Jim Camden at the Spokesman-Review pokes a bit of (deserved) fun at Seattle for how white and male our mayors have been compared to Spokane.
But during the period in which Spokane elected a major, strong or otherwise, it had three women in the job: Vicki McNeill, Sheri Barnard and Mary Verner. (It also elected an African-American mayor, Jim Chase, eight years before Rice, but that’s kind of rubbing it in.)
All three were very different politically. None campaigned primarily on being a woman or won because of, or in spite of, gender. In McNeill’s case, she ran against another woman, Margaret Leonard. Seattle has never had a general election mayoral race between two women.
Spin Control would never use the gender diversity of a city’s chief executive as proof of much of anything. But the next time a Seattle resident gets too over the top about how forward thinking his or her city is, remind them that Spokane has had three times as many female mayors, who held the office six times as long as Seattle. It might keep them quiet for a minute or two.
For my Seattle readers, if someone from Spokane gives you shit, you can mention that even if Ed Murray wins, Spokane will have nearly a decade’s head start in electing a gay mayor. That will hopefully move the conversation to one where we figure out how to get more diversity in our elected officials. Because I think we can all agree that 3 women in several decades, or one woman in 1926, it isn’t a good track record.