Port of Seattle Commission (Pos. 4) – Peter Steinbrueck

Candidate Questionnaire

1. Your name

Peter Steinbrueck

2. Candidate for:

Seattle King County Port Commission (Position 4)
Party Affiliation: Democrat

3. Campaign information

4. If elected, what positive changes will you champion that will benefit the 31st LD?

My top goal is to create more equitable, living wage jobs. The Port’s shipping facilities, along with our iconic Pacific fishing fleet at Fisherman’s terminal, employ over 70,000 stable living wage jobs to our region. Cruise ships draw nearly a million passengers yearly. The Port and its partners must do more to extend their reach into underserved communities and provide more student internships, job training and equitable employment opportunities, especially in underserved communities.

5. What are the three most critical issues you expect to encounter in the office you are seeking?

First, I support the ambitious Century Agenda for creating over 100,000 new jobs in the next 20 years. More than a third of local jobs are dependent on trade – these are good, high paying jobs. To keep them, we’re facing increased competition from Canada, other west coast ports and from the widened Panama Canal. The NW Seaport Alliance is our pacific gateway, job creator, and economic engine for our region and the state. To remain competitive in new global economy, the port must make strategic investments to modernize its shipping facilities and operations, to ensure seaport operators and shippers continue to see the port as a cost effective and efficient place to do business.

Second, my goal is to make the Port of Seattle the greenest port in America. It’s time to begin studies for another regional airport, and promote quieter jets and cleaner jet fuels. The Port must lead in climate, restoring shorelines, and reducing noise. I will work hard to increase the port’s commitment to environmental protections for reducing noise, air pollution, improving water quality, and impacts to surrounding communities. SeaTac airport is one of the fastest growing airports nationwide, but it’s noise and air pollution impacts are fast growing too. It’s time to begin studies for another regional airport, and promote quieter jets and cleaner jet fuels. The Port of Seattle must lead in reducing carbon emissions, restoring shorelines, and limiting noise.

Third, the port is a public authority, supported by our tax dollars. Unfortunately, the port has suffered from persistent negative public perceptions due to news reports of ethical lapses, financial mishaps, and poor hiring decisions. There is also a general lack of public awareness about the mission of the port, who the port serves, and the immense value of our state’s maritime industry. To successfully advance its ambitious Century Agenda, there must be greater public confidence and trust in the port’s governance. in the immediate, the port needs to hire a highly qualified new executive director who will honor and carry forward the mission of the port as a public authority. The ideal candidate will not only be an experienced business manager, but one who is a demonstrated ethical leader with a strong commitment to public service. I have considerable experience in my civic life and elective office, appointing good top managers and overseeing their performance, strengthening ethical practices, and overseeing big city budgets. I will bring that kind of strong honest leadership to the port. I work collaboratively with my colleagues on the commission, local governments throughout Washington for better planning, sustainable development, and a more environmentally friendly region. At the port, I’ll work hard to improve relations with neighboring communities and local governments throughout King County.

6. Please give us an example of when you had to a make a critical decision that, due to its impact on others, was difficult. Tell us why you made your decision and what, if any, actions you took to mitigate any negative results.

During my 10 years on the Seattle city council I had to make many tough decisions which affected people’s lives and interests. One example was my initiative “Safe Harbors,” designed to prevent and reduce homelessness countywide. I developed an innovative model for a computerized intake and referral system to extend services for people in need, and improve accountability of public and charitable investments in homeless shelter transitional housing and social services. The city and county strongly supported the new program, but to my surprise was initially met with great resistance by street advocates and some service providers, who felt threatened by the some of the data collection requirements. After more than two years of extensive stakeholder outreach and community dialogue, we refined and strengthened the program by adding privacy protections to ensure confidentiality. The program continues to serve today as an important tool to in the social safety net and wrap around services to people in need throughout King County. When making tough decisions I believe in these simple principles: “do no harm,” and strive for “the greater good.” And people must come before profits and self-interest. That is what principled leadership is about.

7. What methods will you employ to communicate with your constituency on a regular basis?

I believe that all public officials must be accountable to the constituents who elect them. Constant communication with the public is necessary component of that accountability, particularly in considering new policy or before an important decision is made. Commissioners must extend contact into the communities they serve by holding meetings and hearings out in the communities from time to time, and by always being accessible when constituents contact them with a need, problem, or question. Port needs to be forum for public information and community dialogue for before major actions are taken. The port in its communications must work especially hard at reaching out to underserved communities and immigrant populations where language barriers and cultural differences may make effective communication more challenging.

8. What other information would you like us to consider?

I have extensive personal and family background in civic activism, fighting causes for improving the human condition and protecting the planet, and protesting injustices. My earliest activism began during my youth, when I was actively involved in my father’s eight-year civic battle to save the Pike Place Market from the wrecking ball of federal urban renewal. It’s a critical time for the Port. We need an experienced and effective leader to move us forward. I am an architect, urban strategist, community planner. I was a Seattle City Council member for a decade (1997-2007), including two years as its president. I understand land use, transportation, and how government works. I value our all communities and our county’s incredible diversity; I also know the importance of working regionally on issues that impact all of us. I am intimately familiar with the Port, having passed legislation to protect industrial lands, living wage jobs, and having served as a professional consultant to the Port Commission and CEO in the past on land use and strategic planning issues, and I won’t need on-the-job training. In addition to my professional training and skill set, I’m also small business owner and have over 30 years’ experience running a small business including managing, hiring, supervising, and business development.

Throughout of my public, private and professional life, I have always been recognized by my peers, family, friends, clients, and colleagues for my professional and personal integrity, honesty, ethics. I expect the same from the organizations work with. I will bring those same values to the oversight and governance of the Port.

My early support in my campaign for port commissioner comes from a broad spectrum of people and elected officials, including Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib, state legislators Reuven Carlyle, Judy Clibborn, Joan McBride, Jerry Pollet and Tina Orwall, 32nd, 41, and 45th LD Dems, Hon. Larry Gossett, Sheriff John Urquardt, Earth Day co-founder Denis Hayes, civil rights leaders Lem Howell, Alaskan Pacific fisherman Pete Knudson, and many more!

I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.

Signed at: June 27, 2017


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