals for the Spokane Valley City Council? My goals for the Spokane Valley City Council include community engaged problem solving through increased citizen participation focused on diversity and inclusion, utilizing the talents of our city staff in a team effort to find solutions to the challenges facing our city, and being a role model for other citizens who want to serve their community as an elected official without a large campaign budget or special interests driving their agenda.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? I believe the biggest issue facing the city is how the economy is affecting every aspect of our top problem issues: public safety, infrastructure and economic development. Just like when a family has to deal with money issues, there is stress. How do we make ends meet? How do we prioritize our resources? What partnerships do we have to leverage our assets? Our City Council must grapple with this issue in a thoughtful, future focused way. Turning stress into action through open problem solving with citizens and staff, partnering with the great minds/organizations of our community, and being innovative in our efforts will help us face the economic situation with positive action.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? As I meet folks I am always a bit taken back that the first thing they often say is “why would you want to be on the City Council? You must be crazy!” But then as we talk they open up to share their concerns ranging from keeping Sprague and Appleway one way streets (still a big concern), increasing crime in their neighborhood, that we have to have marijuana stores here, and the number of closed up businesses that create blight in our city. Lately, folks are just plain mad at Congress and tell me stories of federal employee furloughs, canceled Guard weekends costing families money they need to survive, and resources that are drying up for those most in need during the shutdown. The gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” is growing among our lowest and fixed income citizens. I am committed to helping to find ways to increase awareness of all of the means we have to help folks with organizations like Spokane Valley Partners, Greater Spokane Meals on Wheels, Neighborhood Watch and many others. Overall though, folks are very encouraging and glad for the connection with me.
Web site: VoteLindaThompson.com. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. No matter what the outcome of the election I am a “roll my sleeves up” kind of gal who loves our city and will help in every way I can in support of our great city!
Family/How long living in Spokane Valley: My wife, Gloria, and I have been married for 43 years; 25 of those living in Spokane Valley. We have a daughter, Shannon, who is married to an officer in the Navy, and they have a daughter, Myah. Our son, Jason, is an officer in the Army.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? Have you ever seen or heard of an action by government at any level that you thought could have been done better? It is very easy to sit on the sideline and grouse about how things are going, or how you think they should be going. Well, rather than be one of those, I decided to get involved.
The Valley is a truly unique place to live, do business, and enjoy life. In the spirit of the framers of the Constitution, who thought that government should be participatory, I want to help maintain that lifestyle. The most direct way to participate in making that happen is to be part of the body that sets the direction for our city.
What are your goals for the Spokane Valley City Council? The City Council is an accessible governing body. Valley citizens can interface at any time with council members. A phone call, an e-mail or a passing comment at the grocery store all attest to the availability and accountability of council members. I will work to keep it that way.
Common sense applied to ensuring our public safety, roads, and issues that make the Valley an attractive place to live and do business are strengths that have over the past four years been applied to city governance. Occasionally, some on the council appear to be attracted to growing the size of government, or raising taxes because state law says we can, or because an idea originating on the west side of the state (usually for the benefit of the west side) seems particularly alluring. We should not succumb to the temptation to “go along to get along.”
I believe in smaller government, or as Thomas Jefferson stated, “That government is best which governs least.” Keeping our city government lean, attentive and responsive is my primary goal.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? Maintaining our city’s finances in the excellent condition they are in currently. Our plan for keeping a six-month operating budget reserve is prudent and workable. Our plan for expanding our police force to meet our growing population is within our means. Our plan for road preservation in conjunction with assistance from outside sources is working nicely. All of those issues feed into maintaining our way of life and presenting Spokane Valley as an attractive place to do business.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? Two years ago when I knocked on doors, the response was often, “Good, maybe you can fix it!” There was a general feeling of uneasiness that something was not working and needed changing. Today when I knock on doors there is a different attitude. Folks are not as suspicious of city government. They comment that we appear to be moving in the right direction. If anything, they are more nervous about our national direction.
Web site? Yes, it is: retainrodhiggins.com.