SPOKANE — Three Spokane City Council members reportedly targeted for surveillance by state Rep. Matt Shea called Sunday for the Spokane Valley lawmaker to resign.
The calls follow reporting by The Spokesman-Review that Shea directed the purchase of tracking technology and compiled dossiers on progressive leaders in town, among them Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart, Councilman Breean Beggs and Councilwoman Lori Kinnear. The trio released a statement Sunday night calling for his immediate resignation, as did the Spokane chapter of the NAACP over the weekend.
“I agree with the NAACP and call on every person running for office in our region to denounce Matt Shea, his threats of violence and intimidation, and for his immediate resignation from office,” said Stuckart.
“Mr. Shea’s words demonstrate that he has pledged his allegiance and service to something other than our constitutionally formed government and community,” said Beggs.
“There is no place in our community for this kind of hate,” Kinnear said. “We pledged to uphold the constitution of the State of Washington when we took office. I stand by that pledge.”
Nadine Woodward, who is running for Spokane mayor against Stuckart, released a statement to KHQ-TV that was critical of Shea’s words and actions but did not call for his resignation.
“I strongly condemn Representative Matt Shea’s divisive and extreme rhetoric and ideology,” Woodward said in the statement, according to KHQ. “I believe in inclusive and open leadership that equally represents all residents. I call on his constituents to make their decision about what values they want represented in Olympia.”
Shea, a six-term Republican representing the 4th Legislative District, endorsed Jonathan Bingle in the primary race for Spokane mayor on his official campaign website, labeling Stuckart “a socialist.”
Jay Pounder, a former member of Shea’s unofficial security detail who has now denounced the lawmaker’s rhetoric, joined the call for his removal from office.
“You know it’s serious when (both) the Republicans and Democrats are united against you. Matt Shea … I am officially calling for your resignation,” Pounder wrote on Twitter.
A private team of investigators was hired by the Washington House of Representatives last month to investigate whether Shea has promoted political violence against any person or group. Earlier this week, the British newspaper The Guardian first reported newly leaked emails linking Shea to a religious group that trained children and young men for religious combat. A podcast produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Longreads, “Bundyville,” has brought national attention to Shea’s links to groups pushing for the establishment of a separate, Christian-led government.