Woodward turns tables, accuses Stuckart of ‘fear mongering’

Woodward turns tables, accuses Stuckart of ‘fear mongering’
Nadine Woodward
Nadine Woodward announced Tuesday she is running for mayor in Spokane. 

Nadine Woodward said she was “really happy,” but not surprised by her success in Tuesday night’s primary election.

Woodward is moving onto the November general election after receiving more than 40% of the primary vote. She’ll face Ben Stuckart, who received nearly 38%.

Over the course of the campaign, Stuckart has accused Woodward of trying to gain voters’ support by relying on fear. In a live interview on Good Morning Northwest Thursday morning, Woodward tried to turn the tables.

“I think he’s accused me of fear mongering,” Woodward told 4 News Now’s Derek Deis. “[But] yesterday on this show I heard him fear mongering.”

Woodward was referencing Stuckart’s comment in a Wednesday morning interview in which he claimed with her as Mayor, Spokane’s homelessness problem would get worse.

“I believe that if my opponent wins, we’re on our way to public camping,” Stuckart said on Good Morning Northwest. “She has said recently that she doesn’t believe we can have more shelters.”

Stuckart said because of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision which requires cities to have adequate shelter space in order to enforce public camping laws, Woodward’s plan would mean “people can publicly camp on your front door, and there’s nothing the police can do about it.”

In response to Stuckart’s comments, Woodward said “if that’s not fear mongering, I don’t know what is.”

Woodward did not argue that she’s against building more shelters. She said she doesn’t feel more shelter space is the right answer. “We have great programs and a compassionate community that wants to help those who want help, but we have to stop enabling those who don’t want help.”

Woodward has based her campaign on finding ‘Spokane Solutions.’ When pressed on what exactly her Spokane Solution for homelessness is, she said the city needs to shift its focus to what she calls empowerment.

“We have hardworking taxpayers, and some of them are barely making ends meet on their own. We have one of the poorest legislative districts in the state. And our taxpayers are funding programs that the city is using to enable people,” she said. “We have to stop doing that. And we have to empower people to get out of their situation.”

Woodward blamed the majority of the city’s homelessness problem on addiction.

“We need to get people help who are addicted. The vast majority of those who are on the streets, in our shelters, and camped along the river, are mentally ill and have addictions. We have to help them in those areas.”

One of the biggest criticisms of Woodward’s mayoral bid has been her lack of government experience. Woodward has never held an elected office, while her opponent is the current city council president.

In Woodward’s view, her non-political background is a strength.

“I don’t come from a place of political experience, I’ve never thought political experience was the best experience. Obviously the voters don’t think so either, that’s why we’re facing so many issues that we have with the experience that we have.”

Instead, the former TV news anchor said her career experience makes her the best candidate.

“I’m a business owner, I’ve been immersed in Spokane issues for 28 years as a broadcast journalist, I love and know this city, and I come from a place of public trust.” she said. “I think that’s what people want, is someone that they can trust to be their next leader.”