An appeal to Whitefish: Live and let live

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Through a series of fortuitous events in 2004, we discovered Whitefish and the Flathead Valley. On our first trip, we knew this was the place we wanted to build a future for our family. We bought our lot on Big Mountain, began a lasting friendship with our Realtor and his wife, and set our plans in motion to build our home, with dreams of creating many memories for us, our children, and grandchildren: skiing, fishing, hiking, sharing Christmases with friends and family and enjoying all that this very beautiful part of the world has to offer.

We are the parents of Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute and a leader in the alt-right movement. As parents we love our son. We are not accustomed to the spotlight. Furthermore, we feel we are not part of the story, nor do we wish to be a part of this story, as our son is a grown man.

We are not racists. We have never been racists. We do not endorse the idea of white nationalism. As Richard reported to the Dallas Morning News, “Their [my parents] political views are not mine.” Further quoting Richard, “You would’ve never guessed that I would become a political radical. When I was a kid in Dallas — even a young man in Dallas — I was not a political radical. I don’t think there was anything in my childhood that inspired me to go down this path. If anything, I went down this path in spite of my background.”

We love Whitefish, and we have quickly evolved from being strictly part-time vacationers into making this a home. We began to explore a project in the Railroad District, believing we could create something that would add value to Whitefish.

We worked with a visionary local architect, an exceptionally competent and ethical local builder, and numerous talented local artisans. We built 22, a mixed-use building at 22 Lupfer Ave. We are very proud of the building and what it brings to the Whitefish community.

The building has nothing to do with Richard’s career or politics, nor does it benefit him in any way financially. It is owned 100 percent by Sherry, under the corporation of 22 Lupfer Inc. and is filled with her art, bikes, paddleboards, ski racks and lockers, etc., with the sole goal of providing an upscale, fun vacation rental for tourists to the Flathead Valley. Richard and the National Policy Institute have never had, do not have, and will not in the future have any office or professional activities at 22 Lupfer.

Nevertheless, our building and the retail tenants have been targeted by some in the Flathead community because of Richard and the National Policy Institute.

On Nov. 22, a distressed commercial tenant called stating that she had been warned that there would soon be up to 200 picketers and national news coverage at 22 Lupfer. Our tenants are innocent victims and their businesses are threatened with boycotts for something over which they have no control.

There is no justification for their sustaining collateral damage. We, too, are victims, having no role in any of the events that have unfolded recently. A wise friend recently consoled us that being a parent, especially of an adult, is one of accepting responsibility without having control.

We love Whitefish and the Flathead area. We have made many dear friends during the last 12 years. It is our desire and intent to be a valuable and contributing part of the community. We hope we can continue to have a place here among you in the future.

Rand and Sherry Spencer divide their time between Dallas and Whitefish.

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