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SPOKANE, Wash. — If you’ve tuned into a Spokane television station in the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen a campaign ad by Michael Baumgartner that said he “brought a medical school to Spokane.” Did he?

Kind of. While Baumgartner was a senator in Washington state, he sponsored a bill in the primary that would have brought a community-based medical school to Spokane. The companion version of the bill sponsored in the primary by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D) is the version that was ultimately signed by Gov. Jay Inslee (D) in 2017.

NonStop Local reached out to WSU’s Spokane campus and requested a list of key political and community leaders involved in establishing a medical school in Spokane. So far, the list has not been provided.

However, the Baumgartner campaign team cited a 2015 WSU Spokane blog post that collectively thanked Riccelli, Baumgartner and Inslee for their help in securing funding for the law school, citing the campaign ad’s claim.

Riccelli argued that funding should not go to a single person and called the opening of the medical school in Spokane a community achievement.

“The WSU Medical School was a collaborative effort and it is completely inaccurate to say that a single person ‘brought’ it to Spokane,” Riccelli said.

Riccelli’s full remarks are appended to this article, in which he gives his assessment of the creation of the medical school, including the work of Dr. Elison Floyd.

“I believe Mike Baumgartner was a strong partner, and I’m not going to rewrite that story just because he’s a member of a political party I’m not a member of and is running for Congress (and I’m not supporting his candidacy). However, again, it’s completely inaccurate for him to claim that he single-handedly brought the WSU Medical School to Spokane,” Riccelli said.

Campaign ads are expensive and short. Politicians have to cram a lot of information into them in a short space of time, which means they sometimes describe nuanced issues in simplified shorthand.

While the claim that he “brought a medical school to Spokane” does not include the work of other legislators, the WSU community, or the staff who now work at the law school, it is true that he was at the forefront of the policy discussions that led to the creation of the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

FOX28 Spokane©