Port of Seattle Commissioner Position 3 – Stephanie Bowman

Municipal/Other Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Stephanie Bowman
  • Position Sought: Port of Seattle Commissioner Position 3 (Incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 11
  • 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.

My strong progressive values come from my lived experiences: raised by a single mom with limited means, one of my core values is providing opportunity for those furthest from it. My professional work, as well as my service at the Port, is centered on reducing inequities and providing a springboard for those most in need.

For ten years I’ve served as the executive director of Washington ABC, a statewide nonprofit working to alleviate poverty and move people into the middle class by developing savings, homeownership, education and entrepreneurship. My professional work directly influences my work at the Port: I believe the Port should make targeted investments that led to living wage jobs, provide career development opportunities through policies such as apprenticeship utilization and priority hire; advance environmental justice in the Port-impacted communities through restoration and remediation, and provide avenues for minority and women owned businesses to work with the Port.

I’m grateful to have benefited from great public education and an FHA loan to purchase my home as a single working woman. I’m a resident of Beacon Hill, one of the most diverse (and last) working class neighborhoods in Seattle. Finally, I’m proud to have been a Democrat since I was 11 years old.

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

I’m running for re-election because I believe our region is at a crossroads. As we look to recover from the pandemic, we need to ensure the recovery is equitable, inclusive and sustainable. As the Port’s leading advocate for living wage job creation, I have experience using the Port’s investments to create jobs, improve our environment and provide new opportunities for ALL of the communities in King County – not just Seattle – to not just survive, but thrive. One specific example of my work in this area is the economic opportunity grant program I created. In Auburn these grants was instrumental in the creation of the Auburn Small Business Incubator near the light rail station.

I’m tremendously proud of the Port’s record in 2020: we saved thousands from losing their jobs by working in partnership with Labor and continuing our construction projects when other agencies shuttered theirs. In many cases the paychecks from these jobs were the only paychecks coming into a household during the pandemic. Additionally in 2020, I partnered with community organizations and worked to create more than 300 jobs for youth from under-served communities (the “Youth Opportunity Initiative) when NO other employment opportunities were available to these students. I’m continuing this work in 2021.

Moving forward, I’ve set a goal to create 5,000 new green jobs in energy efficiency, carbon reduction and habitat restoration efforts. Port-related industries have a large carbon footprint, and as we address the climate crisis, we should be creating quality, new, sustainable jobs.
I want to make the Port a global leader in environmental stewardship and zero-emission facilities. As an advocate for the Clean Fuels Standard, I worked with climate advocates to explain why sustainable fuels will benefit our economy and address environmental racism. Now, I’d like to leverage upcoming negotiations with major airlines to require more electric plug-in aircraft and increase the use of sustainable aviation fuel. I’ll also continue my partnership in the Duwamish Valley to clean up Seattle’s only river, reduce pollution runoff, and sponsor habitat restoration.

Additionally, I plan to continue to increase opportunities for women and BIPOC businesses to work with the Port. I sponsored a “Diversity in Contracting” Initiative in 2018 that’s resulted in doubling the number of diverse firms with whom the Port contracts. I’m also extremely proud of our efforts to bring in small, locally-owned women and BIPOC businesses into SeaTac Airport. There is ore to be done, and I want build on these efforts throughout the Port and with our community partners in the maritime, fishing and cruise enterprises.

Finally, I want to continue my efforts to have the Port be part of the solution for our unsheltered residents. Three years ago I led the effort to establish the first “tiny house” village on Port property, because I believe all government agencies need to help. I’m working now to expand the village so we can provide housing and stability to more of our neighbors.

I’m humbled every day by the array of complex policy decisions we make on the Port of Seattle Commission – environmental, social justice, operational – that affect not only the quality of life of residents in King County but in many cases have statewide and even global implications. With my lived experience and deep-rooted relationships in King County communities, I’ll keep fighting for lasting change that will make the Port of Seattle a model for addressing social, racial and environmental justice issues.

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

I’m humbled by the outpouring of endorsements and support from unions, elected and community leaders throughout King County. This includes dozens of mayors, state legislators, Executive Dow Constantine and Governors Gregoire and Locke; community leaders such as Estella Ortega and Peter Gishuru, and the Seattle King County Building Trades, the Maritime Unions, and Fire Fighters.

Ours is a people-powered campaign, without contributions from fossil fuel companies, big pharma or health insurance companies. I’m focusing on the issues voters throughout King County care most about: an inclusive, equitable economic recovery, expanding environmental justice for Port-impacted communities, and making the Port an innovation hub for carbon-neutrality advancements in aviation and maritime.

Currently our campaign is socially-distanced, with digital outreach and virtual meetings in every King County community. I’m excited to hear from the voters and develop a shared vision for the future!

Part II – Local Issues

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

Yes

The Port district is technically all of King County and the Port doesn’t have jurisdiction over siting of these facilities. I think it’s critical to work with community members in a city to site such facilities where it can best meet the needs of residents. We must address addiction with proven, evidence-based public health programs such as expanded drug treatment and housing-first policies.

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?

Yes

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

Yes

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

Yes

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

Yes

The pandemic has made clear how essential a reliable internet connection is. Early data already shows how unequal internet access widened the opportunity gap in education. We should act to close these gaps and ensure every resident has reliable internet access. I worked with our public ports association on legislation this past session to allow Ports to offer wholesale broadband.

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

Yes

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?

Yes

I’ve always supported progressive revenue options (such as capital gains tax) which could expand programs to benefit working families.

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

Yes

I work on this issue in my professional job outside of the Port, as the executive director of Washington ABC.

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

Yes

I have always been a strong supporter of raising the minimum wage, but we MUST go beyond $15 and raise wages to a true living wage, and so that every job is quality job and allows people to be truly cared for with health care, family leave and vacation.

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

Yes

I’ve made climate action a priority at our airport and seaport so that we are protecting our air, water and land. This includes bringing plug-in electric technology for aircraft and marine cargo ships, bringing sustainable aviation fuel to SeaTac, and dramatically increasing habitat restoration for our salmon and along our waterways.

Part III – Free Response

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

I’ve been a Democrat since I was 11 years old and wrote my (first) letter to the President, protesting the war in Afghanistan. I support all of the Democratic platform, but most notably addressing the climate crisis and ensuring all people have access to health care.

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) Providing quality employment for youth, particularly from under-served communities. To address this, I led the effort to create more than 700 summer jobs for our region’s youth in the last five years – and more than 250 in the summer of 2020, when every other employer was laying off employees. This gives youth a chance to see the great careers available in the Port industry, which can be life-changing for those with limited opportunities at home.

2) Providing career opportunities for women and BIPOC peoples in the trades. There are AMAZING careers in represented (unionized) trades, and by requiring pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeships as a condition of getting a contract at the Port, we’ve been able to dramatically increase apprenticeship hours. Additionally we’ve partnered with great non-profits like ANEW that provide wrap-around services as well as training, which increase their chance of success.

3) Universal access to broadband. Ports have unique powers to invest in infrastructure, and I believe one way to expand broadband access is my having our 77 public ports offer service, whether wholesale or retail. I’ve worked with our state ports association on this in Olympia.

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

While the Port does not have legal authority to build housing, I led the effort to establish the first “tiny house” village on Port property (at Interbay), partnering with the city of Seattle and the Low Income Housing Institute. I’m currently working on expanding this site so we can house more residents.

I’m also looking at ways local governments, including the Port, can contribute land for affordable housing, since land prices is a major obstacle for housing affordability. Finally, I’m looking at ways the Port can help with bringing a modular home builder to port property. This also would reduce the cost of transportation for these homes and make them more affordable.

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

The Port’s jurisdiction is King County, and the barriers to economic prosperity are greatest for those in south King County, particularly BIPOC communities. Barriers include lack of quality jobs, affordable housing and equitable educational opportunities, and underlying all of that is systemic racism and inequality. I’ve worked hard on all these issues – creating good quality jobs at the Port and with our partners; by increasing training opportunities for youth and adults; creating opportunities for women and minority businesses at the Port, and by having the Port work to help on the homelessness crisis. I’m proud of the South King County Fund we created to invest in communities and increase equity, yet there is still so much to do. I hope to build on my foundation of accomplishments in the next four years to make sure everyone benefits from the Port’s investments, not just some.

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?

We need robust transit service to have an equitable recovery after COVID, by making sure people who don’t drive can still access opportunity. The first step is to get Metro back to full strength, especially in South King County.

At the airport, I’ve worked with Metro to expand late night and early morning bus trips, helping Port take transit and improving service for near-Port communities. I also started golf cart service from the light rail station to the terminal, free of charge, specifically designed for differently abled passengers, and led the effort to improve the station (weatherization) so that passengers are not subject to the cold and rain.

In addition, I’ve partnered with cycling advocates to promote safe bike lanes near Port facilities. All parts of our region should be accessible to cyclists, and March’s fatal collision in Georgetown, between a bike and a semi-truck, highlights the urgency of this issue. These accidents are unacceptable because they’re preventable. I’ll continue working with advocates to implement the Bike Master Plan around Port facilities, making sure there are physical protections for cyclists and clear avenues for freight.

As the County makes post-pandemic service changes, I’ll use my position to advocate for renewed investment in South King County, which deserves more transit service. I was heartened to see the County adopt an equity-lens for bus service, which follows the Port’s use of an equity map starting several years ago. I’ll continue working to boost transit service, which is critical to reducing our carbon emissions and making our region more affordable and accessible.

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

As the economy and Port-related industries recover, I’ll continue pursuing strategies for achieving environmental justice and carbon-neutrality. At the seaport, my priorities include building infrastructure so that ocean-going vessels can plug in at berth (“cold ironing”), as well as working with terminal operators to electrify cargo handling equipment and purchasing zero-emission drayage trucks. These efforts will dramatically reduce air pollution, which is a concern I often hear from residents. This is an urgent issue that I’m working to address.

In addition, I’m pressing the Port to accelerate innovative stormwater initiatives: everything from maintaining our own stormwater utility (the first Port to do so) to using oysters and marine grasses to sequester carbon, in partnership with our tribes. These efforts will help protect our endangered salmon and orcas by cleaning up our waters.

At the airport, we’ll continue the complex effort to bring Sustainable Aviation Fuels to SeaTac. A big step forward was achieved with the passage of HB 1091! But we must also electrify aviation equipment, and expand the use of renewable natural gas (from solid waste, not fracked gas) at Sea-Tac.

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

The Port levies a very small property tax, less than $10 / month for the average home owner. The revenue is used for environmental remediation, community grants and to pay debt service on general obligation bonds. It was also ben used to make investments in regional transportation projects. I wouldn’t propose any changes at this time; I believe this are good investments for the money.


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

Printed Name: Stephanie Bowman

Date: 05/05/2021

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