In most ways, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart and Councilman Mike Fagan were opposites on the council. Thanks to Stuckart's series of victories, Fagan, a deep-red conservative, found himself isolated by a council that trended increasingly to the left.
Yet both served eight years together and both suffered political defeats in the last election cycle. In their final council meeting on Monday, it was Stuckart who read an official council salutation to Fagan.
Stuckart noted Fagan's work on veterans issues, talked about the time he earned "Best Buds" marijuana socks from Councilwoman Karen Stratton after approving an additional marijuana shop in his district and praised Fagan for setting "the example for constituent relationships."
"Probably 40 times when I'm out in the community, people would come up and say, 'Mike came to my house! I called, and Mike showed up the next day,'" Stuckart said.
The salute to Stuckart, meanwhile, came from his successor, Council President-elect Breean Beggs, who praised Stuckart's work on issues like immigration and safe-and-sick leave.
"Ben Stuckart's contemplative nature and tendency to shirk debate meant, as council president, Ben was rarely seen and rarely heard," Beggs said. The audience laughed as they caught onto Beggs' sarcasm.
When the time came to gavel the last meeting of his political career to the close, Stuckart offered to share the gavel with Fagan.
"Thank you all everyone," Stuckart said, "take good care of this place." ♦