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Whatcom Port of Bellingham All Commissioner District 2

4-year term Salary $8,400 The Port District is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the port facilities within their jurisdiction. The commission sets the general policies of the district, which are implemented by the hired professional Port Director and their 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.
  • Candidate picture

    Ken Bell (NP) Self Employed

  • Barry Wenger (NP)

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Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

What are three major issues facing the port?

Of the three, which one is the most urgent?

What is your primary interest in the operation of the port?

Phone (360) 739-1002
Town where you live Bellingham
Experience (300 characters max) President: Best Recycling, Inc: Iron Creek Group LLC.: Bell Development Corporation. Board member Step Denver - homeless shelter and addiction recovery facility Board Member WBS: Mayors Neighborhood Advisory Committee Whatcom County Planning Commission Whatcom County Charter Review Commission
The mission of the Port of Bellingham is to fulfill the essential transportation and economic development needs of the region. This is clearly where my expertise lies. My work has taught me how to create jobs in and around transportation hubs. I have also witnessed the best and worst ports in the world and know what works. This community must get this right and they must start working on it now. We have missed too many opportunities to bring quality employers to this county and that must stop. There are few public places where my skill set can be utilized to it's fullest but the Port of Bellingham is one of those areas. I'm not a legislator, policy maker or regulator. What I am is a businessman that uses port facilities and communicates with legislators, policy makers and regulators to provide jobs to my employees. My ability to communicate to potential employers will be so beneficial to selling this great community and gaining their trust. After all I am one of them.
1.) Making the waterfront and interesting and diverse place. If we get the redevelopment of the GP site wrong or we let the infrastructure in Fairhaven or the Blaine Harbor deteriorate, Whatcom County will suffer. The redevelopment must include real working wage jobs. We must bring a mix of industrial jobs, tourist activities and culture to our visioning process. Our history cannot be lost in the process. 2.) Work with the city on homelessness. This is a universal problem and it requires more than warehousing people as its solution. The problem is not to few houses, it’s much more complicated than that and it needs our attention. If we do not address addiction, mental illness and the transient nature of the homeless population we will never get a handle on it. This impacts the port as much as the City of Bellingham. We cannot be disinterested parties in this discussion. 3.) We must be responsible. The damage done by previous generations must be cleaned up and we must do no more harm.
Work on a diverse environment. A great port is created by design. It should have Hotels, housing, trails, museums, markets and a vibrant working environment. Something for everyone. It should attract mechanics, laborers, shoppers, diners, and overnight guests. We need to drive business into the cities and thorough the entire county. Any economic activity must benefit the farmers in the county, the cities that surround the water and the industries that already provide jobs to this community. If we can help employers that already employ county residents and create an environment for future technologies to thrive then I will have done my job. Imagine the port properties as a gateway into the rest of the county. We should care about the success of Kulshan Cycles, Man Pies, Lynden Tractor, Hovander farms, Chukanut Cheesecake and Faithlife as much as the waterfront properties.
Visioning. For all of the reasons stated above. Technology is changing the way work is being done and the way jobs will be created in the future. I want to make sure this county is prepared for the technological revolution that is taking place in the world. We need to be leaders in preparing our workforce for those changes and provide the opportunities for new ideas to thrive.
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