Spokane City Council Resolution Denouncing Mayor Nadine Woodward Violates First Amendment Rights

Spokane, WA – September 25, 2023

The Spokane County Republican Central Committee strongly denounces the proposed resolution by Spokane City Council members Betsy Wilkerson and Zack Zappone, as it infringes on the First Amendment rights of Mayor Nadine Woodward. This resolution seeks to censure Mayor Woodward for attending a church service and participating in religious activities, which is a violation of her freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and right to religious association.

The resolution condemns not only a government official but also private citizens. This sets an alarming precedent of dictating acceptable beliefs, speech, and religion for government officials and elected leaders. It undermines the rights of private citizens to petition their government based on their creed and religious beliefs, speech, and association.

The resolution also includes findings of fact that defame individuals, destroy reputations, and restrict the rights of people to petition their government. This legislative condemnation is a form of tyranny and contradicts the structure of our government, specifically its 3 branches of government, as set forth in the Washington Constitution and the Spokane City Charter.

The First Amendment guarantees the rights of free speech and religious freedom. The Washington Constitution also ensures the protection and maintenance of individual rights, including the right to petition and assemble for the common good, freedom of speech, and religious freedom.

Every elected City Council member has taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the State of Washington. The proposed resolution by Council members Wilkerson and Zappone is a direct violation of their oath, as it seeks to denounce Mayor Woodward for exercising her constitutional rights.

The Spokane City Council's role is to govern the city and protect its citizens from crime and violence, not to dictate personal beliefs or behaviors within the bounds of the law. We strongly disapprove of this attempt to denounce Mayor Woodward and urge all Spokane City Council members to reject this resolution.

For media inquiries, please contact MJ Bolt at (509) 838-6162 or [email protected].

About Spokane County Republican Central Committee:

The Spokane County Republican Central Committee promotes conservative values, supports Republican candidates, and advocates for the principles of limited government, individual liberty, and free markets. For more information, visitwww.spokanegop.com.


The Supreme Court holds that “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

  1. Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642, 63 S. Ct. 1178, 1187, 87 L. Ed. 1628 (1943)

The Right to Free Speech and Religious Freedom is the FIRST of the Amendments to our Constitution, and is included as such in our Constitutionally protected Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court has recently said about the speech right:

The framers designed the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to protect the “freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think.” They did so because they saw the freedom of speech “both as an end and as a means.” An end because the freedom to think and speak is among our inalienable human rights. A means because the freedom of thought and speech is “indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth.” By allowing all views to flourish, the framers understood, we may test and improve our own thinking both as individuals and as a Nation. For all these reasons, “[i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation,” it is the principle that the government may not interfere with “an uninhibited marketplace of ideas,”

303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, 143 S. Ct. 2298, 2310–11, 216 L. Ed. 2d 1131 (2023), citations omitted.

The Washington Constitution has also stated that the role of government is to protect and maintain individual rights. These include, but are not limited to the following explicitly called out rights; rights that were re-affirmed in the Washington Constitution before cities were given charter powers:

SECTION 4 RIGHT OF PETITION AND ASSEMBLAGE. “The right of petition and of the people peaceably to assemble for the common good shall never be abridged.”

SECTION 5 FREEDOM OF SPEECH. “Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.”

SECTION 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. “Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion;”

Every City Council man and woman has taken an Oath of Office to affirm and support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Washington as seen below taken directly from Spokane City Charter in Section 4:

Section 34: Oath of Office

“Every elected officer, before entering upon the duties of office, shall make and file with the city clerk an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Washington, and to perform faithfully, honestly, and impartially the duties of office.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009

Ordinance C34385 Section 22, emphasis added.






Spokane County has over 250 elected offices, 21 are partisan where the candidate declares their political party preference and the remaining offices are non-partisan.

While each of these offices have its own specific function, collectively they impact our quality of life, property, safety, education, and the economy therefore, it is the Spokane County Republican Party’s Missionto promote good government by Getting Republicans Elected at all levels, Support them, and Hold Them Accountable” once elected. The first step in this Mission is the process to either recruit, evaluate, and vett quality candidates who are challenging or running for an open seat or engage incumbents, evaluate their performance, and determine if further support is deserved.

The Spokane County Republican Party’s Vision is to “fill every seat in Spokane County including local, city, county, state, and federal elections with people who support and defend the Constitution of the United States and align to and will advance the Republican Platform.

Our team of elected Republican Precinct Committee Officers (PCO), the heart and soul of the Spokane County Republican Party, are committed to recruiting and evaluating candidates of unimpeachable character, virtue, and integrity who align to our organization’s Vision, Strategy, and Mission. We invite interested candidates and incumbents to participate in this grass roots led process, build relationships with our great team of patriots, and together chart the course that “secures the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity” as our Founders charged us to do.

Below is the list of Recommended 2023 candidates for Spokane County Non-partisan offices selected by a majority vote of Spokane County Republican Party PCOs present at the Candidates Committee Recommendation Assembly June 19, 2023.

For information about the Candidate Evaluation and Vetting Process or a position you are interested in running for visit us at spokanegop.com/become_a_candidate or email the Candidates Committee Chair at [email protected].

If you are interested in supporting our Mission to elect candidates that share our values please visit spokanegop.com/donate.


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