Compton for port commissioner | Letter

You may wonder why Port Commission seats are rarely contested in smaller port districts such as ours. Washington State Law is designed to make Commissions stable with six-year terms and only one commissioner up for election staggered over two years similar to the U.S. Senate. Like the Senate, the system is set up to allow senators and commissioners to retain their seats for multiple terms often long after they stop being energetic and effective.

In addition to the staggered elections, our commissioners are elected from separate districts on San Juan Island which limits the number of people who can run against any individual commissioner. The result is commissioners in our Port District rarely have serious challengers. You find Commissioners holding office for multiple terms, whether or not they truly represent islanders’ interests. Because it’s seldom that people from the smaller commissioner-districts are available and interested, the incumbent is rarely challenged.

So it is a rare opportunity in the current Port Commission race to have a competent and experienced challenger to the 30-year incumbent. Victoria Compton has been an islander for over three decades, the executive director of the San Juan County Economic Development Council and is well acquainted with the challenges Island businesses face. She has also served on the County Planning Commission and the Town of Friday Harbor lodging tax advisory committee, among other community-building activities.

I believe that Victoria will bring new energy and new perspectives to the Port Commission. The Port District has a great staff but it needs good policies and good direction from the Port Commission to fulfill its mission to our community and to reflect island values in the work it does.

Please join me in supporting Victoria Compton for Port Commissioner in the upcoming election.

Steve Simpson

Former Port of Friday Harbor Executive Director and Former President of San Juan County EDC