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A New Challenger 

Nancy McLaughlin eyes the state Senate. Plus, students grounded at SFCC.

click to enlarge Nancy McLaughlin wants state Sen. Lisa Brown\'s job.
  • Nancy McLaughlin wants state Sen. Lisa Brown\'s job.

McLaughlin Takes on Brown

A long-serving Spokane city councilwoman plans to take on a long-serving Spokane senator.

District Three Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin announced Tuesday that she will run against Democratic state Sen. Lisa Brown.

“I’ve been thinking for quite some time knowing that there’s term limits with City Council,” says McLaughlin, whose two terms on the council will end next year. “I’ve loved my time on City Council. [I] wonder if I can take my experience to a higher level, if I can take my experience to the 3rd District.”

McLaughlin says she will run as a Republican against Brown, who is the Senate majority leader. The councilwoman criticized Brown for letting the Legislature’s budget deliberation repeatedly go into a special session.

Brown, who also announced her re-election campaign this week, brushed off McLaughlin’s claims.

“Frankly, it seems like she’s been reading Republican press releases on the budget rather than talking to people in Spokane affected on the budget,” Brown says.

While confident in her work, Brown acknowledges that elections can be unpredictable. “You never take any election for granted. But again, I feel very good about what I’ve been able to do.” (Chris Stein)

Spokane Flight Program Grounded

An aviation program at Spokane Falls Community College that was begun to train local students for careers as pilots and engineers in Washington is drawing to a close. The Community Colleges of Spokane announced in February that the school’s partnership with the University of North Dakota would end on June 30 because of state budget cutbacks.

The decision to eliminate Spokane’s only college flight program leaves 20 to 30 SFCC aviation students without a local option.

“I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, and I didn’t know how to get into aviation, so SFCC was a nice way to get started,” says Arias Auni, an aviation pre-major at SFCC. He adds that he’ll now have to transfer a year early to North Dakota, where many SFCC students complete their aviation degrees.

There was a momentary glimmer of hope for students like Arias, however. Spokane Community College had announced its own intent to open an aviation program, but it was not able to commit in time to keep a local option alive.

“Part of why the program is being cut is it is a budget issue,” says Jacob Canty, site manager and assistant chief flight instructor. “SCC is waiting for a number of things so they can start a flight program, but it’s taking longer than they expected.”

Washington has the nation’s third-highest employment rate for the aviation and aerospace industry, behind California and Texas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary for aircraft pilots, copilots and flight engineers nationally is $103,210. (Lauren Miller)

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