Candidates for the Olympia Port Commission asked questions during the forum. Here’s what they said

The Olympia Port Commission has expanded to two new seats, and those seeking election to the District 4 and District 5 positions recently participated in a candidate forum hosted by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce.

The District 4 candidates are Rose Chiu Gundersen, who works for the Washington Retail Association, and Maggie Sanders, who previously told The Olympian she has dedicated herself full time to running her campaign. In District 5, small business owner Troy Kirby and IT professional Sarah Tonge are present. The general elections will take place on November 7.

Two other candidates – Bill McGregor and Jasmine Vasavada – who are running for the District 1 seat attended Wednesday’s forum but were not invited to take part. Former Olympia Mayor and forum moderator Doug Mah explained that Wednesday’s meeting was focused on the newly expanded seats, not the existing seat.

Mah, who often moderates such events, likes it when candidates ask their own questions. He also likes to test them by asking a series of quick questions.

Here are the questions they asked themselves.

Tonge to Kirby: What is your vision for the Port of Olympia?

Kirby: “We are working on recruiting. We’re working on the whole idea of ​​strengthening our employees and making sure that the port is a pipeline of success – a pipeline of success that has the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma trying to poach our workers, but we get the best. and the brightest who really want to stay. We need to create dynamic solutions and a culture that people want to be a part of here. If you want access to a professional development environment, we want to help you. We want to lead you on the path to success.

Kirby to Tonge: Tell me about your computer experience.

Tonge: “In my current role, I help support restaurants with technical services — everything a restaurant would have in its outlet and business to conduct its operations. Now how will this help the port? My experience in management, project management, leadership and collaboration are all valuable elements that I will bring to the port.

Gundersen to Sanders: If elected, what would the port title be in the first and last year of your term?

Sanders: “I think the title would be about the Budd Inlet cleanup. They (the port) have made a lot of progress in fostering collaboration and working with the state, federal government and local municipalities. The cleanup costs $100 million and will require a lot of collaboration and partnership. And so I think the success of the commission’s work will be demonstrated by our collaborative partnerships.

Sanders to Gundersen: How are you going to balance the Port of Olympia budget without levying more taxes on the citizens of Thurston County?

Gundersen: “The port plays an important role in economic development. The story that the port gets too much in taxes is not true because the schools get 30 percent more, or at least the Tumwater schools do, so I want to tell the truth that the port is capable to balance his budget and does what is necessary. it’s the right thing to do economic development. More could be done, more trust established and more value created.

During the rapid-fire sequence, Mah asked for their beverage choice (coffee, tea, or neither), social media, their favorite place in Thurston County, and their spirit animal, but didn’t give them any. given only two: the invasive New Zealand mud snail in Capitol Lake and the endangered Mazama Pocket Gopher.

Here are their responses:

Kirby: Coffee, Twitter, Tumwater Falls and neither.

Tonge: Coffee, LinkedIn, Tolmie State Park, Pocket Gopher.

Sanders: Coffee, LinkedIn, Billy Frank Jr. National Wildlife Refuge, Pocket Gopher.

Gundersen: Coffee, Facebook, the harbor waterfront, Mud Snail.

All four candidates also said they would vote in favor of a two-tenths of 1 percent sales tax increase for public safety.

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