Spokane mayoral candidates talk climate change, economic development in forum

The Spokane general election is just over a month away, and ballots are going out in three weeks – that makes the Spokane Candidate Forum on Tuesday that much more important.

Many issues in the mayoral race have been rightfully overshadowed by issues like homelessness and public safety.

On Tuesday, however, mayoral candidates Nadine Woodward and Ben Stuckart shared their views in two forums, one of which touched on jobs and economic development.

“We also need to invest in our small business centers, make those walkable because we’ve seen that that actually helps the small businessperson in those districts,” said candidate Ben Stuckart. “I think that in the long term, we need to attract more aerospace in the West Plains, medical technology in the University District, and manufacturing in northeast Spokane.”

“I have a vision… an economic development vision along the I-90 corridor, and that is to work collaboratively with our regional neighbors, from Cheney all the way to Coeur d’Alene, and attract businesses and better-paying jobs.”

The other forum addressed climate change, and led to a much more heated exchange in the forum hall.

After Friday’s climate change protests, there was an allegation that Woodward said climate change was a national issue more than a local issue. The comment had since been redacted from the article it came from, but Stuckart brought it up regardless.

“The ‘100-percent sustainable energy’ ordinance that Ben passed is completely unrealistic,” said Woodward. “I think we do want to be sustainable, but those types of measures have to be realistic. One survey indicated that it would cost each household thousands of dollars every year to be 100-percent sustainable.”

“Well I am surprised by my opponents answer,” Stuckart responded, “because on Friday, on KREM, she stated that climate change wasn’t a local issue – so I’m glad to hear her change her mind.”

“I didn’t say that,” Woodward replied.

Stuckart went on to say that Avista is on-track to meet the goals put in place under the Sustainable Energy Ordinance, alleging that “they are completely doable.”

The forum wrapped up at 7 p.m. There will be more details to follow.