This week we’re profiling candidates for Spokane City Council’s South City Council District. Today, we’re introducing incumbent for District 2, Betsy Wilkerson.
Wilkerson has been a Spokane City Council member since she was appointed in late 2019. She also owns an assisted living facility and is the president of the board for the Carl Maxey Center.
If voters retain her, she said she plans to keep advocating for a collaborative, and inclusive city leadership, and seeking insight from under-represented community members.
“In this last year amidst everything else, some healthy relationships and understanding, bridges, have been built to take Spokane forward. Being part of that, I want to continue to stay in that space and continue to elevate the voices that have not been heard, and to represent the people with a new idea and way of working together and thinking.”
Wilkerson also called for the community needs to look at homelessness in a more nuanced way, saying shelters can’t be concentrated downtown, and aid programs need to be catered to the different types of needs.
“Really, we have to unwind this conversation and really address this in the areas that need addressing – youth homelessness, families that are unhoused, the mentally ill, and there is a segment of folks who just want to be on the street. And you know what, we’re going to have to accept that, because we cannot criminalize them, and we cannot lock them up for a choice that they make, but we can strengthen everything else around it, to make it better for the people of Spokane.”
If retained, she said she also hopes to focus on both affordable housing, and policing. Saying more mental health resources, and transparent conversations between police, the city council and community are needed. She also called for an examination of the city’s policy to ensure there are pathways for infill development.
Wilkerson is running for a seat in Spokane City Council District 2, which includes East Central, the South Hill and downtown Spokane. She is running against Tyler LeMasters, a real estate agent and former staffer to Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Stories with both candidates are airing this week and full interviews with each will be posted online at spokanepublicradio.org.