Former Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin was chosen Monday to replace Todd Mielke on the Spokane County Board of Commissioners.
Earlier this month, the Spokane County Republican Party picked her as the top
candidate out of three to fill the seat. State legislative aide Josh Kerns and former state Sen. Jeff Baxter were the other two. Mielke vacated the seat for a job as Greater Spokane Inc. chief executive officer on Feb. 1.
Commissioners Al French and Shelly O'Quinn interviewed all three candidates Monday starting with McLaughlin at 8 a.m., and she was chosen hours later. McLaughlin said she's "thrilled" to be on the Board of Commissioners, and she credited her past experience with local government in putting her in this position.
For the Spokane County Republican Party, it was important that Mielke's replacement would be able to win the seat in the November general election. McLaughlin told the Inlander
in January that she had doubts about "a possible 10 months of drama" before ultimately deciding to throw in her name.
"I just was wanting to make sure that if I was going to be in, that I was all in," she says.
French, who was once McLaughlin's ally on Spokane City Council, likes her chances to win the seat. He pointed out that of all three candidates she is the only one that has won two elections.
McLaughlin said she is looking forward to working with both French and O'Quinn. A priority of hers, she said, is to grow the sales-tax base.
"I am really big on, let's continue to have a positive economic development climate," she says. "Because if we don't want to raise taxes on our citizens, we have to grow the tax base."
French said he chose McLaughlin because she was the first choice of the Spokane GOP. The commissioners had until April 1 to decide on a candidate, otherwise Gov. Jay Inslee would appoint Mielke's replacement. French says all three candidates were excellent, and he would have been proud to serve with any of them.
"For that, I'm happy I was number one on the list," McLaughlin said.