Cheney Free Press -

By John McCallum
Managing Editor 

Candidate filing opens Monday, May 17


Last updated 5/14/2021 at 8:05am

Candidate filing week opens May 17 at 9 a.m. and closes May 24 at 4 p.m. Running for office is your chance to make an impact on your community.

WEST PLAINS - Candidate filing week takes place May 17 – 21, and a quick glance at the seats up for election suggests the possibility for wholesale changes among some cities and districts.

Nineteen out of a total of 34 seats are up for election this year in Airway Heights, Cheney, Medical Lake and both school districts. The largest number of these is Medical Lake with five council members and the mayor's office up for election.

Incumbent council members Don Kennedy (Position 1), Elizabeth Rosenbeck (Position 2), Arthur (AJ) Burton (Position 3), Tony Harbolt (Position 4) and Chad Pritchard (Position 7) are all up for reelection. All are four-year terms with the exception of Pritchard, who was selected earlier this year by the council to fill out former Councilwoman Jessica Roberts' unexpired term.

Roberts won reelection in November 2020, but stepped down because her family was moving out of Medical Lake. Whoever wins election in that Position 7 seat will fill out the remainder of her term.

Medical Lake mayor will also be on the ballot this year. Incumbent Shirley Maike has already filed for office with the state Public Disclosure Commission, winning election in 2017 by beating Mikeal Suniga.

Maike will face long-time and first-time candidate Terri Cooper, who has also filed with the Public Disclosure Commission. Candidates who expect to raise or spend $5,000 or more on the campaign must file with the commission.

In Cheney, three council positions are on the ballot along with mayor, all four-year regular terms. Paul Schmidt (Position 1), John Taves (Position 3) and Teresa Overhauser (Position 4) terms are up for election along with Mayor Chris Grover.

In a May 5 email, Taves said he would not seek reelection. He was first elected in 2013, beating current Councilman Dan Hilton, who won election to the Position 7 seat in 2019.

Airway Heights has four council positions up for election, with the person winning in Position 1 serving as mayor. Incumbents currently serving are James "Sonny" Weathers (Position 1), Art Bubb (Position 2), Dave Malet (Position 4) and Doyle Inman (Position 6). All are four-year regular terms.

All council and mayor positions are paid positions and require a filing fee.

Also up for election this year are two position on both Cheney and Medical Lake school boards. In Cheney, Marcie Estrellado (Position 1) and Suzanne Dolle (Position 2) are the incumbents while in Medical Lake, the incumbents are Leo Spilker (Position 1) and Wendy Williams-Gilbert (Position 5), who was appointed to the board in November, 2020, to replace the retiring Peggy Schweikhardt.

School board positions are four-year terms, and are not paid. No filing fee is required.

Early candidate filing for office began by mail on May 3. In-person and online candidate filing opens Monday, May 17, at 9 a.m. and concludes Friday, May 21, at 4 p.m.

Candidates wishing to file online can do so at any time, 24 hours a day, during this period at In-person filing can be done at the Elections Department in Spokane, 1033 W. Gardner Ave.

County Auditor Vicki Dalton said prospective candidate should be certain of the position they intend to file for so there are no need for last minute changes or extra fees. Filing fees are not refundable, so if someone files for the wrong office and has to refile, it can cost extra.

"Last year, candidates waited until the last few minutes, made mistakes and were unable to complete filing by the deadline," she said.

Dalton encourages citizens thinking of running to do so.

"Serving in a local elected office is about serving the local community," Dalton said. "A local elected official has the opportunity to determine service delivery, to improve the lives of residents and to set long-term strategy for the community."

A new feature in this year's election is counties are now required to send a printed voter's pamphlet to every household in the county, regardless of the number of voters in the household or even if there are no registered voters.

John McCallum can be reached at

Author Bio

John McCallum, Managing Editor

John McCallum is an award-winning journalist who has been with the Cheney Free Press for over 20 years. He has received 10 Washington Newspaper Publisher Association awards for journalism and photography, including first place awards for Best Investigative, Best News and back-to-back awards in Best Breaking News categories. He has been serving as editor of the Spokane Valley News Herald since March 2020.

Phone: 509-235-6184
Contact John McCallum


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