SPOKANE, Wash. - "We've never published a story exactly like this where we've had a candidate, someone seeking office decline to talk with us."
In an article released Thursday, June 6, the Inlander called out mayoral candidate Nadine Woodward, saying she would not do any interviews with them in person or over the phone. She strongly denies the claim.
"They've made it sound like I've banned the Inlander from any interviews, I've refused interviews with multiple reporters, which isn't true," Woodward said.
Woodward says she only said no to an interview with no specific outlined topics with Inlander reporter, Daniel Walters.
"The way he mischaracterized me in this latest article is a perfect example of why I don't want to be put in that situation," she said.
When asked if he stood behind the story, Inlander editor, Jacob Fries said, "Absolutely, we stand behind the story we reported in this week's issue. We have well-documented efforts of trying to get her on the record to try to interview her. These are things she cares about and we want to explore them with her for the sake of our readers and voters."
KHQ's Patrick Erickson sat down with Fries, who says they've been trying for months to speak with Woodward. He says she's refused each time, something Fries has never seen a candidate for office do in his 11 years there.
"Our only agenda is to cover the political campaign for the mayor of Spokane and she is a significant candidate for that and we think that debate and conversation will be worse off if she's not a part of it," Fries said.
Woodward says Walters manipulated her statements in the article. She says she hasn't cancelled interviews and that she's actually done more than one of them with Walters through email with no previous issues.
"I hope they clear that up in their newspaper after we talk with them because they are absolutely false,"Woodward said.
Fries says they will continue to try to speak with Woodward, hoping she will change her mind.
"We have no agenda or interest except exploring issues that she's interested in and her proposals and ideas for Spokane," he said.
Several other mayoral candidates have given statements regarding the claims. They are as follows:
Kelly Cruz: "Nadine Woodward's refusal to speak with the Inlander shows her unwillingness to be open and transparent. If elected Mayor what chance would a small business or resident have to speak with her on an issue if she won't even speak with a local news publication."
Jonathan Bingle: "Interaction with the media and free press protects the community from a propaganda government. Independent journalists capable of investigating stories outside the scope of the establishment can bring light to darkness and credibility to information. I champion the press, their rights, and their place in society even if we disagree."
Ben Stuckart: "Refusing to answer basic questions from the press is not a campaign strategy. It is a sign of how a candidate will govern. It is clear Nadine Woodward wants to govern like Matt Shea and Donald Trump.
Every Monday night for the last seven years, I have looked in the first row from my seat on the council dais to see two reporters: one from the Inlander and one from the Spokesman Review. Daniel and Rebecca. Kip, Heidi, & Nick. Jake, Dave, and Jonathon.
These reporters and the many television news crews patiently waiting for their shot sit through mind-numbingly boring street vacation hearings, department budget presentations, and waste digester sole source contract resolutions. They sit through this stuff because the mom in Southgate with 3 kids can’t make it to the Council meeting.
These reporters are there to hold us accountable and ask the questions that most citizens never get a chance to ask.
Each of these reporters have written unflattering things about me in their publications. Much of it, I’ve deserved. There are times I cringe at seeing their names calling on my cell phone, but I answer the phone anyway. These reporters are my constituents, and they are doing their job. Answering their questions is my job.
Spokane deserves government transparency. Spokane deserves leaders who won’t dodge tough questions. Spokane deserves a Mayor that honors the First Amendment and respects freedom of the press.
I will continue to answer my phone when the press calls to talk about my work as Council President.
I will continue to openly share my ideas for building a stronger and more equitable Spokane.
And if elected Mayor, you can count on a city government that is transparent and accessible. You should expect nothing less."