The Port of Seattle is a major driver of the Puget Sound’s economy, fueling trade jobs here, throughout the state and nation, and supporting the city’s role as an international destination.
The port district, which comprises King County, supports marine-industry enterprises and runs an international airport, for starters. Its role is also perhaps the most underestimated and misunderstood of the region’s jurisdictions and the most at risk of being politicized to the detriment of its mandated mission: economic development. That includes some candidates running for port commission posts with platforms that propose it has a role in developing low-income housing. No kidding.
Case in point, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan sent a letter July 15 to the Seattle City Council members, urging them to consider the importance of preserving industrial land.
Vying for Position 2 — the open seat vacated by Courtney Gregoire — two candidates are standouts among seven. But Grant Degginger, an attorney who has a long history of public service, has a strong edge over the other promising candidate, Sam Cho, an exporter with experience working as a legislative aide in Congress and the state Legislature.
Both are committed to preserving the port’s industrial lands and adhering to its economic mission, but Degginger’s depth of high level civic experience with major capital projects as well as his professional experience in construction law would be a boon for a port embarking on a construction spree. That includes a massive upgrade of waterfront facilities and more than $3 billion worth of investments at Seattle Tacoma International Airport.
Degginger served on the Bellevue City Council from 1999 to 2011, including four years as mayor. Additionally, he is best positioned to tackle the port district’s notoriety for lack of transparency as the former chair of the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, an agency with transparency baked into its mission. Degginger’s experience there would be a good influence on an agency that has faced challenges, ranging from troublesome questions of construction cost overruns to the mysterious departure of a high-level executive with a generous severance package.
Grant Degginger is the best candidate for Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position 2.