While the other two Port races feature an incumbent trying to stave off an election challenger, the Position 4 race is open after commissioner Tom Albro decided not to run again.
After emerging from a crowded primary, Renton city official Preeti Shridhar and former Seattle Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck will battle it out in the Nov. 7 election for the sole open seat on the Port of Seattle Commission.
The contest, to replace departing commission President Tom Albro for Position 4, features two candidates with backgrounds in local city government who are keen on creating jobs and protecting the environment.
They agree on several issues, like preserving industrial lands for blue-collar jobs, opposing Chris Hansen’s proposed NBA arena in Sodo and hiring a new executive director focused on public accountability to help avoid repeats of recent public-trust issues.
Steinbrueck, who was on the Seattle City Council for 11 years ending in 2007, has since run his own consulting firm that serves local governments and urban-design companies.
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His endorsements include Albro, King County Sheriff John Urquhart and environmental leader Denis Hayes. He’s raised $71,000, and his top donors include the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, Alaska Airlines, and prominent local developers Martin Selig and Kevin Daniels.
Shridhar, who has spent 25 years working for the cities of Seattle and Renton, has specialized in public-affairs programs for the environment and economy.
She counts among her endorsements U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, and the mayors of several South King County cities, such as Renton and Auburn.
She has raised $35,000, mostly from other members of the local Indian-American community (she came to the U.S. from India in 1986).
Here’s where they differ on some key issues:
Both candidates support studying a potential second major regional airport.
But Shridhar wants to encourage the use of biofuels for planes to lessen the environmental impact from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on nearby communities as more flights are added.
Steinbrueck, meanwhile, wants to prioritize improving the airport’s light-rail station, which he says is too far from the terminals and especially difficult for disabled travelers, and possibly to add a people-mover system at the airport.
Steinbrueck said he’d like to see the flat tax that the Port charges on property owners — about 15 cents per every $1,000 in assessed value — lowered over time and possibly even eliminated as current projects that rely on the tax revenue are completed.
Shridhar defends the tax as funding critical causes like workforce development. With rising property values, she’s optimistic the Port could still generate “a strong source of funding” without raising the tax further.
Shridhar, describes herself as a grass-roots candidate without major funding from special interests, arguing that her approachability and open-door policy will make her the best choice.
She also points to her long track record on environmental issues, dating back to efforts to increase recycling decades ago in Seattle. And she wants to focus on inclusion “for all,” including help for lower-income workers and immigrants.
Steinbrueck argues that his policy experience, including negotiating with labor unions in Seattle, sets him apart. He cites his relationships in local government and his track record of protecting industrial areas to support working-class jobs. And he points to his support from business groups and noted proudly that he’s not endorsed by the left-leaning Stranger newspaper, which he called “The Strangler.”