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New Spokane mayor
sworn in, succeeds recalled Jim West

New Spokane mayor
sworn in, succeeds recalled Jim West

Dennis Hession has been sworn in as mayor of Spokane, Wash., replacing James E. West, who was recalled last month after a City Hall sex scandal. Hession pledged "to be bold and creative" in moving beyond the extraordinary circumstances of the past seven months. "It's not the situation that defines us...but how we respond to it," Hession said Tuesday of the abuse-of-office scandal that brought him to office. He said the city would not dwell on the events that led to West's ouster. Hession, 55, has been acting mayor since West was voted out of office by 65% of the vote in a special recall election on December 6. A lawyer and longtime member of the city's park board, Hession was elected to his first term on the council in 2001 and became council president in 2003. He will serve the remaining two years of West's four-year term. West, a longtime Republican lawmaker and Boy Scout executive, was recalled from office seven months after The Spokesman-Review newspaper began publishing a series of reports alleging that he used his office for personal benefit by soliciting dates with young men. The newspaper accused West of trolling gay Internet chat rooms for dates and offering city jobs and perks to young men in expectation of having sex with them. West denied breaking any laws but acknowledged having relations with adult men. The FBI acknowledged that it was conducting a public corruption investigation after seizing the hard drives of West's work and home computers. Hession has filled in for West at public and ceremonial events since the newspaper began publishing articles about the former mayor's online activities in May. (AP)

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