Craig Peterson – Spokane in Perspective

“Go!! Go for it.”

Anything we were doing [in the 1990s] felt like it was new and it was trailblazing. I loved that. And really, Spokane gave me this feeling that if you want it done, roll up your sleeves and do it. The bad news is no one is going to do it for you, but the good news is, it probably hasn’t been done, so whatever you want to do: Go!! Go for it. That’s why, when I came to Denver, I was able to keep building on those successes and jump into the moderator’s role [for the church] right away—because I had that confidence that I think came from my Eastern Washington experience.

Spokane is a good place to [try things]. There’s risks—but every city in the United States has them. Let’s say, for instance, comparing Spokane to like Seattle or Los Angeles or whatever. In those bigger communities they’re more established, there is so much more politics around, “Oh, well, you want to do that? Make sure you get So-and-So’s approval, or whatever,” whether it’s a person or organization. In Spokane, you can just say, “I’ll get three or four of us together, and let’s try it.” When I ran for state office, for instance, I never put together an exploratory committee or anything like that. I just wanted to do it, so I did it. That wouldn’t happen in other parts of the country, but it does in Spokane and I like that.


Here [in Denver] it’s so amazing. I’m in a Presbyterian clergy group and there is a lesbian who is serving in the Presbyterian church, who grew up and graduated just a few years ahead of me from Cheney. And so, it was so empowering to find each other and to say “I made it through Eastern Washington!”


I tend to be pretty candid in my responses [laughs] so I’m probably not the best “objective,” observer. But I really do love the community. The positive I leave you with is: Spokane was a community that empowered me and sent me into the world thinking that I could do anything I wanted to. The sad thing is, the only limit to that is that, people usually have to leave Spokane in order to do what it prepares you for. [Sadly:] Yeah.


Sources: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, [December 2006?]; transcribed by Maureen Nickerson and Laura S. Hodgman; edited by Laura S. Hodgman; held at the Northwest Museum for Arts and Culture. Interview with Laura S. Hodgman on 21 August 2012; transcribed by J. Zander; edited by Laura S. Hodgman