Northwest News

Port of Olympia race attracts 2 more candidates

The race for the District 3 seat at the Port of Olympia appears to be headed to an August primary.

Bob Jones filed late Monday to run for the seat, while EJ Zita, a faculty member at The Evergreen State College, reportedly has applied for the appointment and says she intends to run for the seat, according to local blogger Janine Unsoeld.

The Olympian could not confirm Zita’s intentions Tuesday.

Jones has applied to be appointed as well.

KRXY-FM Roxy radio station sales manager Jerry Farmer announced last week that he is doing both.

Running for the seat and applying to the port for the appointment is the parallel process that emerged after former commissioner Sue Gunn resigned from her seat April 1. The port needs to appoint someone to fill her seat through November, but it also became an open seat because she resigned before the filing date of May 15.

“I’m a very strong supporter of the port and see it as a vital part of our community,” said Jones, 68, adding that it is an economic engine for the area and provides family-wage jobs.

Jones is a longtime west Olympia resident who has served as board president for the Thurston Economic Development Council and on the board of the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, he said.

Jones retired as a lieutenant colonel after a 22-year career in the Army, including time spent at what was then Fort Lewis. He currently has a consulting business that advises small manufacturers about doing business with the federal government.

He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology education from Indiana University.

Jones has run for office before. He ran unsuccessfully for Olympia mayor in 1993 and for Thurston County Commissioner in 1998, he said.

“My primary interest is in serving the community,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, District 1 incumbent George Barner said Tuesday he still intends to run for a third term, but he needs to find a treasurer and campaign manager before the Friday filing deadline.

“It is what it is,” said Barner, “but I’m working on it.”

State worker Joe Downing has filed to run for Barner’s seat. So far, Downing has raised about $18,000, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.