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Spokane County City of SPOKANE Council District 3 Position 1

The City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.

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  • Candidate picture

    Andy Rathbun

  • Candidate picture

    Karen J. Stratton

Biographical Information

What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position?

How would you describe your vision for your city?

What are the obstacles in the path of achieving your vision?

What do you think is your city/town’s role in dealing with issues surrounding the environment?

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastructure?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

How would you propose the council communicate with the citizens of your city or town?

Phone (509) 279-3470
YouTube Video
Town where you live Spokane, WA
Experience (300 characters max) I served on the West Central Neighborhood Council as Chair and Vice-chair for 20 years. As neighbors, we formed the COPS program, in response to the abduction of two little local girls. I also volunteered for over 20 years as Vice Pres. with the W. Central Community Center Board of Directors.
My wife, Melody and I live in the W. Central neighborhood where we raised three daughters. We just welcomed our third grandchild into the world. We own and operate long-term rental and Airbnb properties. We love providing housing for our neighbors and guests that visit our beautiful city.

I moved to WA state in ‘75 when Dad, a nuclear engineer, accepted a position at the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Hanford Site. I graduated from Richland High School. After four years at WSU, I received a degree in physical sciences from Kansas State University in ‘87. I served in the R.O.T.C. program throughout college and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the US Air Force upon graduation.

Based at Fairchild AFB, I flew for more than nine years of active duty on KC-135 Stratotankers, later switching to the smaller RC-26 aircraft with the 141st Operations Group of the WA Air Nat’l Guard Counter Drug Task Force. Over three decades, I logged more than 10k hours of flight time. I retired as a Lt. Colonel.
As I mentioned in my qualifications, the abduction and loss of two little girls in my neighborhood caused me to get more involved and help organize our community, ultimately forming the C.O.P.S. West program (Community Oriented Policing). I’m working for a safety-first City.

All issues begin with safety. From the ability to enjoy the beauty and community of our parks, to driving on our roads; for our children on the way to, while in, and on the way home from our schools; the safety of our seniors who are living wonderfully active lives; before I vote on items, I will ask myself, “Is this making our citizens safer?” Too many among us believe that the future isn’t what it used to be. I hope you and I agree that together we can get right back on track.
Unfortunately, Spokane politics has become increasingly personal. Ambition and the entitlement of political “legacy” families have put politics ahead of people. Too many at city hall are busy chasing headlines, and not making headway. One only need to google the words “Spokane City Council” and “bullying” to find the difference between campaign year claims of cooperation and the reality of how they act on the job.

We can do better. This infighting has caused our current council to show up a day late and a dollar short on too many critical issues, including warming shelters that were not addressed until the middle of last winter and the current confusion over our emergency communications system. We must do better.

And, we will … together!
Combating climate change is a responsible activity. The great news is that many green projects can save us millions in tax-payer dollars. From the planting of trees that help us with storm water runoff mitigation to working with our colleges and universities to create next-generation fuel cells, this is an exciting time to actualize the think globally, act locally motto. Reduce, reuse, recycle and re-purpose should continue to be as important to our city department heads as they are to you and me in our homes.
Back to my theme, safe streets are priority one when it comes to daily drivers. At the core of a city’s responsibilities are also water/sewer, technology, and power. We are blessed in the Spokane region with abundant natural resources. However, like any mid-sized American city, we are experiencing growing pains and the need to fix outdated, even dangerous infrastructure. There are many jobs that will need to be filled as we repair old infrastructure and lead the way as a smart-grid city. Let's get to work!

There has been too much personal politics and finger pointing between our current city council, the administration and our county. Now is the time to give those of us a chance to lead, who have decades of success in service to our country and our neighborhoods, as we are ready to let go of the politics of the past.
There are exciting programs in our region that involve responses in a multi-agency manner. Allied medical professionals, housing providers, law-enforcement and other front-line responders are working together to assess situations on the spot and refer to the most appropriate services. Elected officials need to monitor progress in this approach, but more importantly, we need to stop using the homeless as a political football. Let’s work together in a way that respects everyone.

As a veteran, few situations tug at my heart more than those who served us struggle as they reenter civilian life, and some end up on our streets. Head wounds, PTSD, and substance abuse are just a few medical conditions that require treatment. We can’t and shouldn’t throw people in jail that are down on their luck. We need a swift response to actual criminal activity that is occurring on our streets, to our property, and hindering business. A smart justice approach reserves incarceration for hardened criminals.
This is a federal issue. I believe that our local law-enforcement and municipal civil servants should be free from taking on activities that are outside of their purview, adding to their already maxed workloads.
I enjoy knocking on doors and as of July 10, I have visited 2,000 homes. As your council member, I believe it is my responsibility to come to you. I look forward to implementing my plan to conduct frequent “council on the corner” meetings, where we can meet and talk about your hopes, fears, ideas and aspirations for our city. Most of the great ideas in our city, our nation, even our world have come from asking each other not “why,” but “why not?”
Phone (509) 869-4293
Town where you live Spokane
Experience (300 characters max) City of Spokane employee from 2005- 2014 Served in the Office of the Mayor under Mayor Jim West and Mayor Mary Verner Appointed to City Council in 2014 Elected to City Council, term 2015-2019 Numerous community boards and commissions
Born and raised here, I have a unique historical perspective of Spokane, based on years of activity in the community --- campaigning for and supporting my father, Allen Stratton and my mother, Lois Stratton who served this community and the state for many years as elected officials. The importance of community and citizen involvement was instilled in me at an early age and serving the community has been a way of life for as long as I can remember. My past professional experiences include:

• Legislative Aide in the Washington State House of Representatives. • Director of Student Services, WSU-Spokane. • Program Coordinator, Community Colleges of Spokane Training and Education Coordinating Center. • Executive Assistant to Mayors Jim West and Mary Verner. • Public Information Coordinator, Spokane Regional Solid Waste System. • Clerk, Office of the City Clerk for the City of Spokane.

I have also served on numerous community boards and commissions.
I want Spokane to continue to be a vibrant and welcoming community that provides family-wage jobs, affordable housing options, excellent educational opportunities and healthy, safe neighborhoods. I want a City that is more welcoming of diversity, supports the arts and protects the environment. I envision a community with a strong and healthy business environment and local leaders that listen and support the work of non-profit organizations, neighborhood councils, business and industry, outdoor enthusiasts, etc. Finally, we need to listen more to our youth and the disenfranchised.
While I believe the City of Spokane is on the right path, I do believe we need more citizen participation to help improve our neighborhoods and our overall quality of life. The voices of our constituents need to be heard at every level of government. Citizens should feel comfortable in City Hall, talking with their elected representatives.

I also believe that community members and political and business leaders need to set aside political differences and do whats right for our City. Too many times, political stripes and egos get in the way of doing the right thing.

During my last 4-years in office, I believe the City Council has made many good strides in protecting our natural environment and educating citizens regarding climate change including: • Resurrecting the 2009 Sustainability Action Plan and established a community advisory committee to make recommendations and establish priorities. • Creating legislation to grow Spokane's urban tree canopy by 30% by 2030, especially in many of the city's poorest and most sparsely planted neighborhoods. • Supporting initiatives that provide options for transportation – walk, bike, bus. • Supporting legislation challenging the City to receive all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. • Supporting efforts to clean up the Spokane River via CSO tanks. • Partnering with the Spokane Regional Health District to educate citizens on the health hazards of wild fires and other environmental health hazards. I supported these efforts.
While we made headway and have good plans to repair arterial streets, we need to devote more resources for residential streets, sidewalks and alleys. We need to be creative in assisting homeowners in upgrading and maintaining their sidewalks and alleys. The City found ways to combine sewer/water repairs with beautification and traffic calming programs on Monroe and Sprague. This kind of integrated capital program works well - and produces great results -- when their is good citizen input early and often.
This is a very complicated issue --- one that the City of Spokane cannot solve alone. We need to continue to create partnerships with other organizations including our health care community, higher education institutions, mental health providers, housing providers and drug and alcohol addiction services. The City Council just approved the purchase of a large facility to support a 24/7 emergency shelter, and that will eventually include wrap-around resources, job training services, medical and dental treatment,etc. We need to utilize students from our universities to provide some of these services and faculty to do research and grant writing to help fund programs. With this, we need to create a process to track those receiving services and program success rates.
I believe we have taken the best approach. First, Council passed an ordinance (at the request of the Police Chief), affirming policies already in place in the police department -- that no Spokane City officer or employee shall inquire into the immigration status of any person, or engage in activities designed to ascertain the immigration status of any person. However, if an individual has committed a crime or has an outstanding warrant and is here illegally, police officers can alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement for follow up. Next, City Council restricted Border Patrol agents access to nonpublic city property without a criminal warrant unless officers obtain the Mayor's permission. This was in response to unreasonable searches and seizures by Border Patrol agents at the Intermodel Center, Spokane's bus and train station. The Executive Branch has chosen not to implement by this legislation.
All City Council Briefing Sessions and Council meetings are televised, along with other board and committee hearings. Four times a year, City Council meetings are held outside City Hall - in different neighborhoods. For the last four years, I have conducted mobile offices in my district, utilizing libraries, senior centers, coffee shops, and restaurants. These meetings are a great tool for meeting people where they live at the places they visit. It is convenient for citizens and educational and informative for me. I believe the key to citizen involvement is demonstrating to citizens that their elected leaders are not "siloed" in City Hall, but are accessible, approachable and genuinely interested in what they have to say.