Spokane, North Idaho Politicians React To Arizona Shootings

SPOKANE - In light of Arizona's deadly shootings which targeted Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, local elected officials are reacting with a mixture of prayers and concerns.

The first to respond were Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. All three sent written statements.

From the office of Senator Murray:

"My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and families affected by this horrific tragedy. All Americans understand that this kind of senseless violence has no place in our society and I join with them in condemning this act and hoping for the very best for all those who are fighting to survive."

Locally, Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan says his thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

?I think it's very sad in this country when we don't have dialog over political divisions, we have people using weapons to make a statement,? Shogan said.

In Post Falls, City Council member Kerri Thoreson took to her Facebook page to express her concerns about the shootings. She uses her Facebook page to connect with her community and worries shootings like the one in Arizona will begin to limit the public's access to politicians.

?It's sad to think that this might be one of the things that changes in the course of time,? Thoreson said.

The tragedy raises many questions for elected officials: Do they feel safe? How do we prevent this from happening in our community?

?The reality is that no matter how great our community is, even in Spokane, Washington, that these things can happen in any community, so I think it's one, making sure people's voices are being heard, two, it's an alertness in the community, and three, it's the reality that our community is not immune,? Spokane Representative Kevin Parker said.

Parker knows better than anyone what happens in a situation like the shooting in Arizona because he's been there. Parker survived the Columbine High School shootings.

?I'm able to relate to it and know what the senseless random shootings feel like and know what it looks like for so many families and friends and people of loved ones that lost their lives and that were injured as well,? Parker said.

Spokane Council member Bob Apple wonders, in light of the Arizona shooter's reported mental illness, if better treatment is needed.

?We need to think that, as a community, think a bout that a little harder on whether or not we're going to supply help when people need it,? Apple said.

For the four elected officials who came forward to talk about the Arizona shootings, their overarching message was the same: Keep political discourse the same and keep access open to the public. Because afterall, they are elected to act as the public's voice.