Family/How long living in Spokane Valley? I am happily married to my wife Jill with five wonderful children. Ana is 14 and becoming a beautiful young woman, though a tad too quickly for Dad. Bella is 11 and she is my princess. All who meet her speak to how sweet and caring she is. Jackson is 5, showing an independence and drive that is uncommon for one so young. Titus is 3, his nickname is Bear Cub. It suits him well as he is all rough and tumble. Lastly is our newest sweetheart, Autumn. She is 15 months and has absolutely captured my heart.
As a family, we have lived in Spokane Valley since 2011. I personally have lived in this beautiful city off and on since 1993. I love this city, it is where I chose to raise my family, and it is my home.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? I wanted to file for candidacy to continue my service to the citizens of Spokane Valley. All of us have frustrations with government from the national level on down, myself included. I found that to make the biggest impact, you must start locally. Spokane Valley is a beautiful and thriving city. I don’t want to see it fall prey to failed Seattle-based politics. We are a community based on family values who treasure our traditional way of life. I filed for candidacy to protect the individual freedoms that have allowed Americans to be great.
What are your goals for the Spokane Valley City Council? My goals for the Spokane Valley City Council include public safety and the completion of the grade separations at Pines and Barker roads. In the six years I served Spokane County as an EMT, I spent countless hours in the field with our police officers. I understand the importance of their service to our city. This is why I proposed before council using $210,000 of our general fund excess to provide much-needed upgrades to our police precinct and vehicles as well as potential incentives for recruitment and retention of our officers.
The grade separations at Pines and Barker will serve to alleviate vehicle congestion at railroad crossings leading to increased safety, improved flow of traffic and decreased noise pollution from train whistles. I am proud that I spearheaded opposition to the original projected cost at the Barker grade separation. This allowed staff to revisit plans and the new estimated cost resulted in a 16 million dollar price decrease. Currently the city has 9.8 million in financial commitments leaving only 10.2 million left to be funded.
We are hoping to cover this remaining cost with grants.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? The biggest issue facing the city currently is our preservation and maintenance of our streets. The challenge with our roads is long term funding as our current revenue source, the phone tax, is declining. As I have addressed before the council, I would like to direct some of our excess general funds toward street preservation. I believe in a simple approach to budgeting, prioritizing wants over needs. Our roads are an absolute need.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? One of the most surprisingly conversations I’ve had with people while campaigning is unfamiliarity with the structure of our city government; for example, having a city manager and an appointed mayor versus a strong mayor system. I hope to remedy this through increased community engagement. I have made it point of my time on the council thus far to be as accessible and available as possible to any citizen who reaches out to me. Another major issue I hear about is concern over increasing taxes. Due to decisions made in Olympia, our citizens will likely be seeing an increase in taxes next year. I hear concerns that this will put a strain on some households. I have pledge my continued diligence to be fiscally responsible and maintaining our current trend of not raising property taxes and holding our spending increases under 2 percent so the city will not add any burden to its taxpayers.
What differences separate you from your opponent? The biggest differences between my opponent and myself are consistency and fortitude. I have had an opportunity to be tested in this realm and I have stayed true to my values and convictions on servant leadership and limited, responsible government. My time in the Marine Corps taught me honor, courage and commitment, three values that I apply while on the council. I have been honest and upfront no matter who my audience and have served all citizens regardless of political beliefs. Another difference is I truly believe in fiscal conservatism when budgeting. My opponent does not and instead touts a notion of being “fiscally informative.” I do not agree with simply informing citizens of how the city will spend their money, I pledge to be wise with it. Lastly, I am a five-star candidate as rated by We Believe We Vote. My opponent received a zero.
Website? Calebcollier.com, Facebook at Retain Councilman Caleb Collier.
Family/How long living in Spokane Valley? Our first family home after my father’s military retirement was in the Valley and I have lived in Spokane Valley for over 26 years. My husband was born and raised here as well. We have been married for eight wonderful years and have two dogs together. We bought our first house together in the Valley almost 10 years ago and can’t wait to start a family in it. We both grew up here and want to raise our children here because the Valley is our home.
I played Varsity sports at Horizon Junior High and Central Valley High School. During my summers, while out of school, I participated in select ASA Softball under Spokane coaching legend Fuzzy Buckenberger.
I attended Spokane Community College where I started my political ambitions as the elected Vice President of my Student Government and President of Phi Theta Kappa. I experienced travelling to Olympia, interacting with some legislators, and testified on behalf of my fellow students and our increasing Student Activity Fees.
I have been active in my community by participation on the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council, building relationships with our local law enforcement and probation departments, and worked part-time with a local union for a work study position while attending college. I earned an academic scholarship and obtained a B.A. degree in criminal justice and Sociology from Gonzaga University. I applied these skills as a 911 Operator and currently sit on the Spokane County Sheriff Citizen’s Advisory Board.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? Since my first involvement with student government at Spokane Community College and involvement with campus and club activities at Gonzaga, I have always been passionate about my community and being a problem solver. My father has always told me if I had any issues surrounding a problem, I should be prepared to step-up and be a part of the solution. I saw my community as needing some positive leadership and felt compelled to run for office. I was approached by several acquaintances that convinced me I had the skills to undertake public office. During this consideration time our Valley council had just fired a city manager, together with talk of dividing our State in half, starting a new police department, and making our community a Second Amendment sanctuary city. I felt these issues wasted our precious resources, time, and taxpayer’s money. Along with this I felt our sitting council was not transparent and pushed many agenda items through without educating the public. I wanted to change that dynamic.
What are your goals for the Spokane Valley City Council? My passion is public safety but, there are many other issues facing our community. Additional goals would also include Community Development and Community Engagement. Our present contract with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is a bargain for our hard earned dollars and we should recognize the hard job our officers do to keep our valley and its citizens safe and secure. I feel we can explore collaboratively best practices to enhance our current contract.
Our men and women in law enforcement need to know we support them and will partner with them to make our community streets and neighborhoods safer. Using a retail improvement strategy we can implement ways to attract businesses and facilitate growth in the city.
Retaining local dollars and attracting spending from outside our city limits can be realized in a robust recreation and tourism program. Along with this I also support the concept of a community center and marketplace across from the newly constructed City Hall. I promise to be transparent, educate our community, and to not spend a nickel of taxpayer dollars without their knowledge and consent. I promise to partner with our educational administrators to explore programming and resources that will give our children the ability to flourish in this environment.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? Presently the biggest challenge and issue facing our city is our own council members. There is an inordinate amount of time, money, and resources advancing agenda items that are not Valley specific but more so address party ideologies rather than addressing issues that affect the Valley.
Citizens must become more educated on these issues and hold council members accountable and focused on Valley projects. Other issues such as an increase in utility taxes, property taxes, snow removal ordinances, road maintenance and preservation, are among a growing list of concerns. Budget challenges are on the horizon in reference to several grade separations and road projects around the valley. We must put our community partnerships at the center of our work.
We share responsibility with our partners – Citizens, business owners, the private sector, government entities, employees, faith groups and community and civil society organizations – toward the goal of achieving a vibrant, healthy and safe community. We must stay focused on this vision and not get side-tracked with “pet projects” that are a waste of time, money, and resources. We know the potential for sustainability, innovation, and prosperity is much greater with the support and collaboration of our partners.
I will be committed to full transparency, budget sharing, and engagement with our community, which leads to the realization of our collective goals and dreams.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? One of the biggest things I have heard while out doorbelling is the transparency of our current council and how they use time, money, and resources on state issues or party ideologies, rather than our local impending issues. Some surprising issues to them include a proposed parental rights ordinance, creation of a Second Amendment sanctuary city, deregulation of cab companies, and the 51st state legislation. Different neighborhoods have different concerns and needs. Many are concerned with the Painted Hills project and what this might look like in terms of neighborhood integrity.
Grade separation and capital projects at several main roads throughout the Valley are a concern and how these projects will be funded. Transparency on our existing council is a recurring theme in all neighborhoods and many are becoming more interested in our present City government. Snow removal and funding of a new Library continually come up from house to house. Road preservation is always a common concern of residents and expressions to not end up like the city of Spokane with endless potholes. As I go door to door what is most important is to be honest. The key here is to be transparent with the community, tell them the truth, and educate them. They appreciate that candidates take the time to come to their doorsteps and engage with them. It is important to tell them where and how their money is being spent.
This is what I coin as being “fiscally informative!”
What differences separate you from your opponents? I have the experience as shown by my diverse background, community involvement, and leadership in various organizations to collaboratively bring a community together. My opponent advocates for his party ideologies. Through my various leadership roles I invited stakeholders from the various groups to participate in planning, creating, and implementing goals for our various organizations.
My opponent gathers those that share his belief in strict constitutionalism. Public safety accounts for the largest part of our budget. I have a criminal justice and sociology degree from one of the best colleges in the country. I have worked with our present city chief of police, the sheriff and SCOPE personnel.
These experiences place me well beyond my opponent and gives me insights to make suggestions to fellow council members to give our citizens the best bang for their buck during evaluation periods. I am committed, and have the courage to make decisions and take actions that benefit our future. My opponent’s goal is to cater to his party base and wastes taxpayers money, time and resources. Because of my experience with governance and community involvement, I have observed more positive solutions achieved when diverse voices were present. To not have the different styles and voices represented on our Council does a disservice to the Spokane Valley. I am committed to “Representing the community…not a party!”