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Spokane County treasurer to host GOP powerhouse event

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(The Center Square) – Congressional candidate Michael Baumgartner is hosting a campaign event next month among some of the more powerful political figures in eastern Washington.

Baumtoberfest is set for June 5 at 5:30 p.m. in Spokane’s German Hall on 25 W. 3rd Ave. Joining Baumgartner are Kjerstin Bell, former Fox 28 news anchor; Nadine Woodward, former mayor of Spokane; Dino Rossi, former state senator; Brian Heywood, founder of Let’s Go Washington; and Melissa Williams, founder and CEO of Star Financial.

The event is one of many stops along Baumgartner’s campaign trail for the 5th Congressional District seat held by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who, after having the seat since 2005, announced she would not run for re-election.

Baumgartner announced his Republican powerhouse event just days after Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown’s inaugural State of the City address. Following her remarks on Tuesday, Baumgartner released a statement in response to the new mayor’s controversial tax proposal.

“After hearing Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown call for massive property tax increases just months into her new position, I had a message for her: Seniors can’t afford it,” he said in the release.

Brown took over office from Woodward in January following a contentious campaign. During Monday’s regular meeting, Spokane City Council President Betsy Wilkerson said that the public safety levy was likely inevitable with the city’s growing deficit even if Brown had not taken over.

Baumgartner, currently treasurer of Spokane County, said it’s not his job to assess property values or set taxes; however, seniors voice their struggles daily, noting the difficulty of living on a fixed income while property taxes continue to rise.

He called on Brown to take a different approach, bringing in other local governments to combat crime and homelessness “because a giant property tax increase to pump more money into a broken system isn’t a real solution,” Baumgartner said.

The Republican has raised more than any other candidate in the district, totaling more than $400,000. Democrat Carmela Conroy has raised the second most out of any candidate at around $150,000. However, Baumgartner has the most cash on hand, with more than $360,000 still available.

Heywood, a hedge fund executive and the face of Let’s Go Washington, funded six initiatives this past legislative session. While three passed the Legislature, voters will decide on the others this November.

Initiatives 2111, 2113 and 2081, prohibiting the imposition or collection of income taxes, lowering the threshold for police to engage in a vehicular pursuit and establishing a parents’ bill of rights related to their children’s public school education, respectively, passed the Legislature this session and go into effect in June.

Initiatives 2117, 2109 and 2124 would repeal the state’s Climate Commitment Act, repeal the capital gains tax and allow people to opt out of the state’s long-term care program, respectively.

Baumgartner also hosts meet-and-greet events on May 9 and 10 in Clarkston and Pullman, leading up to Baumtoberfest.