SPOKANE, Wash - A political group and Planned Parenthood are demanding an apology from Spokane mayoral candidate Nadine Woodward over statements she made regarding the Border Patrol's work in Spokane.
Fuse Washington sent out a news release Monday that accuses Woodward of misleading voters on the Border Patrol's arrests and work at Spokane's bus and train station. According to Fuse, a progressive organization, Woodward changes her stance on the issue depending on which group she is addressing. They point to an article in the Black Lens newspaper in which Fuse says Woodward implies it's a federal issue, not something that is under Spokane's jurisdiction.
At issue is the Border Patrol's access to the intermodal center without a federal or judicial warrant. Critics say agents use fear and racial profiling.
Fuse says Woodward told a different story when speaking to a Spokane Rotary group. Fuse included a clip from a July Rotary event in which Woodward said, "I've met with Border Patrol. I've seen what they do. And I support the laws that protect and keep our community safe. I think they're doing an incredible service at the Intermodal station. When you see the arrests they're making with the illegals and especially in the drug trade. We have to stop that. It's not going to be easy."
She goes on to say, "Illegals or anybody trying to transport drugs in our area come from Mexico, goes to Yakima, then goes to Seattle-Spokane."
4 News Now asked Fuse how they obtained the recording. A spokesperson said someone at the event recorded it and shared it with them. Fuse only shared one minute and 15 seconds of audio. It's not clear what else Woodward said in that speech on this topic or others.
Planned Parenthood of the Greater Washington and North Idaho also issued a statement, calling on Woodward to apologize.
"No human being is illegal," said Lili Navarrette, Director of Public Affairs and Raiz. "As an immigrant, Nadine Woodward's comments are demeaning to my community and she owes us an apology."
"We all deserve to feel safe and travel in our communities without fear of interrogation or harassment and demand that Woodward apologize for the remarks."
Woodward was at 4 News Now this afternoon for a pre-scheduled taping of an interview for kxly.com. When we asked her about the issue, she said she didn't know anything about it. Several hours later, we received a statement from the Woodward campaign.
"I am adamantly opposed to racial profiling of any kind, period," Woodward said. "I support laws that protect our community and I support law enforcement in helping them do their job. We are a regional hub that is within 100 miles of an international border and Federal Law [sic] supersedes any state or local statutes. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act 287(a)(3), federal agents may, within a reasonable distance, board and search any vessel. A reasonable distance is stated to be within 100 miles of an international border. Also, regardless of any personal belief I may have about this important issue, it is not under City of Spokane jurisdiction but is instead guided by Federal statutes. This question is better suited for Spokane's U.S. congressional delegation."
"The need for increased public safety and trust has been the foundation of my campaign and I have relayed a consistent message from the beginning. We are a community who embraces those who want to come here legally and we have numerous resources to support them. As mayor I will work to make sure Spokane is welcoming to all who want to move here. The fact that Spokane media is trying to distract voters and make something out of a Federal Law [sic] is pathetic."
Mayoral candidate Ben Stuckart released the following statement:
"A mayor doesn't get to ignore the City Charter and pick the laws he or she is going to enforce. The specific law she campaigns on not enforcing is based on best practice and recommendations from the Washington State Attorney General's Office to protect residents of Washington from unreasonable search and seizure. I take my oath to the Spokane City Charter, the U.S. Constitution and its Forth Amendment seriously, and I do not find Spokane journalists "pathetic" for asking if Nadine Woodward is willing to take her oath, if elected, just as seriously."