Family? How long living in Spokane Valley? I have been married to my wife Becky for 45 years, we have three grown children and three grandchildren. I have lived in the Valley since I was 5 years old, minus two years in Pullman to attend and graduate from WSU
Why did you want to file for candidacy? I understand the values and priorities of families in our community. I have also witnessed tremendous change. With my experience with the Spokane County Library District and the Central Valley School District, I have the knowledge and qualifications to manage budgets and listen and work to help resolve issues. Providing essential services such as public safety and maintaining our infrastucture, is a top priority.
What are your goals for the Spokane Valley City Council? There needs to be more transparency in our city government, better communication and input from the citizens, continue to maintain our infrastructure and safety.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? Managing development and maintaining our infrastructure as we continue to grow.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? I am truly amazed how many people are concerned/aware of the homeless situation. This issue needs to be addressed locally and throughout our region. There are also neighborhoods we visited that are very concerned about drugs and the problems that the drug users have created for them.
What differences separate you from your opponents? Not knowing my opponents, I do respect the fact they are running for Spokane Valley City Council and care about our community. I feel I am extremely qualified due to my experience as an educator for 20 years for the Central Valley School District, and 10 Years on the Spokane County library board of trustees, four years as chairman and three years as vice chair. I helped manage multi-million dollar budgets. I am always ready to listen to my constituents and believe in solving an issue before it becomes a problem. Forward thinking is what is needed to move in the right direction, and I would be honored to serve on your Spokane Valley City Council Position 6.
Family/How long living in Spokane Valley? I have a wife of 12 years named Risa, an 8 year old daughter named Arjuna, and a 3-year-old son named Owen. I’ve lived in Spokane Valley since 1994.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? I tell my kids that they can do anything and be anything they put their minds to, but have yet to show them the way. Sure, I donate money to charities and help people where I can, but what have I done to elicit real change? What have I done to show them what it means to try? If I want my children to stand up for what they believe in, I must get more involved in actively doing the same. Many of the issues and injustices I see in the world today cannot be solved through city council; however, if I can make a difference in even one person's life on a small scale, then maybe I can eventually institute change on a larger scale. Ultimately, I want my children and others in this city to see what it means to try, and more importantly, to not give up.
What are your goals for the Spokane Valley City Council? In reviewing the progress of Spokane Valley in terms of economic growth we are in step with the city's 20-year plan. As the economy grows, the population demographics change in coordination with the expansion of that growth It is important that we begin reinvesting in the people. Affordable housing is key. We as city council must work to help decrease poverty levels in step with the expansion of our enterprises, by providing affordable housing accommodations and making it a priority. Homeless populations are key. As the city grows, so too does the homeless population. HUD data shows that the majority of homeless individuals would benefit from assistance programs, or at the very least better community outreach and education programs. We must lead by example and institute more of these types of programs to affect that change. Police response times are key. Crime varies by the area you live, but police response times are wholly insufficient due to limited staffing. Ensuring the police force has adequate funding for this would be essential as well.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? Rapid economic growth has caused a key shift in population resulting in a decrease in families with children, and an increase in the elderly. As a result, it is imperative that we find ways to facilitate more affordable housing to accommodate the shifting population in order to ensure they have the resources necessary to accommodate their healthcare needs and ensure they have adequate income to support their families.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? One that's not surprising, but regularly mentioned is taxes. Nearly every single person I've spoken with is fearful about raising taxes, mostly on the county level, not the city level. While I am not an advocate of raising taxes, or paying more through increased taxes, I feel it is important for people to understand thoroughly where their tax money goes. If they better understood the allocation of resources, they would be better able to empathize with why representatives sometimes increase taxes, or why levies are put in place. That having been said, we need to find better ways to budget our increased revenue in order to compensate for increases in county taxes to ensure our constituent's needs are being met. The number of homeless in the area is another one. With better community outreach programs, we can assist many of them with getting back on their feet. HUD data shows that the majority come from 1 of 4 categories, all of which can be amended through city council having a larger hand in creating community outreach programs.
What differences separate you from your opponents? I'm not special, I'm quite literally just like any one else who votes. I have a wife, two kids, and I work five days a week for 10 hours a day. There was a time I had multiple full time jobs to pay the bills. When I was a kid we fell on hard times, and there was a brief period where we were homeless. My mother worked tirelessly to overcome that hardship. I don't have a ton of money, I'm not wealthy. I haven't gotten any endorsements, I'm not well connected. What I want out of my elected representatives is someone who can empathize with me. Someone who "gets" what it's like to be in my shoes. More so than many candidates out their (locally or nationally), I get it. I know exactly what it's like to be in your shoes. I know what it's like to feel powerless to stop things you wish you could change. To struggle, and rejoice when you overcome that struggle. I just want to have a say, and I want people to recognize that together we are strong. Together we can have a say. Together we can make a difference.
Family/how long in the area? Divorced, currently co-parenting two children ages 11 and 16. I have five other adult children and eight grandchildren. I moved to Spokane Valley in the winter of 1968-69 at the age of 11. Spent 21 years in the Coast Guard after graduating from West Valley, then moved back to the Valley. I have resided in my current home since 2010.
Why did I file for candidacy? I have put my name in for vacant positions on council a couple of times, never having been selected. I can clearly see areas I can lend expert guidance to our city, especially regarding homelessness, affordable housing, and criminal justice. For the past 15 years I have worked with all of the city and town governments as part of my job as a Community Development Specialist for Spokane County. During this tenure, I have observed government at its best and unfortunately, at its worst. The political climate in our nation, state, county, and within this city is extremely divisive right now, more than I ever recall in my life – this has to get better. I can work with all of the people on council to make sound decisions which will benefit all of us who call this city home. I moved here when I was in sixth grade. I now have kids, nephews, nieces, and cousins all raising families of their own here, and I want to help keep Spokane Valley that great place to live, work, and play. I am very blessed to be in a position to give back to my community, without any personal agendas, and with my knowledge and experience, I am the best choice for position 6 on the council.
Goals for the City Council? Most indicators I look at suggest that the city of Spokane Valley is heading in the right direction. We have low unemployment, businesses and sales are doing better than ever, the housing market is booming, and our parks and trails are alive with families, young and old, enjoying the beauty and relative safety which surrounds them. I would like to expand on this growth, ensuring that we grow smart, meaning that our infrastructure, streets, police, businesses, and housing keep up with each other. Having a city-line through Sprague-Appleway corridor could spur additional businesses, such as new restaurants, wine tasting rooms, other tourism destinations while at the same time encouraging the use of public transportation. I am also supportive of the Plantes Ferry Park improvements, which will garner further economic vitality for our hotels, shops and restaurants. Finally, I would like to improve our snow elimination plan, including a remedy to get rid of the snow berms that are being left in front of our driveways in the middle of the nights.
Biggest issue facing the city? The biggest issue in my mind is ensuring that we grow smart. Spokane Valley has added 20,000 people to its population since incorporation. We as a city have to ensure that our roads, infrastructure, parks, public safety, and schools grow and keep up at that same pace. I find it hard to believe we still have a housing shortage with all of the apartments and other dwelling units being built, but that is what the latest data indicates. While many would say that the boom in population is a good thing, it also brings with it increases in crime and homelessness. We need to address and improve those areas that are not keeping up with our growth. I would suggest that public safety is our most needed area of improvement. My sister should be able to feel safe as she takes her grandchildren or dog down the Appleway Trail for a walk, and right now, she doesn’t. This has to improve.
Any surprising issues that people are bringing up on the campaign trail? Surprising issues I hear as I talk to citizens are concerns regarding homelessness and the increases in multi-family complexes. Regarding homelessness, almost every person who I have spoken with wants to quit enabling homeless persons with free housing and different set of standards when it comes to right and wrong. Not one person thinks that Spokane, Portland and Seattle have dealt with homelessness in the correct manner. Regarding the increases in multi-family housing, most citizens acknowledge the shortage of available housing, but would like to see single family units being built in lieu of multi-family units. A lot of citizens blame the perceived increases in property crimes on these two issues.
What are the main differences between you and the other candidates? I am a former Coast Guard officer, having administered multimillion dollar budgets. The manner in which we budgeted and expended money is very similar to how the city currently does this. I served as a department head for most of my highly decorated 21-year career. As I transitioned into my next career, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Whitworth University. During this time, I worked in prison work releases in Spokane, helped open the former Juvenile Offender Boot Camp in Connell, and continued in the criminal justice setting serving as a Victim/Witness Specialist in the Spokane Prosecutor’s Office, working with the Major Crime and Gang Crime teams. I finished my Spokane County career working as a housing and community development specialist for 15 years; developing and administering programs for homeless children, persons exiting incarceration, affordable housing, economic development, and other programs. None of my opponents have the experiences in criminal justice, housing, and community development that I have. I said at a meeting a month ago that I expected this primary race will have a person way over on the left and a person way over on the right, with me on neither extreme. It appears that is going to be the case. A vote for me will lead to a less divisive council which will be able to better focus on municipal issues that will benefit all citizens of Spokane Valley.
Family/How long living in Spokane Valley? Married 28 years/ six children/ ages 12-25/Lived in Spokane Valley 17 years.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? Dena and I chose to move to Spokane Valley in 2002 to raise our family because we felt the Valley was a great community with traditional family values. We have loved living and raising our family here. I want to maintain the strong sense of community that is here so that others who live here can have the same experience.
What are your goals for the Spokane Valley City Council? Create a greater sense of unity for those who lead our city through respect and understanding among City Council members. The Valley has several pressing issues and I want to help shape the community in which I live. My goal is to create respect with those I work with and transparency with those I represent.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? Development of the city and its surrounding areas: Housing, business, and infrastructure. How can the city meet the needs of its residents including the infrastructure so that residents living in the Valley have a strong sense of community?
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? That they feel that the Valley city council is not as welcoming or as transparent as the community would like.
What differences separate you from your opponents? I entered this campaign to work to improve the community in which I live! I am fiscally conservative and I want to maintain the strong sense of community in Spokane Valley. I care about people and their quality of life. Every day I listen to patient’s health concerns and then try to make a difference to improve their quality of life. I have done this as a health care provider in Spokane valley since 1997. I have the desire to now do this for my community.