I grew up in the northern Puget Sound, near the water, and I feel blessed to have spent my whole life contributing to this region. It was somewhat inevitable that I would become deeply involved in union activism, and maritime, manufacturing, airport advocacy, as both of my parents were Boeing machinists (IAM Local 751) and both were in the military and involved in aviation. My grandfather was a merchant mariner in his youth, a union waterfront machinist out of San Pedro, and worked on the Black Ball Ferry Line in Seattle. My other grandfather was a cannery worker in the USWA, born to Polish immigrants who arrived in the United States in the 1880s. I like to think I honor those roots and carry them through my union work and activism today.
In 1998 I signed up to work on Seattle’s waterfront and spent the next 19 years working hard to learn everything I could about the complexities of operating and managing Seattle’s great working waterfront. Coming in as an outsider to this industry that had been established for decades, I learned and experienced the most important lesson of my career, that workers and communities are too often treated as outsiders. I realized then the need for a representative voice on the Port of Seattle’s Commission to empower and include the surrounding communities. Advancing the cause of Equity and Accountability, and growing family wage jobs is as much the mission of our Port as economic development as a whole, and that will be my focus as a Seattle Port Commissioner.
I have always been active and interested in politics, particularly around reform and social justice issues. I have served on volunteer boards, have worked with executive directors and CEOs, have developed and overseen budgets, worked with staff at all levels, run in elections large and small, and most importantly, I have worked tirelessly to inspire and include people normally left out of the decision-making process. And I have developed strong ties with members of greater Seattle’s environmental and environmental justice communities.
Throughout all of my professional work and public service, I have worked for social justice, equity, transparency, accountability, and environmental sustainability. I have listened to hundreds of people, and believe that I can be a strong voice for everyone in King County.
My work in the maritime industry has led to some positive results and a wealth of experience. My work with the Port of Seattle, City of Seattle, stakeholder groups and panels, credit unions, co-ops, the ILWU, and with others throughout the years has given me a great breadth of experience and wisdom to understand what is needed to reform complex systems like the Port and to make sure that every stakeholder has a voice in the process. If elected as a Port Commissioner, I will come to the position with a deep understanding of the businesses that make the Port so successful, and of the people who are the heart and soul of those businesses.
Today, I live with my wife and five year-old son in Seattle’s Georgetown community, that has been impacted for years by the Port of Seattle. This neighborhood is underneath two flight paths and next to a superfund site in the Duwamish River. While my family and I enjoy what the community has to offer, there is still much to be done. The Port of Seattle must be a proactive partner in the future, beyond just rectifying the past impacts to this and many other communities, like those near the airport and marine terminals.
I am proud to bring my maritime, aviation and labor union heritage to my candidacy for Seattle’s Port Commission, and I believe that my high ethical standards, and deep connections in our community will bring a needed, positive perspective to the Port Commission.