Candace Mumm Leaves a Lasting Footprint on Spokane City Government

After nearly two decades serving the city of Spokane – and 40 years attending city council meetings – Candace Mumm is ready for a break.

It is a respite that his colleagues on the city council consider well deserved.

Mumm is stepping down from city council after two full terms representing District 3, which included northwestern Spokane.

During his tenure, Mumm gained a reputation for having a keen understanding of city finances and a penchant for aiming to develop policies with lasting impact.

“Candace is a genius when it comes to budgets and numbers, and Candace is pushed to a point where she doesn’t give up,” said Karen Stratton, District 3 board member and roommate.

Mumm has been involved in local government since she was a 19-year-old news intern for KJRB radio, covering city council meetings in the old town hall building in the city center.

“I still remember the length, the heat and the boredom of these meetings. I would have to travel several miles to the South Hill recording studio to record stories for the morning show, ”Mumm said.

Mumm entered politics in 2013 after a decade as a volunteer on the City Planning Commission, including two terms as president. She played a key role in shaping the city’s first ever comprehensive plan, setting the course for the city’s development and growth for decades to come.

He had been asked several times to run for city council, but Mumm always refused the offer. As a former radio and television journalist, she had covered elections in three states and had never had much interest in running for one as a candidate. In addition, between work and family, she simply did not have time.

But in the end, she took the plunge.

“When my kids grew up and we were able to get other people to run the business, I was able to step in for that full commitment,” Mumm told The Spokesman-Review in a recent interview.

Mumm describes herself as moderate politics, but as a candidate for city council, she has promised to bring a check and a counterweight to the mayor’s office.

“I stepped into the ring realizing that I was moderate and that I could potentially work with a rainbow of political styles just to get things done,” Mumm said.

She ultimately won what was, by standards at the time, an extremely expensive race in City Council.

Although new to city council, Mumm came into office with a solid understanding of how city government works, in large part thanks to her time on the Planning Commission and years of advocacy and work in her neighborhood.

Looking back eight years later, the city has invested heavily in its streets, schools and parks, Mumm said, with an eye to the distant future.

“I think Spokane has become a really attractive place to live because we made those kinds of decisions,” Mumm said.

Money, money, money

Colleagues respect Mumm’s encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s budget and finances. Mumm, an MBA and co-owner of a real estate business with her husband, chaired the board’s finance and administration committee for several years.

It has been instrumental in creating new municipal reserves and defining the parameters of their use, ensuring that they are only used when absolutely necessary. The careful and intentional building up of reserves over the past few years has kept the city relatively confident as it enters the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of his last year in office, Mumm served on the three-member board task force that helped prioritize potential projects to fund with the city’s $ 81 million portion of the US bailout.

Mumm has long been a vocal critic of the city’s spending on police and firefighter overtime, which regularly exceeds budgeted. She was instrumental in promoting a study on overtime pay that the city expects to complete in 2022.

Ultimately, the city’s money is taxpayer money, Mumm said.

“I’ve always respected that and really took great care to help the city save money,” Mumm said.

Land use planning, public infrastructure

Having played such a direct role in shaping the overall city plan, Mumm often mentions it – especially when she feels the city is not following her model.

She has been warned of the consequences of haphazard development and privileged restraint, even when pressured to approve new housing proposals and zoning changes to alleviate the city’s housing shortage.

Councilor Lori Kinnear was among those who got Mumm to run, and “I didn’t let him,” she said. If it were up to Kinnear, the term limits wouldn’t apply to Mumm, who she described as “very methodical” and “very intelligent.”

When Mumm ponders a request to change the zoning of a plot or to allow access to the city’s water distribution system, she considers the precedent this sets and the impact on the city’s future. , according to Kinnear. And when she makes a decision, she explains the reasoning.

“It’s one thing to say ‘trust me’, but it’s another to say why it’s going to work,” Kinnear said.

One of Mumm’s main concerns was to ensure that children had safe routes to walk to school.

“What I learned is that children who walked to school learned better,” Mumm said. “One of the best things you can do is make it easy for children to get to school. “

A school in Five Mile was warning parents that it was dangerous to walk children to school, so Mumm worked with neighbors to help them secure a $ 400,000 grant for Safe Routes to Schools to construct new sidewalks and bike paths in Five Mile Prairie.

Mumm’s first major piece of legislation in 2014 was legislation that prompted the city to install more crosswalks near schools, parks and other high traffic areas.


Mumm also played a key role in shaping the regional transit system, serving on the board of directors of the Spokane Transit Authority as well as serving on city council.

As she left office, Mumm said STA’s finances were stronger than they had ever been.

She fought for free bus rides for those under 18, which she says can help a youngster find a job outside of her immediate neighborhood.

The intersection between planning and transit was important to Mumm, who supported providing incentives to encourage development around transit stops.

“We’re really looking to connect people to the important places they need to go – hospitals, schools, higher education and yes, downtown and shops,” Mumm said. “The ability to use public transit is a game-changer for people’s personal finances. It saves them so much money.

Institutional knowledge

Mumm led the Gender and Race Pay Equity Task Force, which released a set of recommendations in a 2016 report.

And it is largely thanks to Mumm’s work that the town hall has installed changing stations in public toilets.

Mumm worked to secure the name of the renovated plaza outside City Hall as a “gathering place” in honor of Native American tribes who historically gathered nearby.

Stratton and Mumm didn’t always take the same approach to governing, but both cared deeply for the district, Stratton said.

“I learned so much from her,

With Mumm on the verge of coming out, Kinnear said the city council was losing a huge amount of institutional knowledge.

“It’s hard to recover, it’s hard to replace,” Kinnear said.

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