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Medical Lake Mayor Terri Cooper joins 5th Congressional District race

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(The Center Square) – Medical Lake Mayor Terri Cooper announced Saturday she has filed to run for the 5th Congressional District seat left open after Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ decision not to run for re-election.

Cooper made the announcement at the Spokane County GOP Convention held on in Spokane Valley and repeated at the Lincoln County Convention on Sunday.

“There are so many issues facing our country,” said Cooper in Davenport on Sunday afternoon. “It’s not a matter of wanting to run. I don’t want to but somebody must be willing to pay the price, stand in the gap and say something needs to change.”

She joins six Republicans and three Democrats in the race.

“We need someone who is not a career politician and is in touch with needs at the community level,” she explained.

Cooper emphasized the importance of the race locally as well as nationally.

“Lincoln County’s convention today had such a community spirit,” she said. “It was an opportunity to listen, to hear from real people with real concerns. It was a powerful experience. People didn’t all agree, but at the end they stood around and talked as friends and neighbors, and that’s the way it should be. We need more of that community spirit.”

Speaking in the primarily rural county, she emphasized the need to protect Washington agriculture and small businesses from government overreach.

Asked about her position on the Snake River Dams, Cooper said it makes little sense to remove sources of renewable hydroelectric power at the same time as the government is pushing to add more load to the electrical grid.

Her father’s service with the U.S. Air Force brought Cooper and her family to the area. Cooper graduated from Medical Lake High School, married her high school sweetheart and remained active in her hometown.

She co-founded Re*Imagine Medical Lake, a grassroots non-profit dedicated to community revitalization to “create a culture that supports business development, promotes community education and welcomes citizen involvement,” according to the organization’s website.

Cooper has served as mayor of Medical Lake since 2021. Her public profile in Spokane County rose in August 2023 when wildfires forced the evacuation of the entire town and surrounding community.

Cooper is currently president of the Spokane Region Long Term Recovery Group, coordinating with nonprofits and government agencies on clean-up and rebuilding efforts following the Gray and Oregon Road fires in Spokane County.

She has been critical of the state and federal response, saying “We have to change policy at the federal level.”

Cooper retired from her position as Cheney Municipal Court commissioner last October to focus on wildfire recovery work and her role as mayor.

As a court commissioner, Cooper has worked with court managers throughout the 5th Congressional District to improve the administration of justice.

In addition to Terri Cooper, Republican candidates for the 5th Congressional seat include Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, state Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber of Republic, Ferry County Commissioner Brian Dansel, Spokane City Councilmember Jonathan Bingle, retired state worker John Guenther, and Liberty Broadcasting System radio personality Rene Holaday.

On the Democratic side, Cooper will face former chair of the Spokane County Democrats and retired foreign service officer Carmela Conroy, small business owner Ann Marie Danimus, and OB-GYBN Dr. Bernadine “Bernie” Bank.

Cooper and her husband Ken have three children and eleven grandchildren.