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Meet The Three Candidates for Spokane Mayor

David Condon

Three people are facing off in Spokane to become the next mayor. Incumbent David Condon is seeking to be the first mayor re-elected in Spokane in 40 years. His challengers, SharLichty and Mike Noder, bring unique policy ideas and vastly different political backgrounds to the race. 

Over the past four years, David Condon has made this his brand as mayor: building the city of choice, and making Spokane safer, smarter, and stronger. Those remain his campaign priorities heading into the election.

Condon: “Last year we launched vision 20/20 which is really a strategic vision for our community to become the safest city of our size, to continue to become stronger, both financially and in infrastructure. And also looking at smarter ways of doing government, in particular I just got home from Washington DC and the visit to the White House in how we are reengineering our police department.”

Reengineering which was prompted, in part, by the volunteer Use of Force Commission report, a department of justice review, and by hiring a new police chief two years ago. Condon has found some successes, a prominent example being the initiative to clean up the Spokane River by building combined-sewer overflow tanks. That federal mandate has prompted another Condon administration phrase.

Condon: “Our 'cleaner river faster' initiative, and meeting all of the federal requirements, in many cases ahead of schedule. And we reduced the cost by roughly $150 million to our ratepayers.”

The incumbent mayor has faced challenges too. Memorably, he received backlash from city council when he proposed multi-thousand dollar raises for himself and other top staff. Now, the mayor’s salary will likely be decided by a salary review board in the future.

Credit Shar Lichty for Mayor
Shar Lichty

Another topic strikes the nerve of one of his opponents. SharLichty is among citizens who say the mayor never truly implemented the voter-approved Prop 1. It amended the city charter to give the police ombudsman independent investigative power. Lichty says that’s one thing she would implement fully if elected.

Lichty: “When you have 69% of the voters approving a proposition which changes the city charter, you can’t ignore that voice in negotiations. It becomes a little bit slippery with collective bargaining rights, which I fully support, but that voice needs to be brought to the table and Condon failed to do that under his leadership and his administration.”

Lichty is a community organizer for the Peace And Justice Action League. She lists her top priorities under two headings: public safety and economic development.

Lichty: “We’ll continue with neighborhood revitalization projects that have been successful, that model, continue that kind of work. Building a dense urban core. Supporting local small business in a manner that they can thrive here locally. Specifically under public safety, fully funding our police and fire departments so we’re adequately staffed, adequately trained.”

Mike Noder
Credit Campaign
Candidate Mike Noder

Lichty has a more progressive mindset, and following, than Condon, who previously worked for Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Lichty’s also more left-leaning than their other opponent, Mike Noder.

Noder operates a medical treatments company. He has run for mayor twice before and wants to lower the cost of government, among other things.

Noder: “Public safety has to be a priority of any elected official, so it has to be mine as well. It’s not what I relish, it’s not what I really want to do. What I really want to do is work on the value we get out of government, the value we get for our utilities. It’s expensive, we’re not competitive in the region, and I’d like to make us so.”

He says mandates on local businesses make it hard for small players to stay in Spokane, and that suburbs are more competitive in attracting new business. Noder says his third priority is defending local citizens from government directives.

Noder: “There’s a lot of government overreach from the federal and state level, some of our citizens get kicked around a lot, and I think our elected officials forget it’s our duty to defend the citizens first and not always enable government.”

Noder is focused on public safety, reducing government involvement on business and citizens. Lichty prioritizes public safety, economic development, and stronger policoversite. And, Condon’s focus in on a safer, smarter, stronger city.

The fundraising is off balance for this race. Condon has the largest campaign chest of any candidate in the state with almost $300,000. Lichty’s grassroots campaign has raised $9,000, and Noder refuses contributions because he doesn’t want money involved in politics. (Numbers as of 7/24/15)

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

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