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Three on Spokane City Council condemn mayor’s association ‘with extremists’

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(The Center Square) – Three members of the Spokane City Council on Friday issued a statement denouncing Mayor Nadine Woodward’s appearance on stage over the weekend at a religious event with two individuals described with the phrases “extremist” and “domestic terrorist.”

Those individuals include former state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, who was expelled from the Republican caucus in December 2019 after an independent investigation found that his role in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge in 2016 amounted to “an act of domestic terrorism against the United States.”

The other individual, Sean Feucht, hosted the “Let Us Worship” event. He is a conservative musician and activist who is perhaps best known for for hosting large, in-person concerts across the country during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to protest restrictions on worship services.

In a news release, Councilmembers Karen Stratton, Betsy Wilkerson and Zach Zappone said they “strongly denounce” the appearance on stage at a religious event over the weekend.

“As Council Members, we have heard the overwhelming concern from community members and faith leaders who view this recent event as an attempt ‘to cloak bigotry in religious language.’ While thousands of people had to evacuate their homes over the weekend due to the numerous wildfires in our region, and while our brave first responders worked tirelessly, Feucht called for a ‘fire that would consume Spokane,'” the release said.

“As member[sic] of the LGTBQ community, I feel the hatred and violence that is being directed towards families like mine. Elected officials must be leaders that make it clear that hatred and extremism have no place in Spokane,” Zappone said.

Councilmember Stratton focused on inclusivity.

“As elected leaders, we pledge to accept and serve all citizens of our community, regardless of race, religion, color, and sexual identity,” she said. “Judging others and promoting fear, hatred, violence, and bigotry is never the answer. We will continue to help make Spokane a better place – where people feel safe, see[sic],and heard.”

Councilmember Wilkerson, who is running for council president this November, called the mayor’s attendance at the event surprising.

“The previous statements of the organizers of the concert against women, Muslims, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are unacceptable and should never be tolerated,” Wilkerson noted. “I take my oath, civic responsibility, and leadership seriously as should all public servants.”

The news release concluded by saying the mayor’s appearance at the event showed “malice, bad judgement[sic], and poor leadership,” before going on to express councilmembers’ collective commitment to the motto “In Spokane, We All Belong.”

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