Northwest News

Olympia chef seeks to stir the pot at Port

Olympia chef Joseph Treacy Kreger has filed to run for Port of Olympia commissioner, setting up a possible August primary for the District 1 seat now held by George Barner.

State financial examiner Joe Downing, a former member of the port’s citizens’ advisory committee, has also filed for the same race, while incumbent Barner, 73, is expected to file for a third term before the May 15 deadline.

Barner said this week he was still trying to find a treasurer and campaign manager.

Kreger, 57, is a lifelong resident of Olympia.

Kreger said he was reluctant to run against Barner because he has known him for a long time, but friends encouraged him to file.

“I made a decision to go ahead and told him I was going to,” he said.

The port does good things, said Kreger, but he’d also like to see the port apply its ability to manage land and assets by developing a regional food system.

“We need a strong food system,” he said.

Kreger is executive chef at St. Andrew’s House, a retreat house in Union, on Hood Canal. He is board president of the Friends of the Olympia Farmers Market. He’s also on the board of supervisors of the Thurston Conversation District, and serves on the board of Slow Food, Greater Olympia.

He attended South Puget Sound Community College and did his culinary training at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.

In terms of fundraising for the District 1 race, Downing, who works for the state Department of Financial Institutions, is well out in front with about $18,000, according to his public disclosure filings.

Meanwhile, E.J. Zita, a physicist at The Evergreen Sate College, made her bid for the District 3 seat official after she filed with the Thurston County Auditor’s office on Wednesday.

Zita joins KRXY-FM sales manager Jerry Farmer and small business consultant Bob Jones in the race to fill the seat left vacant by former Commissioner Sue Gunn, who resigned April 1 to give herself more time to recover from open-heart surgery.

Zita, Farmer and Jones are among nine people who have applied for the temporary position, which the board is expected to appoint in June. The appointee will hold the post until the November election.

Commissioner Bill McGregor, who represents port District 2, does not face an election this year.

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