Spokane mayoral candidates debate union support

“Bought and paid for” has become a common phrase in Spokane’s race for mayor, but now it’s union support that had one side calling out the other.

In a televised debate Tuesday night, Nadine Woodward used some of her time to call out her opponent, Ben Stuckart, for the amount of union support he has.

“If you look at his top 45 contributors on his Public Disclosure Commission, outside of his family, 30 percent is special interests, unions and people outside the state of Washington,” Woodward said.

4 News Now checked the numbers to see if that was completely accurate.

We found that only one top 45 contribution came from out of state — a personal donation from Minnesota.

Woodward is correct in terms of how much union support Stuckart has.

About 32 percent of his top 45 contributions come from special interest and union groups.

“So he can say I’m bought and paid for by the developers, or the ads can, simply not true — he’s bought and paid for by the unions,” said Woodward.

Stuckart was quick to respond about unions.

“They represent the workers, and I’m proud to have the largest union in the city ask me to support because that represents a thousand employees,” Stuckart said. “We need to improve the environment for our employees.”

Nine of those contributions came from the west side of the state, along with one from Colbert and three from Spokane.

Among those in Spokane — The Firefighters Union PAC, the Regional Labor Council, and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

But regardless of where they come from, Stuckart says they’re important to have.

“An employee contacted me from the Solid Waste Department, and they are understaffed right now,” Stuckart said. “We hired more waste collectors two years ago, and they never got hired. They’re hurting out there and I’m proud to have their support, because we need to take care of our employees.”