Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

King County Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 5

4-year term in counties with over 100,000 population; 4 or 6 year term in smaller counties. Salary varies with district. The Port District is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the port facilities within its jurisdiction. The commission sets the general policies of the district, which are implemented by the hired professional Port Director and the professional staff. One of commission's main duties is the adoption of the district's budget and proposal of any port levies to be placed on the ballot to the people. The commission sets policies and approves all spending via the budget, whether for operations or capital items or public facility maintenance and improvements. The council also sets salaries for district employees.

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Fred Felleman

  • Candidate picture

    Garth Jacobson

Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

What are three major issues facing the port?

How do you want to address these issues?

What part should your district play in your area’s environmental health?

How, if at all, will the changing climate affect your port and its environs?

What experiences have you had that prepares you for this position?

Phone (206) 595-3825
Town where you live Seattle
Experience (300 characters max) Vice-Chair, Seattle Port Commission; Governor Inslee's Maritime Blue Task Force; Highline Forum Chairperson; Northwest Consultant for Friends of the Earth; Port of Seattle Tribal Liaison Co-Chair; Founding Chair, Port's Energy & Sustainability Committee; King County Climate Collaborative
I’m running for re-election to increase the Port’s economic impact while reducing its carbon footprint and ensuring that acountability and social equity are integrated into all Port decision-making. In my next term I will continue to: Reduce of the Port’s GHG emissions; Stimulate an economy that works for everyone by promoting green innovations, while protecting our working waterfront and industrial lands; Expand opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses, while seeking environmental and economic justice for disproportionately impacted communities; Inspire youth to pursue Port-related jobs of-the-future, by championing innovation, apprenticeships and internships. And be accessible, inclusive and responsive to community interests. I will continue to champion Port policies rooted in fiscal responsibility, ecological integrity and social equity.
Climate Change: I’m committed to helping the Port achieve its Century Agenda goal of becoming the cleanest, greenest Port in the nation. Taking initiaties to reduce the Port’s greenhouse gas emissions is a key component of meeting this important goal.

Sustainable Economic Growth: We are working to make sure that the economic prosperity generated by Port-related family-wage careers is enjoyed as widely as possible to support our communities and quality of life. As the technology sector rapidly increases the the cost of living in Seattle and King County, we must ensure that our families and workers can continue to afford to live and work here.

Social Equity: The Port needs to evaluate the success of our equity and diversity efforts in large part by the degree to which there are increased opportunities for small, minority and women-owned businesses in the workplace. The Port’s recent disparity study makes it clear that there is room for much improvement on this front.
Climate Change: I championed the creation of the Port's Energy and Sustainability Committee. The Committee’s work has led the creation of a center for environmental excellence at the Port, installation of 2 solar arrays and a blue carbon pilot project and the development of an environmentl screening tool that will be used by staff to transparently provide the Commission with environmental alternatives associated with large capital projects. Sustainable Economic Growth: On the waterfront we’ve committed $240 million to reopening Terminal 5 for large containerships as part of the Seaport Alliance collaboration with the Port of Tacoma. At SeaTac we're opening an international arrivals facility, expanding the North Satellite terminal, and planning for an entirely new passenger terminal. Social Equity: It is critical that these economic opportunities are shared by a broad cross section of the public. The Commission has initiated a Diversity in Contracting policy and new priority hire.
The Port of Seattle operates throughout King County and the Puget Sound region, and environmental health is a key factor in all of our decision-making. During my tenure, the Port became a member of the King County Cities Climate Collaborative (K4C) that enables us to coordinate our climate initiatives with neighboring jurisdictions. I actively work with Duwamish Environmental Justice Project to improve that waterway's health. As Chair of the Highline Forum, I work with communities and neighborhoods surrounding the SeaTac Airport to reduce impacts to them.
Climate change can have very real consequences for port operations and the community we operate within both in terms of impacts on the natural and regulatory environment.

Without significant corrective actions much of the seaport will eventually be inundated by sea level rise. Our storm water systems will be backed up and access to and from the terminals by trucks and trains will become increasingly difficult. Dramatic changes in the weather will not only increase the risk of maritime accidents but they can also wreck-havoc on flight schedules.

In addition to State and some federal efforts, there are a variety of international initiatives to reduce carbon emissions from ships and planes. However, many of these changes take years to initiate and even longer to implement. Therefore, it is all the more urgent for local jurisdictions to do their part as well.

The port works with very energy intensive industries that we are actively working to decarbonize it.
Throughout my career as an environmental consultant I have always worked on behalf of the public interest in that the environment touches everyone. My clients have included local and tribal governments as well as local, state and national environmental organizations. Prior to my tenure as a Port Commissioner I spent 20 years overseeing the Port’s environmental activities, especially operation of cruise ship terminals. I have a BSc in Psychology from the University of Michigan and an MSc in Fisheries biology from University of Washington. Some of my past achievements over three decades include: banning oil and gas development off our coast; championing the creation of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and the establishment of the emergency response tug in Neah Bay. I also played key roles in the establishment of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and the listing of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Community under the Endangered Species Act.
Phone (206) 985-6965
Town where you live Seattle
Experience (300 characters max) I have practice law in both the public and private sectors including Chief Legal Counsel to the MT Sec. of State and Sr. Government Relations Attorney for CT Corporation where I am involved with improving laws for small business. I have taught seminars in ethics, business law, and tax law.
The cumulative effects of poor airport growth planning and questionable tax increases for the expansion of new cruise line terminals drove me to becoming a candidate. As a frequent flyer I have seen the airport deteriorate as it continues to expand. Those travel pains led me to want to make it better.
The question divides between the airport and the sea port. First, I think the airport needs to better address its growing pains and it failure to address the unintended consequences of growth. Second, The seaport need to address its need for new construction of cruise line terminals. Third, Serious efforts need to be made to address cyber security issues.
For the airport I want to improve the traffic flow by directing taxis, Ubers, Lifts, etc. to use the 3rd floor pickup location for drop offs also. We need to rethink traffic flows for buses. Likewise the parking garage should have lights that identify the open stalls similar to Portland airport. We need to reduce the wait time for TSA lines through extra lines. Finally all of the new growth and construction needs careful monitoring to prevent cost overruns. For the seaport I would hit the pause button on new cruise line terminals. Cruise ships pollute 3 to 4 times more per passenger mile than jet planes. We need to reexamine the need to add extra Alaska cruise ships in light of global warming and other environmental concerns.

Cyber security should be a play in number one priority for protecting the airport and seaport operations.
The Port Authority should reduce traffic congestion at the airport though the use of smart city technology. That can reduce car pollution emissions. Likewise it should rethink increasing cruise ship growth because of the adverse pollution effects of cruise ships. We should consider electric trucks for transporting containers from the ships. There are other technology measures that the port authority should support to reduce airport and seaport pollution related to improving airplane and ship technologies.
If the seas rise due to global warming then much will need to be done to change the infrastructure of the seaport operations. Likewise if the need for reduction of greenhouse gasses causes less airport traffic due to reduction in travel, then handling debt load caused by reduces airport tax revenue will need to be addressed. Likewise if the airport becomes under used due to reductions in airline travel then the port will need to address what to do with vacated gates and unused spaces.
I obtained a BA in Economics and Philosophy, Law Degree (Juris Doctor) and Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Montana. I also hold a Master of Tax Law degree from the University of Washington. I have practiced law in the public and private sector. I hold leadership positions in the American Bar Association Science and Technology and Business Law Sections. I have been active in the community. The Council of State Governments named me a Toll Fellow for outstanding leadership in state government. Further bio information can be found at my website garth4betterport