Contact: Andy Rathbun


SPOKANE, WA // 7 JULY 2019 – Recently retired Lt. Col (USAF/WA Air Nat’l Guard), age 55 of West Central, and Spokane City Council candidate, Andy Rathbun is calling attention to opponent Karen Stratton’s recent $3,000 bundling of donations from one local marijuana retail owner.

Rathbun states, “Once again, Karen Stratton had mocked the Spokane Fair Elections Code, which she voted for twice, by bundling thousands in donations from the same owner and corporate group.” Rathbun continues, “The intent of this law is overwhelmingly to reduce big money in campaign donations, especially those from any one source. Stratton’s commitment to this goal, as per her recent receipt of triple-the-limit money has gone up in smoke.”

Spokane Municipal Code (SMC 01.07.003 Title, Purpose and Intent) includes, “to reduce the effect of financial contributions on the integrity of our elections and our government.” As per law, the current maximum donation to candidates in the Rathbun, Stratton et al race is $1,000 per primary and general election.

According to Karen Stratton’s filing with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) on August 3, 2019, (100921933 see below) Stratton’s campaign accepted $1,000 donations from each of (1) Justin Peterson, owner of Cinder, (2) Ultima Spokane LLC, and (3) Ultima Mullan LLC. The addresses of the two LLC’s directly correspond to the locations of Cinder retail outlets in the Spokane area. Peterson is listed as Registered Agent and Governor for both corporations.

Cinder’s website, (requires an “over 21” affirmation to enter) features coupons such as a “Munchie Monday” special, however does not list “Family Plot, LLC” in its farms section. Karen Stratton and her husband, Christopher Wright are listed as the registered agent and governor respectively of Family Plot, LLC, a Spokane County marijuana producer.

Stratton’s direct involvement in the marijuana industry has only caused one readily-found instance of conflict of interest, See Spokesman-Review, Kip Hill, 19 June 2017, “Spokane allows pot shop to move amid complaints that a sham arcade abused zoning laws.” Stratton recused herself from a city council vote involving a June of 2017 zoning decision. Stratton’s husband, Christopher Wright was also involved as legal counsel for marijuana retailer, “Smokane,” which was involved in the dispute.

“Smokane,” is peripherally involved in current public policy decisions as the Spokane City Council considers a homeless shelter to be located within immediate proximity of the marijuana retailer. Stratton, as reported by the Spokesman-Review was not available for comment for a recent article on the proposed East Sprague shelter.

Earlier this year, Karen Stratton’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) report on June 6, 2019 listed the following donations, all with the address, 1421 N Meadowwood Lane, Liberty Lake, WA:

$500 Bridgeway West Apartments LLC
$500 Bridgeway East Apartments
$500 Greenstone Corporation
$500 Adirondack Lodge LLC


Contact: Andy Rathbun


SPOKANE, WA // JUNE 17, 2019 – Recently retired Lt. Col (USAF, WA Air Naitonal Guard) and candidate for Spokane City Council Dist. 3 (Northwest neighborhoods) Andy Rathbun, 55 of West Central, is asking incumbent and fellow candidate Karen Stratton to explain accepting $1,000 from Avista Corporation, which is on the city’s “do not solicit list.”

Rathbun asks, “Why would a city council member vote twice for a law that she won’t follow?” He continues, “This level of cavalier law-breaking is well beyond sloppy bookkeeping, and is what causes average citizens who play by the rules to feel that all politicians are morally bankrupt.”

On her Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) report filed on June 14, 2019, Stratton lists a $1,000 donation from Avista Corporation, as received on June 11, 2019 (see below). The City’s website lists Avista Corporation as having contracts with the city over $735,000 (see below). This is well over the $50,000 limit.

The city’s website explains the law, “The Spokane Fair Elections Code prohibits candidates for city office from soliciting and accepting contributions from entity or person who have received more than $50,000 under any contractual relationship with the city within two years prior to the election cycle. City contractor means any entity or person, including partners with more than 10% equity interest, and directors and shareholders with more than 10% or more of the outstanding shares of stock for a corporation.”

Council Member Karen Stratton voted for the “Fair Elections” code on two occasions. During the December 18, 2017 city council meeting, Council Member Stratton had a specific exchange (beginning around minute 3:10:00) with Council President Stuckart regarding donations by unions, contractors and contracts with the City. Stratton, said, “So, it’s all about the contract.”

Again, during the January 8, 2018 city council meeting to override the Mayor’s veto of the code, Stratton asked for specific clarification about donations and contracts (around minute 1:25:00).

Rathbun concludes, “There is no room for political double-talk or loopholes when the public trust is at stake. Stratton accepted the check, cashed the check and reported the check. The only thing left to do is for Stratton to take responsibility, be accountable to the voters for her actions, and return the check to preserve the public trust, which she has broken.”

Stratton Avista on Do Not Solicit2.jpg
Stratton Avista on Do Not Solicit.jpg



SPOKANE, WA // MAY 17, 2019 – City of Spokane, District 3 (Northwest neighborhoods) council candidate Andy Rathbun is calling 2019 a “change” year based on record-breaking filings and primary ballot choices for Spokane city government.

As of 3:20 p.m. Friday, May 17, the last day of Spokane’s “Filing Week,” a record-breaking 25 people have filed to run for office in the city’s 5 election positions; Mayor, Council President and City Council Position 1 in districts 1, 2 and 3.  There is still time for more, as the filing period ends at 4 p.m. today.  This record looks back to 2003, available records at Spokane County’s elections website.

This is the first year since 2007 that a primary election will be held for all 5 City of Spokane positions.  If no more than 2 candidates file, a primary election is not on the ballot.  For instance, this was the case in the 2015 council president race when only Ben Stuckart and John Ahern filed.

Rathbun assesses the high numbers of candidate filings: “I’ve spoken with many of this year’s candidates, and there are a lot of people who look at the last 8 years of the same people in city hall and are ready to make a change.”  Rathbun continues, “Most of us stepping forward as first-time candidates have been volunteering in our communities for decades.  And, we’re not content to sit on the sidelines and watch vertical moves due to term limits and political musical chairs at city hall. ”

Three candidates are seeking vertical moves this year, Stuckart (term limited) from Council President to Mayor, Beggs (not up for election in council seat) and Fagan (term limited) from City Council to Council President.

Rathbun concluded, “What’s clear is that incumbents shouldn’t be too comfy in their seats this year and ambitious politicians won’t get a free pass either. We’re all going to have to work for these important jobs, which is a big win for our city.”

Looking back to 2003, based on current candidate filings, 2019 is the highest number of candidates to file for Spokane offices with 25.  2007 saw 22 candidates file for second-highest, and 2003 recorded 17 for third place.  Other years can be found below (only filings requiring a primary election, 3 or more candidates listed).

5              Mayor
4              Council President
7              Council Dist 1, Pos 1
3              Council Dist 2, Pos 1
6              Council Dist 3, Pos 1
Total      25                          

3              Council Dist 1, Pos 2
4              Council Dist 2, Pos 2
3              Council Dist 3, Pos 2
Total      10                                                                  

3              Mayor
3              Council Dist 1, Pos 1
3              Council Dist 2, Pos 1
4              Council Dist 3, Pos 1
Total      13                                                                          

3              Council Dist 2, Pos 2
4              Council Dist 3, Pos 2
Total      7                                                                             

5              Mayor
4              Council President
6              Council Dist 1, Pos 1
Total      15                                                                          

6              Council Dist 2, Pos 2
6              Council Dist 3, Pos 2
Total      12                                                                          

5              Mayor
3              Council President
5              Council Dist 1, Pos 1
4              Council Dist 2, Pos 1
5              Council Dist 3, Pos 1
Total      22                                                                          

3              Council Dist 2, Pos 2
7              Council Dist 3, Pos 2
Total      10                                                                          

5              Mayor
3              Council President
3              Council Dist 1, Pos 1
3              Council Dist 2, Pos 1
3              Council Dist 3, Pos 1
Total      17          



SPOKANE, WA // MAY 14, 2019 – City of Spokane, District 3 (Northwest neighborhoods) council candidate Andy Rathbun is criticizing the “Fair Elections Ordinance” as another example of vanity legislation passed by the Spokane City Council.

Rathbun states, “The law of unintended consequences once again rules our current city council.” He continues, “This is what you get when politicians are more interested in making headlines, rather than making headway.”

Rathbun is referring to recent confusion over the donation limits as set by the Spokane Fair Elections Code, which was passed by the Spokane City Council on December 18, 2017. The “Code” was vetoed by the Mayor, then the Spokane City Council voted to override the veto on January 8, 2018.

One aspect of the code includes a cutting in half of the WA State donation limitations per election, from $1,000 (WA State) to $500 (City of Spokane), unless a candidate for an office donates $11,500 of their own money. In which case, the donation limit would be set at the Wa State level. Rathbun was very public about his donations to his campaign exceeding the $11,500 for Spokane mayor earlier this year.

On April 24, 2019, Rathbun announced that he would run for Spokane city council instead of mayor. Last Friday, Rathbun emailed a letter to the City of Spokane and mayoral candidates informing that he had transferred his donations from the mayor committee to his council campaign committee.

Rathbun emphasizes, “My purpose in notifying the city and the candidates was that they would be aware of my campaign finances and they could seek advice if need be on the future actions of their own campaigns.” He continues, “If there is confusion about the administration of the code, the council members who voted for it should explain what they were thinking when they voted for it, and what they are thinking now.”

Council Member Karen Stratton, the incumbent in the position that Rathbun is seeking, voted for the code on both occasions. During the December 18, 2017 city council meeting (beginning around minute 3:10:00), Council Member Stratton had a specific exchange with Council President Stuckart regarding donations by unions, contractors and contracts with the City. Stratton, said, “So, it’s all about the contract.”

Again, during the January 8, 2018 city council meeting to override the Mayor’s veto of the code, Stratton asked for specific clarification about donations and contracts (around minute 1:25:00).

The Fair Elections Code that Stratton voted for twice includes a “do not solicit” list, posted on the city’s website containing entities that are prohibited from donating to city candidates. Owners of those entities are also prohibited from donating to candidates.

As of May 14, 2019 filings with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), Karen Stratton has accepted $100 from Michael Tedesco, an executive with the Spokane Tribe, and another $100 from Judith Gilmore, grant program coordinator with the Association of General Contractors (AGC).

The “INLAND NW AGC APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING TRUST” is on the list. And, the Spokane Tribe was specifically emphasized as an example falling under the “do not solicit” rules by Council President Stuckart during the January 8, 2018 meeting (around 1:38:00). While Tedesco and Gilmore are not owners of the Tribe or AGC, they are very influential agents for each.

Rathbun asserts, “I have no problem with Mr. Tedesco, Ms. Gilmore, the Tribe or AGC. My issue is with Council Members creating laws with more loopholes than the Cheney Rodeo. All of this time and energy has gone into a law that was made BY office holders, for the benefit OF office holders.”

Council President Stuckart has claimed that his legislative assistant, Adam McDaniel worked for two-and-a-half months on this ordinance and it was his primary job. In defense of this legislation, Stuckart on numerous occasions has gone to great lengths to explain the great lengths that went into researching the law including legal review, other cities, public testimony, etc. It is difficult to believe that nobody discussed the possibility of a candidate changing races.

Rathbun concludes, “Ben Stuckart now claims he doesn’t want to get in the middle of it. That’s impossible, he produced it and has stepped the deepest in it. We need a back-to-basics approach to items that affect our daily lives.”

In the news:

24 April 2019 THE INLANDER Daniel Walters
Andy Rathbun won't be running for mayor, but will be running for City Council against Karen Stratton

As an example, he cites the legislation, vetoed by the mayor, to officially open up City Hall and other city buildings to the public, including the homeless. Considering the City Hall was already open to everybody, he says, it was a pointless piece of legislation. He says the city should have spent that time addressing the root causes of the homelessness issue instead.

"A lot of time was wasted," Rathbun says. "I’m an action guy. I want things to happen. I don’t waste time." continue reading click here.




SPOKANE, WA // April 24, 2019 – Recently retired Lt. Colonel (USAF & WA Air National Guard) and longtime West Central neighborhood leader, Andy Rathbun is announcing his campaign for City Council in Spokane’s district 3 (northwestern Spokane neighborhoods).

Rathbun’s platform is based on his “productivity over politics” theme with a “safety-first” focus. Rathbun states, “Too often, our city council has become stuck in the mud of personal politics and finger-pointing. Citizens deserve real discussions and are tired of the ‘reality television’ show at city council.”

News stories include:

Rathbun continues, “Voters pay council members to make progress on items that affect their daily lives. We need a council focused on making headway, instead of the headlines above.”

Rathbun’s “Safety-first” Focus Summarized

On his safety-first focus, Rathbun states, “On every item I bring forward and before every vote I take, I will ask myself, ‘How does this make Spokane citizens safer?’”

Rathbun further describes his safety-first philosophy, “If you think about it, every issue, from job-creation to garbage collection should begin with citizen safety.” Rathbun underscores his point, “Everybody loves a parade, but it is not possible without safe streets that are free from axle-busting potholes.”

Spokane citizens overwhelmingly affirmed funds earlier this year in favor of firefighters and law enforcement. Voters are inclined to invest in value and the best way to support first-responders is for politicians to get out of the way and let them do their jobs.

When a person becomes a danger to themselves or others, regardless of address, active-intervention is essential. This is the safety-first approach. Innovative work is being implemented in our Spokane region that allows law-enforcement, housing providers, healthcare professionals and others to maximize their skills and training in a manner that is most respectful, helpful and safe for all.