Port of Seattle Commission, Position 1 – Ryan Calkins

Municipal/Other Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Ryan Calkins
  • Position Sought: Port of Seattle Commission, Position 1 (Incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 43rd
  • Democrat: Yes

Campaign Information

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience.

In addition to serving on the Port Commission since 2017, I have spent nearly a decade of my career working with nonprofit
organizations in the United States and Latin America, working on economic justice and human rights, including my current position with Ventures, a nonprofit that supports low-income entrepreneurs to start and grow their own businesses.
For ten years, I ran an import business in South Seattle that relied on the Port of Seattle as the entry point for products we sourced from around the world. In 2007, I started a microfinance nonprofit that supported the growth of a major poverty alleviation initiative both locally and in Latin America. I have served on several nonprofit boards related to my work in Latin America.

2. What prompted you to run for this office? What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)?

For the last four years, I’ve been a commissioner at the Port– elected to shape one of our region’s most important public assets. During that time, I have worked hard to preserve those jobs and to create new ones. And, just as important, I’ve opened up new opportunities for everyone to share in the prosperity that a growing economy brings.
I have also worked hard to make the Port of Seattle an environmental leader, demonstrating that economic growth and sustainability are critical components of our future. Done right, responding to climate change can actually mean new jobs and industries for our region. We need to overhaul the way we fuel our ships, planes, and trucks before it’s too late. That’s why we cut our carbon emissions in half, ten years ahead of schedule, and are pursuing the most ambitious environmental agenda of any port in the nation.
At the same time, I know that we all rely on the Port to perform well. We all deserve a clean, stress-free, and enjoyable experience when we fly through Sea-Tac. And we depend upon the seaport for the food on our table and the packages arriving on our doorsteps.

3. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

So far my re-election campaign is off to a strong start – I have raised over $30,000 and received prominent early endorsements from the Sierra Club, Port of Seattle Fire Fighters, fellow Commissioners Cho and Felleman, Executive Dow Constantine, King County Councilmembers Kohl-Welles, McDermott, and Zahilay, numerous State Senators and Representatives, and many community leaders.
My plan to win is to highlight our strong record of accomplishment from the last several years, as well as share elements of my bold agenda to continue improving our Port, taking action on climate change, and building a truly sustainable and equitable economy for everyone in our region. I will continue raising money and seeking endorsements to demonstrate the strength of our campaign, and will continue to introduce myself to voters through Democratic LD organizations, community groups, and field efforts.

Part II – Local Issues

1. Would you support the establishment of a safe injection site in your district?


2. Would you support the administration and police force in your jurisdiction adopting a sanctuary policy, forbidding the sharing of local resources and labor with ICE?


3. Do you support raising revenue at the city level to expand transit service?


4. Should transportation policy discourage the use of private automobiles and encourage the use of public-transit?


5. Do you support building a municipally owned and operated broadband system in your city or jurisdiction?


6. Do you support requiring police officers in your jurisdiction to wear body cameras?


7. Do you support repealing Tim Eyman’s I-747, which artificially limits property tax increases to 1% per year, regardless of population growth, inflation, and need?


8. Should government assist individuals, and families who are without sufficient food, shelter, or basic necessities through no fault of their own?


9. Should the wages paid to workers in Washington State be raised incrementally towards the goal of living wages?


10. Will you seek opportunities to mitigate the human activities that are contributing to disastrous climate change?


Part III – Free Response

1. Why are you requesting Democratic endorsement? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?

I was a first time candidate elected to the Seattle Port Commission in 2017. On the commission, I have worked with fellow elected officials to support small businesses, address the impacts of climate change, support the Port’s workers, and advocate a greener, more equitable local economy for all. I have served on numerous Democratic campaigns and progressive initiatives and referendums, from supporting Darcy Burner to Brady Walkinshaw, and doorbelling for R-74 (marriage equality) and I-1491 (gun safety). I have served as a PCO, was a delegate for Obama to the Washington State Convention in 2008 as a 36th District Democrat, and interned as a legislative assistant and speechwriter for Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut.
As an elected official, I have endorsed and supported Democrats running for all levels of office, donating, fundraising, and volunteering through doorbelling and phonebanking.

2. What important local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the media?

If there were an issue particular to our region that I wish garnered more attention from media it would be tribal relations. At the Port, I’m working to strengthen ties with the sovereign nations whose ancestral lands we operate on.

3. Please list up to three specific, concrete actions you would support to ease the homelessness crisis.

Expand our tiny home village at the Tsubota property.
Advocate for an end to the apartment ban in many parts of King County.
Seek additional progressive revenue to support the King County Regional Homelessness Initiative.

4. What are the barriers to economic prosperity faced by residents in your jurisdiction, and how do you plan to address them?

I believe that access to high-quality education, from early childhood through college, is key to longterm prosperity. Which is why I initiated the new Maritime High School, opening in Highline school district this September.

5. What are the transportation/transit challenges which face this jurisdiction and how would you address them? What role does rail play in your proposed solutions?

In spite of the current reduction in demand at Sea-Tac, over the longer term, we will return to levels of demand that create congestion on the approaches and in the terminals. I have advocated for the creation of a Transportation Management Association that would pool the efforts of all 350 businesses at the airport in order to take advantage of economies of scale in commute trip reduction.

6. What are your jurisdiction’s environmental issues, which ones are urgent and what will you do to address them?

GHG and local air pollution emissions are the greatest environmental issue for the Port, and I’m working to introduce renewable energy options for both. At the airport, we have committed to 10% sustainable aviation fuels by 2027 and 50% by 2050. At the seaport we are working with the City of Seattle on a central waterfront decarbonization plan.

7. Does your district have a taxing authority or propose levies and what changes, if any, would you seek?

The Port levies a tax on property value in the county. I would seek an end to Eyman’s 1% cap.

By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.

Printed Name: Ryan Calkins

Date: 03/24/2021

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