Stephanie Bowman, a longtime economic development specialist who spearheaded the integration of the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma to compete on a global scale, and has long championed women and minority owned businesses, has announced that she will seek a third term on the Port of Seattle Commission. Bowman, who has run a non-profit incubator assisting entrepreneurs from historically marginalized communities, will focus on economic recovery in the upcoming year and new term. The Port Commission manages the publicly owned Port of Seattle shipping and freight terminals, as well as Sea-Tac Airport and marine facilities used by cruise ships and the Alaskan fishing fleet.
“No sector of our state’s economy has been as hard hit—and will take as long to recover—as our aerospace, tourism, and travel industries,” said Bowman. “I have dedicated my time on the Port Commission to creating opportunities for workers, disadvantaged small businesses, and partners in trade and travel, experience that is even more critically important as we recover from the pandemic and the lasting economic impacts it will bring.”
Bowman points to programs she has helped build as starting points for recovery, looking at both economic sectors as well as individual workers.
“I’m so proud of the work we’ve done to build career pathways and apprenticeship programs for young people coming from high school into skilled trades,” said Bowman. “These partnerships with local schools not only keep students motivated to graduate, they provide living wage career ladders for kids and communities too often left behind in a changing economy. It’s critical we refine and expand these programs in the coming years.”
With Sea-Tac undergoing expansion to meet future travel needs, Bowman looks at business opportunities for retail and restaurants as a marker of success.
“While 2020 has been devastating for airport commerce, we know there will be a rebound in coming years, and need to continue to provide stability and growth opportunities for women and minority owned local businesses to thrive in SeaTac and the broader community,” said Bowman. “I’m committed to continuing this focus—work I’ve done for nearly two decades as a non-profit leader and on the Port—as we revitalize and diversify our regional economy.”
“Stephanie Bowman has been a fierce advocate for the immigrants and refugee community, particularly the truckers who are critical to Port operations. Her efforts have led to new funding so trucker owner operators can upgrade their vehicles and reduce air emission. African Chamber of Commerce members are grateful for her work protecting our workers, our community, and environment,” said Peter Gishuru, President of the African Chamber of Commerce.
Over the past several years, the Commission has worked to make Seattle’s port facilities among the greenest and most sustainable in the nation, including cleaner trucks at terminals, lower carbon airplane fuels, and energy efficiency throughout Port facilities.
“The climate crisis impacts everything we do at the Port, and we have made it our mission to address our impacts head-on, and with the goal of meeting emissions goals and serving as a role model for other air and seaports,” said Bowman. “We are adopting the tools and technologies to make a difference, and I’m proud of the progress we are making.”
Bowman was first elected to the Port during an era of declining freight, increased international pressures for seaborne cargo, and internal questions about transparency and oversight of Port leadership. She helped lead efforts to form a durable union with the Port of Tacoma to bring these regional port facilities to an internationally competitive scale, increasing trade at both ports.
“First and foremost, the Port of Seattle must create and keep family wage jobs that connect Washington’s people and goods with the world, and welcome people and products from abroad,” said Bowman. “Our partnerships are working and stronger than ever, even in a pandemic, and must grow as we recover.”
Bowman also led efforts to replace and reform the traditional CEO model of governance with an Executive Director more closely aligned with the Port’s mission as a government non-profit owned by the people of King County.
“Port leadership should make headlines for creating jobs, tackling climate change, and addressing structural disparities—not conflicts of interest,” said Bowman. “I’m grateful for the commitment of current and past colleagues to bring a ‘no drama’ approach to Port management, focusing on day-to-day operations and improvements and rebuilding critical public trust in the port and our core mission to generate opportunity and connections for the people we serve.”
“Stephanie has made job creation a priority at the Port, from protecting traditional marine and aerospace employment to thousands of new construction careers,” said Monty Anderson, Executive Secretary of the Seattle / King County Building Trades. “Her focus on building partnerships to help prepare young people for the next generation of build and construction trade opportunities is even more critical now as we recover from the pandemic and create a stronger future for working people.”
Bowman, who lives in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, looks forward to the campaign as an opportunity to continue listening and learning from voters throughout King County.
“Campaigns are great opportunities to check in with voters and fine tune priorities and ideas for the future,” said Bowman. “I’ve worked hard to be an open and accessible Port Commissioner, but not many people know about our work. This is an opportunity to talk to people countywide about their thoughts and concerns, and put them into action as we address immediate pandemic recovery, and chart a path to the future.”
Learn more at: bowmanforport.com