Northwest News

Port of Olympia commission interviews first 4 appointee hopefuls

The Port of Olympia Commission interviewed the first four of eight applicants Monday, trying to determine whom to appoint to temporarily fill the District 3 commission seat left vacant by Sue Gunn’s resignation.

After four interviews Monday, and another four interviews set for Tuesday, the Port Commission expects to make the appointment on June 10.

The appointee will hold the seat until the November general election is certified.

The Port Commission is asking the applicants six questions that were provided to them in advance, but the commissioners added a new wrinkle Monday by asking a seventh question.

Rather than having them answer it publicly during the interview, the applicants are being asked to provide a written answer to the question. Once all eight have answered, their answers will be posted on the Port of Olympia website.

Port of Olympia officials said the final question wasn’t made public so that one group of applicants wouldn’t have an advantage over the other.

Interviewed on Monday were E.J. Zita, a physicist and faculty member at The Evergreen State College; Dick Pust, the longtime broadcaster, best known for his work at KGY Radio; Bob Jones, a retired military man who consults with small manufacturers on how to do business with the federal government; and Michelle Morris, co-owner of the Sound Resource Management Group consulting firm.

The District 3 seat also is up for election. Zita and Jones are among four people who have filed to run for the seat.

Here is one question they were asked and their answers:

Are there any port issues in which you have a particular interest or expertise?



“I strongly support expanded port resources for food and farm-related activities. Tumwater Farmers Market is ready to move to a larger location and Thurston County is ready for a food hub — a farm-to-market center where urban and rural farmers can sell and add value to their products, plus process and distribute them.”



“I know the port doesn’t have direct control over Capitol Lake, but I’ve never made it a secret that I’m in favor of Capitol Lake. My decision, if it were possible, would be: Let’s keep it as a lake, let’s clean it up and turn it back into something that we can proud of.”



“My interest here would be to take what I have learned as a business person, and every manufacturer I consulted with had more business after they worked with me. ... I see the port as a tremendous community service organization here in Thurston County. And I would work to help the citizens appreciate the port even more than they do now.”



“My interest in steering decisions toward more sustainable practices with environmental stewardship in mind would benefit the port. I’m especially interested in installing more solar panels on port properties, which would both reduce energy costs and move us away from the use of fossil fuels. I also have a sailboat moored at Swantown, and I’ve been impressed with the efficiency of the marina’s management team, and I’d like to see that same success in other port operations.”

On Tuesday, the port will interview Larry Goodman, Fred Finn, Jerry Farmer and George Sharp. Goodman and Farmer also have filed to run for the District 3 seat.