August 1, 2017 is the Primary and Special Election. To have a sense of the Port of Seattle’s issues, Mitsue Cook interviewed Peter Steinbrueck, a consultant to the Port of Seattle and former City Councilman who is running for Port Commissioner, Position 4. He was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard School of Design, who studied the environment, climate change and urban strategies in the United States.
Mitsue Cook: What are important facts about Washington State and the Port?
Peter Steinbrueck: According to the State of Washington, Department of Commerce, “Washington is America’s top state for business in 2017.” The Port of Seattle is one of the fastest growing airports and busiest shipping ports.
The Port creates jobs and economic opportunities. It also means our connection to the rest of the world by airports and by ships passing through.
Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the United States with the Port driving the economy of the region.
Cook: What is the Port of Seattle and who are the commissioners?
Steinbrueck: The Port of Seattle is governed by five commissioners, elected at large by the voters of King County. They establish policy and they hire its executive director. They serve four-year terms and establish Port policy.
In 2017, the Port established a Century Agenda with three points to drive the economy in this region:
- Vision. Over the next 25 years, we will add 100,000 jobs through economic-growth led by the Port of Seattle, for a total of 300,000 port-related jobs within the region, while reducing our environmental footprint.
- Mission. The Port of Seattle is a public agency that creates jobs by advancing trade and commerce promoting industrial growth, and stimulating economic development.
- Commitment. The Port of Seattle creates economic opportunity for all, stewards the environment responsibly, partners with surrounding communities, conduct ourselves transparently, and holds ourselves accountable. We will leave succeeding generations as tronger Port.
Cook: What are key issues at the Port of Seattle?
Steinbrueck: Transparency and ethics with full accountability are necessary. No more illegal pay raises.
Cook: What are other key issues?
Steinbrueck: Good jobs, good governance, and greening of the Port are some the key issues. The state’s largest port needs to remain globally competitive. The public policy and the investments must align.
Green the Port. Deep green.
More equitable living wage jobs for blue collar workers are important. More vocational training for youth is needed for the future of the Port.
Cruise lines and the Pacific fishing fleet are important job creators.
Improved relations with communities and local communities are important.
Cook: What about the Asia Pacific Community?
Steinbrueck: More job training and equitable employment opportunities are needed. Not all kids are well suited for college, and there are other pathways to good jobs for them.
Cook: What environmental conditions need to be improved?
Steinbrueck: There is too much noise and air pollution due to air traffic. There needs to be a regional airport, quieter jets and cleaner jet fuels.
On October 12, the API Candidate Forum for Port Commissioners will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Nagomi Tea House in the Chinatown International District. It will be sponsored by 24 API organizations. The November General Election candidates for Port Commissioner will be discussing the Port’s issues and their positions.