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Zack Zappone assumes office as first openly bisexual candidate elected to Spokane City Council

Zappone fills the seat being left by Candance Mumm.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Zack Zappone filled the District 3 seat on the Spokane City Council vacated by Candace Mumm after winning the November election against businessman Mike Lish.

When he won, Zappone made history as the first openly gay candidate elected to the Spokane City Council. While he was running, Zappone sought and received advice from another historic councilmember; Dean Lynch.

Lynch was appointed to a vacant seat in District 2 in 2001, becoming the first openly bisexual councilmember to serve in Spokane. 

"Seeing Zack, a member of the LGBT community being elected, was just so heartening. It was, it's 20 years later, but I know that in some ways I helped open the pathway," Lynch said. "That was really great to have someone stepping forward."

Lynch ran and lost the election for the seat he was appointed to at the end of the term, but Zappone said he still had helpful advice when it came to campaigning.

"I met Dean about a year ago when I was campaigning for this role, and he's been a mentor and someone that I turned to for advice and to talk to. I think it's really helpful to have that historical, institutional knowledge," Zappone said.

While both men made history with their service on the council, they both have similar views on how their identities as members of the LGBTQ+ community played a role in their decisions to run. For them, the chance to help the community was what drove them to serve their constituents.

"I was first and foremost a member of the Spokane City Council. Secondarily, I was a member of the LGBTQ community," Lynch said.

"It shows a lot of the progress that we are making in our community, but it's also just one part of my identity," Zappone said. "I didn't run to be an out elected official, I ran to help and serve our community."

Zappone, a local teacher, was sworn-in to his seat in front of his students at North Central High School - the same school he attended. After making history by winning office, Zappone said he's seen the progress Spokane has made as a city.

"When I was in high school at North Central, I think I knew one out person in my high school. Today I teach at North Central and the principal has a pride flag in her office that shows how inclusive we are for all students and all members of our community," Zappone said, also noting that he wasn't subjected to any incidents of hate based on his sexual orientation during his campaign.