Rod Higgins’ election as Spokane Valley mayor didn’t come down to a coin toss Tuesday night, but it did come down to one vote.
Higgins, Spokane Valley’s sixth mayor since incorporation in 2003, was elected by his peers on the City Council in a 4-3 vote. Mayors, under Spokane Valley’s council-manager form of government, are not elected by the populace. Higgins succeeds Dean Grafos, who remains on the City Council.
Higgins, 73, first came to be on the council in 2013, after members reached a stalemate on how to fill the position of resigning Council Member Brenda Grassel. Higgins, the retired director of the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals, won in a coin toss over challenger Linda Thompson – whom he later went on to defeat in the general election.
On Tuesday, Higgins came out on top over Chuck Hafner, who was also nominated for mayor. Hafner was supported by himself, Grafos and Council Member Bill Gothmann. Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard and Council Members Ed Pace and Sam Wood (in his first act since his election last November) supported Higgins, who cast the deciding vote.
Higgins will remain mayor – a largely honorary position in the city – for the next two years.
Higgins has a bachelor in science degree in finance from the University of Idaho. He has been a longtime active member of the community and had previously served on the city Planning Commission. He ran for the City Council in 2011 and was defeated by Marilyn Cline in that year’s primary election. Cline lost to Ben Wick in the general election.