Spokane’s new mayor explains plan to follow through on campaign promises

SPOKANE, Wash. — “New decade, new administration.”

Spokane’s newly elected mayor took office Thursday and said she plans to hit the ground running.

“I had my first cabinet meeting this morning and we’ve got a lot to do,” Nadine Woodward said Thursday in an interview with 920 News Now radio.

Woodward said the weeks since her election have been productive.

“We actually were able to accomplish quite a bit in the transition, which was about five or six weeks long. We have a new city manager, and I’ve been able to meet with all of the cabinet members who are on board now and look forward to their confirmation.”

Woodward said she is looking forward to her new hires as well as several acting department heads to be confirmed at the next city council meeting on January 6.

But there is still plenty of work to be done in order to move forward with a full staff. Woodward said hiring, in fact, is her number one priority.

When asked what’s on the top of her to-do list now that she’s taken office, Woodward said “hiring for sure. There are a lot of [positions to fill].”

Following through on promises made

“During my campaign my number one promise, my priority and the first thing I wanted to do was to get a police precinct back located into the core of downtown.”

Mayor Woodward said during the transition period, her team was able to get that plan started with the police department and the Downtown Spokane Partnership.

Woodward said they toured “a number of possible locations” and even decided on one. “Right now we’re working with the property manager and the police department to see if we can retrofit it to the needs of our officers.”

Woodward said she did not have anything official to announce about the precinct location “quite yet,” but would be working to very hard to get plans finalized as soon as possible.

Another one of candidate Woodward’s biggest talking points on the campaign trail was addressing homelessness in Spokane. Woodward championed giving “a hand up, not a hand out” to those experiencing homelessness and finding ‘Spokane solutions’ for the problem.

In order to begin finding those, Woodward said she plans on forming task forces on housing and on homelessness.

“I want all the stake holders to have a seat at the table, so they can start moving the needle on [homelessness]. And then on economic development as well.”

Relationship with the council

In recent years Woodward’s predecessor has had an increasingly strained relationship with Spokane’s city council.

Council members and Mayor David Condon have repeatedly spared on issues like Border Patrol operating on Greyhound buses at the city’s Intermodal Center and most recently council members’ decision to officially declare their positions a full-time commitment.

When asked about her own relationship with the council, Woodward said her administration would be “a new start.”

Woodward said she’s already met with newly elected Council President Breean Beggs and passed on a message to the council that she doesn’t ‘bring any political baggage.’

“I wanted to reopen the lines of communication and really hit the reset button on all of this.”

Woodward said she felt council members were also looking forward to a new relationship with the mayor’s office.

Beggs said Thursday the new leadership is a welcome change at City Hall.

“There’s enough challenges in the city without having to be arguing across the hall,” said Beggs. “I’m really looking forward to that new tone so that we can put our energy into the real problems instead of personal disputes.”

Councilwoman Lori Kinnear told 4 News Now the new mayor has been open to advice and feedback over the transition to her new role.

“I think, always when you have an unknown, it’s going to be a concern but right now I’m hopeful and optimistic,” Kinnear said. “We’re not going to agree on everything, but 95% of the things we do, we will agree on.”

Woodward sees herself and the council having a “a positive working relationship” moving forward. “Because we have to do what’s best for the city, what’s best for constituents, taxpayers, people who live here, people who expect us to get along and do the city’s work.”

The new mayor said she plans on going to the very first city council meeting and as many council meetings as possible after that.

“That’s something that we haven’t seen in the past,” she said. “We need to work together to do the city’s work.”