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Ben Stuckart on leadership

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By Kelly Rae Mathews

An email interview about leadership with Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart.

You are a community leader. How does your system of values, ethics, or faith if you have one, guide your leadership decisions?

Stuckart: I believe decisions are informed by your experiences, your belief system, upbringing and what your personal story. Each person has a unique story that guides them.

Would you tell me about your system of values, ethics or faith?

Stuckart: I like Aristotle definition of what good is. Doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.

I also always go back to a lesson my father taught me. The organization he worked for had massive federal budget cuts. He was very upset that evening and I asked him why? He explained that we live in a capitalist society and we benefit from it. But capitalism only survives if there are people on top and on the bottom of the economic ladder. He explained that if we benefit from the system we then have moral responsibility to take care of those at the bottom.

Can you please give me an example of how you have applied your ethics to being a leader?

Stuckart: I try to use these frameworks on every issue that we vote on or on the over 100 bills I have sponsored in the last four years.

What do you look for in a leader?

Stuckart: Someone that stands up for what they believes in and is out front. People that support you behind closed doors but not in public are not leaders.

What do you think people in Spokane look for, in their leaders?

Stuckart: I think people like leaders who are clear about what they stand for, even if they may disagree with them at times.

How can we get the community to participate more in elections?


  • Get money out of politics
  • Make voting day a holiday

What would you advise potential leaders in Spokane, such as the candidates running right now?

Stuckart: Work hard, knock on doors and be yourself.

How do you think we can best hold leaders accountable?

Stuckart: Elections are a great way to hold some leaders accountable. The media must also do its job.

Kelly Rae Mathews

About Kelly Rae Mathews

Kelly Rae Mathews grew up in culturally and faith diverse San Diego, Calif. during the 70s and 80s before moving to Spokane in 2004. Growing up in a such a diverse environment with amazing people, led Mathews to be very empathetic and open to the insights of many different faiths, she said. She loves science fiction and this also significantly contributed to and influenced her own journey and understanding of faith and values. She agrees with and takes seriously the Vulcan motto, when it comes to faith and life, "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations." Therefore, it is no surprise she has a degree in anthropology as well as English. She has studied the anthropology of religion and is knowledgeable about many faiths.

She completed an anthropological research project on poets of the Inland Northwest, interviewing over two dozen poets, their audiences, friends, family members, and local business community who supported the poetry performances. Mathews gave a presentation on How Poets Build Community: Reclaiming Intimacy from the Modern World at the Northwest Anthropological Conference, at the Eastern Washington University Creative Symposium, the Eastern Washington University Women's Center and the Literary Lunch Symposium put on by Reference Librarian and Poet Jonathan Potter at the Riverfront Campus.

She was a volunteer minister in San Diego for about 10 years while attending college and working in various editorial positions.

Her articles, poems and short stories have appeared in Fickle Muse, The Kolob Canyon Review, Falling Star Magazine, Acorn, The Coyote Express, The Outpost and Southern Utah University News.

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