Fagan and Ramos Take Differences To City Council Race
An outspoken conservative and a newcomer to politics are facing off in Spokane’s election. Incumbent Mike Fagan and challenger Randy Ramos are running for City Council district one, which represents the city’s east and northeast neighborhoods.
Both will need to recruit more voters to win the general election. Fagan won the primary with almost 50 percent of the vote, and Ramos very, very narrowly defeated the third challenger Ben Krauss. Ramos pulled away with just 30 more votes.
Their skeletons in the closet are about the same size. For one, Mike Fagan is accused of violating city ethics by releasing a classified document to the media this summer. He was also asked to leave the city health board this year because he made public comments against vaccines. But Fagan is still a member, and wants to clarify his stance:
Fagan: “If there is a budget line item that comes before me that is funding vaccinations, I have no problem with that… but what I would do is I would just caution you to make sure that you understand 100% what it is that you’re putting into your body.”
For Ramos’ part, he was cited for in 2009 for driving home drunk from his cousin’s house, and it was later reduced to negligent driving (as part of a plea bargain). In addition, Ramos has a spotty voting record… he didn’t register until the beginning of this year. That’s something he attributes to being a busy dad and not yet understanding the importance.
Ramos: “If you take a look at the voter history our district has one of the lowest turnouts… so to me that shows we need to get out there, we need to start letting people know that, how much their word really means, how much their voice really means. If you want to have a better quality of life… you need to get out there and you need to speak up.”
Both candidates are now speaking up on their policy and issue priorities.
This fall the city council will decide whether to pass a sick leave policy. It would require either all Spokane businesses, or those with more than four employees, to offer paid sick and safe leave to employees.
Ramos says it’s important to pass a sick leave policy.
Ramos: “People that are working to take care of their family should not have to sit there and worry about ‘can I take the time off’. As soon as you start working for a company you should be able to start earning sick time.”
Mike Fagan wouldn’t give his opinion, but instead turned attention to how the council is studying the topic. He’s critical of a council study on what other regional cities do.
Fagan: “Well, why didn’t we start with the current policies being surveyed by our local businesses first. It is my understanding that 60% of the businesses in the city of Spokane do have some type of a paid time off program or paid sick leave program, that means 40% reportedly do not. “
On another topic, STA’s failed tax increase for transit, Fagan says we don’t need the proposed electric trolley, and adds the criticism that current busses don’t meet federal axel rod restrictions. But Fagan says he could support funding more bus routes.
Ramos supports STA’s plans for more transit options, and says organizers need to take a second look at the measure and make it stronger for a future ballot.
Both candidates are involved in the community, Fagan as a talk-radio host and backer of anti-tax measures in Washington. Ramos is a paid recruiter for the Spokane Tribal College and a member of the Colville Tribes.
Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio