Mayoral candidates talk diversity at school board forum

In a forum on Saturday, Spokane’s mayoral candidates talked about possible solutions to issues faced by diverse communities on a state and local level.

Hosted by Spokane Coalition of Color, the forum included opinions from candidates Ben Stuckart and Nadine Woodward, with school board candidates giving insight as well.

Among the first questions asked was how candidates plan to address structural racism in Spokane government.

According to Stuckart, a city should reflect its people.

“You have to be very deliberate in how you choose leadership so that it’s reflective of what we want as a community and the diversity that we should have,” said Stuckart.

“I really think that it’s important to foster an environment in our city government that is welcoming and that is also very inclusive,” added Woodward.

In order to do that, Woodward says it’s important to hire the most qualified and best person to represent City Hall.

When asked if they planned to open an Office of Civil Rights in Spokane, Woodward said it’s not her main priority, though she does want what’s best for each community member.

Stuckart, on the other hand, says opening a civil rights establishment is one of the platforms he’s been running on.

When it comes to giving the ombudsman position complete oversight of police, Woodward said, “I believe that if somebody has a complaint against police in situations that they have the right to make that complaint and not have restitution against them.”

Woodward went on to say, “I do believe that the ombudsman needs to have limited authority.”

Stuckart says he would like to see the ombudsman as its own separate entity, completely stripped from the Police Guild.

Candidates also answered questions about rental caps, gun violence and more.

The Spokane Coalition of Color will hold another forum on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon for city council candidates.