Port of Seattle Commission, position 2 – Preeti Shridhar

Municipal/Other Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Preeti Shridhar
  • Position Sought: Port of Seattle Commission, position 2 (Non-incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 45th
  • 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.

I have lived in King County for over 27 years and have dedicated my career to public service, working for accountability, transparency, and decisions made in an open and honest manner. I currently serve as the Deputy Public Affairs Administrator for the City of Renton, where I have worked for almost 13 years. Prior to that I worked for 15 years for the City of Seattle. I have worked for years with various community groups – residents, neighborhoods, businesses and key stakeholders to make sure they are informed and engaged in issues that impact them. I am a seasoned communications expert.

I have 17 years of experience working with King County cities, businesses, and community organizations. I have helped Renton achieve significant growth and economic development, and recognition as one of the region’s leading cities. I lead the city’s intergovernmental relations and legislative policy agenda, serve as lead negotiator on key capital efforts and major regional initiatives including transportation, homelessness, and the Renton airport.

I created and manage the City’s inclusion program and have reached out to immigrant communities and other residents to make sure they have the services they need. I have been recognized nationally for innovative outreach and communications to diverse communities. Among my key achievements include implementing an inclusive hiring process for Renton, securing millions of dollars of state funding for Renton’s Sunset area revitalization, building a community center for underprivileged youth in partnership with Seahawks Doug Baldwin, regional transportation priorities, funding for downtown Renton streets and seismic repairs of a major bridge. I also helped to launch the City of Seattle’s Climate Protection Initiative and introduced the City’s recycling and water conservation programs.

I ran for Port of Seattle Commission in 2017, finishing first in the primary. I earned a master’s degree in finance & marketing and a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

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

I want to ensure that our region stays competitive and that our entire community shares in our economic prosperity.
The Port is responsible for billions of dollars of the region’s economy in the most trade-dependent state in the nation. The Port Commission makes decisions that have great influence in King County and throughout the state. It is imperative that this position uphold transparency and accountability in Port operations. With my strong experience in all these areas and the recent announcement of an open seat the timing was right for me to announce my candidacy.

I would like to see the Port build an inclusive economy and create opportunities for all, uphold our community values, protect our environment and make sure decisions are made in an open and honest fashion. I will hold the Port accountable to the public and use public input to inform my decisions. I will strengthen our seaport and airport and build an economy for everyone. I will ensure that equity in hiring and contracting is practiced and that the Port’s impact on our water quality and air quality is minimized.

I want to provide a voice for the people who live around Sea-Tac Airport so that they can benefit from that economic engine and not suffer hardships from living near it. Equity in hiring and contractor will be a focus of my work as a commissioner.

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

I have requested endorsement from all of the King County legislative district Democratic organizations. I have received endorsement from both the 46th and the 48th as well as Puget Sound Pilots. I have also received many other endorsements from elected officials throughout King County.
I am reaching out to labor, environmental organizations, and maritime businesses to seek their support. I have already received informal help from all three groups.
I have an experienced campaign manager who worked on my 2017 campaign. I have hired a strategic consultant and a fundraising consultant. In the first month of my campaign I have raised nearly $20,000. I plan to use the money to produce a campaign video and fund advertising in July.
I have active Facebook and Twitter accounts for the campaign and a good website.

Part II – Local Issues

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


While this issue is not within the jurisdiction of the Port Commission, I am familiar with it since the City of Renton banned such a site, as well as Bellevue, Federal Way, and Auburn. While the issue could be revisited in the future, at this time, I can see no place for it within District 31 because of the bans, which were in response to public concerns. If it can be proven that such a site would have a significant positive effect on reducing the impacts of heroin addiction, then that would be reason to revisit.
The heroin epidemic must be addressed holistically so that we can stop this epidemic that has increased crime and overdoses.

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?


Again, this is an issue with which I am familiar since the City of Renton considered it in 2017. Renton declared itself to be an “inclusive” city, but has not yet adopted the label of a sanctuary city. There are many unknowns about whether adopted the label would create backlash from the current federal administration and the term itself is very unclear to people, including immigrants. It could give them a false sense of security. But we have tried to make it clear to local immigrant communities and community leaders that city employees, including police officers, do not check on the immigration status or documentation of the residents.

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


If there is support among the people who would be taxed.

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


There are many ways that this can be done and it would not be punitive against drivers.

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


This has benefits such as keeping the cost of Internet access affordable, but it also creates a layer of administration that would add to the city’s cost. The pros and cons would have to be weighed so that it makes sense.

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


The use of body cameras is a fairly accepted practice currently. I think they provide both accountability for police and defense of their actions when there is a question about law enforcement. There are many nuances to this issue and there have to be clear guidelines about who wears them, when they are activated, and how the video can be used. We must work cooperatively with our police unions to protect the public and the officers.

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?


Local jurisidictions need to have the flexibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of their cities and counties. This artificial limit does not serve the public’s needs and removes the responsibility from local elected officials to make good decisions about property taxes.

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


We cannot have a healthy community without caring for those in need. Proactively providing for them has been shown to be more cost effective and humane than forcing them to access emergency services.

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


Washington State’s economy is booming, thanks, in part, to the economic engine of the Port of Seattle. But the cost of living has risen much faster than wages. We must catch up by raising wages and creating good family-wage jobs.

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


I have devoted my career to improving the health of our environment: introducing Seattle’s first climate protection initiative, as well as its recycling and water conservation programs. I have also worked on behalf of the federal government to support energy and water conservation in India and Jordan.

Part III – Free Response

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

In my public sector work for the past 25 years, I have worked to support all of the goals in the platform. Through my work for the City of Renton, I have developed arts and cultural programming, worked for economic development and inclusion, and generally initiatives that enhance our community. For the City of Seattle, I developed climate action programs, as well as conservation and recycling programs. I worked as a consultant in Jordan and India to promote conservation of water and energy.

As a Port Commission I will support Arts and Culture @ Sea-Tac Airport. The Port’s Sea-Tac music program is a great way to support local artists and to improve awareness of them for travelers.

Economic Justice, Jobs and Tax Fairness – I will support the Sea-Tac Good Jobs Proposition, economic inclusion, and the building trades at all Port facilities. I will support the rights of seaport and airport workers to organize, receive fair wages and benefits, and collectively bargain.

Education – I will support Workforce Development and events such as the Maritime Festival that encourages students to consider jobs in the industry. I will ensure that the Port partners with local school districts to provide vocational education and apprenticeship programs in Port industries. I will support the Port’s Veteran Fellowship program to help military veterans transition to civilian employment.

Environment, Energy, and the Climate Crisis – I will fully support the use of aviation biofuel at Sea-Tac Airport and dockside power for ships to reduce air pollution.

Foreign Policy – As it affects trade and travel, I will work to change the illogical immigration policies of the current federal administration by working with our Congressional delegation. In addition, I will do what I am able to support the rights guaranteed by our Constitution and international human rights law, and I will work to ensure all immigrants receive fair treatment and an opportunity for full integration into our society.

Government and Political Reform – I will support complete transparency in the decisions of the Port Commission and ensure compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act and all state public disclosure rules and regulations.

Transportation – I will promote efficient transportation solutions for airport passengers and ground transportation providers, drayage truck drivers, and cruise lines.

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?

1. The erosion of our civil rights in the form of new laws and court decisions, including the rights of immigrants and their children, as well as violations of our rights to privacy via technology.
2. The polarization of our communities through deceptive information campaigns via social media, which are often picked up and transmitted further by mainstream media.
3. The ongoing crisis in public education with no stable funding sources and still inadequate state resources to fully fund our system, although it is the “paramount duty” of the state to do so.

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

1. Investigate how Port property could be used for temporary or permanent affordable housing.
2. Ensure that the Port is creating jobs in locations where it is more affordable to live.
3. Support employees in Port-related industries who want to organize for better wages, such as those at the airport.

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

In King County there are many barriers to economic prosperity. One of those that can be addressed by the Port is workforce development training in maritime and aviation, where there are many good jobs and the workforce is retiring. I will lead the development of more training, including internships and apprenticeships. I will also support fair contracting processes so that small and minority-owned businesses can compete for Port contracts.

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?

The Port is a key player in identifying and funding transportation improvements. It works closely with representatives of the City of Seattle, Sound Transit, and WSDOT to ensure that freight traffic and vehicle traffic can move smoothly. We need to protect drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians from the big trucks that haul containers to and from the marine terminals. We also need to make sure that I-90 provides access for farmers in eastern Washington to get their products to Asian markets. Having on-dock rail, such as exists at Terminal 5, is important to transport efficiency. I am also a supporter of expanding light rail and would do what I can as a commissioner to ensure that service to the airport is enhanced.

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

The biggest environmental issue at the Port currently is the carbon emissions produced by aircraft at Sea-Tac Airport. Not only does this contribute to climate change, but it degrades the air quality for those who live and work around the airport. If we power every flight leaving Sea-Tac with sustainable aviation biofuel, we can cut carbon emissions by more than half.
Secondly, we need to make sure that all large vessels at dock have access to onshore power so that they do not run their engines, emitting carbon. I will work with local shipping companies, as well as other west coast ports to enforce existing rules and adopt stricter ones.
Thirdly, I will support clean energy alternatives at the airport and the seaport, such as the solar panels installed at Fishermen’s Terminal and the Ports headquarters.

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

The Port’s tax levy has been reduced as property values have risen. I would continue that practice so that the net cost to the property owner remains stable.

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

Printed Name: Preeti Shridhar

Date: 05/21/2019

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