Highline resident Dominic Barrera said he’s long been frustrated by a lack of representation from South King County on the Port of Seattle Commission. He not only wants to bring that voice to the table, but also provide experience from the labor side of port operations.

Barrera is young, but the 28-year-old said he’s accomplished a lot. He points to his work resolving an issue of double taxation in the North Highline Fire District, where he serves on the commission, and another tax fix in Olympia while representing the Washington Fire Commissioners Association.

He bought his first home at 21, though he wears earplugs due to the industrial noise from adjacent port property. He’s now balancing two part-time jobs, one as executive director of the Plant Amnesty nonprofit, and the other as an operations agent for Alaska Airlines, where he’s worked since 2012.

Barrera said he went to the president of his International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local 2202 union when he learned Courtney Gregoire wasn’t running for re-election to Position 2. He said he wanted someone from the union to run, but he got tired of waiting.

“After a couple days, I was like, ‘Alright, I guess I’ll do it.’”

Labor and environment are two important issues to Barrera.

“I think there is a false dichotomy out there that we have to choose between business and environment,” he said.

The Sea-Tac International Airport plays a large role in providing jobs and revenue through the Port of Seattle, but Barrera said there is a loophole that allows airlines to skirt the $15 minimum wage law, and that mandatory overtime is often used to cover regular shifts due to short staffing.

“I think that’s wrong, and it really poses a safety issue,” he said.

The port’s airport master plan does not adequately address issues with bottlenecks around Sea-Tac, he said, especially with more gates opening to the north, and more coming in 2035.

To alleviate long lines at the airport, Barrera said port security could back up TSA agents by handling the screening of airport employees coming in and out, so TSA can focus on travelers.

The Position 2 candidate wants to offer airport employees subsidized ORCA cards, he said, as they already have to park far away and be shuttled in.

Barrera supports plans for a private field in Olympia for commercial and cargo planes to help alleviate congestion at Sea-Tac.

The candidate is also concerned about representation when it comes to vending contracts, and said he believes the port’s 15 percent diversity goal for women and minority-owned businesses is a good start, but that initiative should also extend to larger contracts. The port can help smaller businesses through loans, he said.

The Port of Seattle is investing $300 million into upgrading Terminal 5 to support international marine cargo for a future lease agreement. With this or any other large lease agreements, Barrera said, the port needs to assess how those businesses will invest in infrastructure.

“I think matching funds can be a really good incentive a lot of the time,” he said.

A tax levy applied to the Port’s King County jurisdiction increased this year by 3 percent, meaning the average homeowner will pay about $70.20 this year, up from $68.80 in 2018. The levy will increase by 3 percent each year during the five-year waterfront expansion capital campaign.

Barrera said his fire district relies on property taxes, where the port has other revenue sources. As property values are increasing, he questions raising rates.

“I would be wary to continue raising it at all,” Barrera said.

The Port of Seattle will add a new cruise ship facility at Terminal 46, which Barrera wants to see as close to carbon neutral as possible.

Continued cleanup of the Duwamish River is a big concern for Barrera, who also wants the port to take on brownfield projects to create new public spaces and better contribute to improving the region’s environment.

Barrera is a fan of King County’s Forest Carbon Program, where individuals, businesses, government agencies and others can purchase carbon credits that are applied toward land conservation. The port could do something similar, he said, or buy credits from King County when it needs to offset the environmental impacts of a project.

Another issue the Port of Seattle needs to better address is human trafficking, said Barrera, who would like the port’s police department to have a separate unit to focus on these crimes, and that could go outside its jurisdiction if an investigation warrants it. Not only should the port do a better job saving people from human trafficking, he said, but it should also provide more support services for victims.

Learn more about the candidate at barreraforport.com.