I have never registered with a political party, nor have I ever spoken out in public for or against any candidate. Why now? Because a good friend and business associate is running for office. Renata Kowalczyk is running for port commissioner, District 1, and I am enthusiastically supporting her in every way I can.
Renata is one of the most energetic, smart, capable and truly competent people I have ever met, let alone worked with. Her personal story is compelling: if I were to land on the shores of another country with the equivalent of 20 bucks in my pocket and three sentences of the language, I don't know if I would end up with a master's degree from an outstanding university within 15 years, but that is exactly what Renata did.
It is also the smarts, thorough preparation, and incredibly hard work I believe she will bring to the port commission. Renata has the support of the Commercial Fisherman's Association because of her strong support for a working waterfront and her appreciation for the hard work involved in those industries. She even asked to go out on one of the boats (and went) for a 36-hour trip in order to get a better sense of the challenges they face; something I'm not sure I'd be willing to do.
This is the kind of listening, thoughtfulness and fortitude I want representing me on the port. I hope you will join me in voting Renata for Port of Bellingham, District 1.