4 for 4: Getting to know Spokane City Council candidate Andy Rathbun

4 for 4: Getting to know Spokane City Council candidate Andy Rathbun
Andy Rathbun is a candidate for Spokane City Council in District 3. 

Andy Rathbun is a candidate for Spokane City Council in district 3.

Rathbun is a recently retired veteran. He served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and Washington Air National Guard Drug Task Force. He spent 30 years serving as a Navigator and Mission Commander at Fairchild Air Force Base.

Rathbun earned a physical science degree Washington State University and also attended Kansas State University.

Rathbun answered the following four questions for 4 News Now.

What is the biggest issue currently facing Spokane?

I’m running because for the past 8 years our City Council has been defined by personal politics, political ambition and vanity legislation that has little to do with our daily lives. The current Council is playing the blame-game, and one of the most frustrating outcomes is that the most vulnerable among us are currently being literally left out in the cold.

After 30 years in the U.S. Air Force and WA Air National Guard, I remain committed to the core belief, “Service Above Self.” The primary election proved that voters want a new team of citizen-servants that come from problem-solving backgrounds. I am excited about our future as part of a forward-functioning team that is dedicated to serving our citizens, not ourselves.

How should the city approach the homeless crisis?

The most responsible approach is to get personal politics out of the policy-making process. Plausible solutions have fallen prey to politics. The current council is entering their second season without a plan in place. Their blame-game doesn’t warm cold bodies and feel hungry bellies. Our new team is dedicated to doing better.

As a veteran, I have tremendous compassion for fellow soldiers that struggle to re-enter civilian life. Not all wounds are on the surface. All people must be treated as fellow human beings with innate worth, unique gifts, and in a dignified manner. At some point in our lives, we have all received a helping hand. And, all of us need to be accountable to the full extent of our capabilities.

I am committed to fostering an increasingly coordinated and cooperative response involving health professionals, law-enforcement, housing providers, skills-training and job referral services, business owners, and all those who stand ready to help. We have qualified, smart, and dedicated professionals among us.

What are the potential opportunities of Spokane’s growth? What challenges need to be addressed?

Growth is a given. Our opportunity is for Spokane to continue to grow as one of America’s most vibrant major mid-sized cities. The opportunity cost of not getting back on track and planning for future growth is too high.

We need to build homes (which creates jobs) at all market levels, allowing homeowners to size up and size down. We also need affordable rentals.

One example of exciting opportunity involves our university district, which brings about many opportunities for research and development startup and established innovation companies, especially in the area of medicine. This is why we must have a Mayor, Council, County and all stakeholders and policy-makers operating as an economic region.

The regional focus will be best bolstered as we approach the completion of the North Spokane Corridor. The completion of the corridor project will reduce cross-town traffic and the wear and tear of heavy freight vehicles on our city streets. I believe “road diets” can be myopic, when we have a regional infrastructure to plan.

What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?

My wife, Melody and I raised three wonderful girls in our West Central neighborhood. We are fortunate that I was stationed at Fairchild AFB for my entire 30 year career. This allowed our girls to attend the same public schools from pre-school to high school. They now are wonderful women, wives, Moms, and professionals living here in Spokane. Our “girls” are not an “accomplishment” of mine, but they make me and Melody very proud.