Melissa On The Issues
THE BEST POSSIBLE PORT COMMISSIONER I CAN BE
The first issue in this Port Commissioner race is what kind of Port of Olympia Commissioner you want to hire with your vote. There are different ways to approach politics and to approach providing a service to the public. My approach is that I know a lot of different things and that I know that there is far more that I don’t know. I need to learn from many sources. Since I passionately love learning and thinking, this is a fine situation.
I believe that it is important to seek out the best information from the most legitimate and valid sources and people before making decisions for our Olympia Port's operation and future. Each decision is made within a context of facts, people, events, and resources that must be evaluated when that decision is made or advice given. Change is constant, and we must be willing to recognize and welcome it.
Just telling people what they want to hear when I am running for office would not be honest. As a critical thinker, I will make timely, informed, careful, responsible decisions for the Port of Olympia. The reasons for each decision I make in the future will be based on what is best for our community's long-term interests and the resources we cherish. I sincerely believe that our people thrive only if we protect our beautiful and vibrant changing environment's long-term interests. By definition, you and I don’t have all the information right now that we would need to make the best decisions in the future. Someone who tells you exactly what they will do in the future is deluding themselves or trying to delude you. Or, worse yet, they already have their mind made up without considering the data available at the time they are responsible to act on the issue.
As at least half of our population knows, women tend to think they are underqualified, under-informed, and less able to take on challenging positions compared to the way men have been taught to think of themselves. Fortunately, experience and training as a black belt in karate and as a lawyer and business owner have helped me with that issue. I see it as my responsibility to listen to and try hard to see people as who they really are and who they can be as their best selves. Stereotyping and disrespecting folks are against my principles.
AIR TO BREATHE & WATER TO DRINK
Fundamental to the survival of life, including us humans, are air and water. The Port has a significant impact on the physical world we live in here in Thurston County. Without clean air and water, our quality of life and our very ability to remain alive disappear fast. This should make all of us environmentalists because it is our common heritage. Here in South Puget Sound, we usually have the best air and the best water that humans can be blessed with. Many people before us made decisions that protected these resources and helped make our lives better. It is a sacred trust.
Blaming the other guy is rarely productive. When we point fingers, we need to take account of the fingers pointing back at us. We want a clean environment, but almost all of us ride in a fossil-fuel burning vehicle or use energy wastefully sometimes. That does not mean that every situation is equal or that polluters should have financial or other incentives to damage our common essential resources.
Government is about arranging for people to live with each other and with our environment responsibly. When protecting our environment, a Commissioner must work with International, Federal, State, Tribal, County, and local jurisdiction laws. As a lawyer, I will understand the interaction of these laws and jurisdictions and make good progress on preserving our clean air and water while recognizing that our community's economic well-being and future are also valuable. Green energy and good-paying future-aware jobs in our greater community are essential issues to my mind.
Along with environmental stewardship and caring for community assets within the Port's control, the Olympia Port has a strong focus on the economic development of our community. The Port has a significant role in creating, retaining, and growing economic and employment opportunities for communities in Thurston County. I interpret this to mean economic opportunities that benefit the people of Thurston County, who are the voters who elect the Port Commissioners. I do not interpret this to mean that only some people should be benefiting from economic development while the interests of all other people are not considered. It is fantastic that good paying jobs are part of Olympia having a port and those jobs contribute to our economy. All decisions and plans for the Port should take our long term interests and the economic development of the entire area into consideration.
DIVERSITY AND RESPECT
We absolutely rely on the excellent quality of the people who work for the Port of Olympia.
I respect my many diverse thinking friends and family, and I do not believe it is right to marginalize or mistreat people who disagree with me. I also don't think it is acceptable to allow disruptive tactics meant to frustrate the democratic processes we rely on. We need diversity of ideas and diversity of perspectives to be strong.
I will bring a different set of leadership abilities and a diverse background and experiences to our Port of Olympia Commission. I will support diversity in our Port of Olympia's operations as a whole. We need to make decisions based on verifiable, legitimate evidence about what is best for the people of local communities while balancing the interests of all folks affected by our decisions. We have too big a population, too complex of issues, and too sacred a trust for the future to make decisions based only on the loudest or short-term interests that could undermine our future.
PROCESS AND DEMOCRACY
The port has a fairly unique place in our community. The port's work intersects with specialized parts of industry and transportation as they intersect with our local community. The port owns and manages real estate. It enters into contracts with private entities using that real estate for business purposes. The Port has a role in the transportation of goods through our community. Our Port impacts international trade. Our Port's decisions impact Thurston County's environment -- including the real estate held by the Port, vital shoreline, Puget Sound, and the very sky above us. There are many moving parts, and Port of Olympia Commissioners fulfill a vital role in protecting this public trust and providing a means for democratic governance of these vital functions in our area.
I see my role in the Port of Olympia as a guardian of the public trust and the public's interest in having transparent, inclusive, and just procedures in place to protect the interest of the voters of Thurston County. Recent years have brought more attention to improving the Port's processes and getting input from the public. We make better decisions when interested parties are included, and legally required procedures are in place to protect the public interest. I can add value in this area because of my background as a lawyer and business owner.