Here’s a post from our business reporter Rachel Pritchett, who covers the Port of Bremerton. Thanks Rachel for the contribution. — Chris Henry
SILVERDALE — First out on the campaign trail for the open Port of Bremerton commissioner post is Axel Strakeljahn, who got a few words in at a meeting of the Kitsap County Republican Party on Monday evening.
Strakeljahn, pronounced Streck’-el-john with a short e in the first syllable, got a wait-and-see reception from the 25 or so who attended the meeting at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.
Not surprisingly, one of the first questions he got was whether he would raise taxes.
“No, sir,” responded Strakeljahn, longtime local home-and-garden businessman, fiscal conservative and current manager of the Port Orchard Fred Meyer.
The Seabeck resident said he was the candidate with the strongest “business ethics” and the one with “experience you can trust.”
He promised to give “careful attention to where money is spent.”
Strakeljahn, 52, took aim at the port’s marketing efforts, which he said have been carried off “ineffectively” and “irresponsibly.”
He suggested instead that the port and the cities of Port Orchard and Bremerton become “a cohesive working unit” to promote tourism and a healthier business climate.
He took exception to an early and informal suggestion by one current commissioner, Bill Mahan, that the port consider hiring a consultant to come up with a plan to promote an “industry cluster.” According to Mahan, identification and promotion of an industry cluster would strengthen the ties and attract new players in a certain industry, say in boat-building. Mahan has said the $200,000 cost could be shared by many entities that would result in only a small cost to all. Strakeljahn said that was a bad idea. The matter is expected to be further discussed at an upcoming port study session.
Strakeljahn, who built his own house in Seabeck, said that after three decades of leading businesses in Kitsap, it was time for him to give back to the community.
He said he has endorsements from state Rep. Jan Angel and others.
The only other person who has announced he will run so far is Shawn Cucciardi, an owner and general manager of McCormick Woods Golf Course and the Clubhouse Restaurant at McCormick Woods.
Port commissioner District 3 is being vacated by Mahan, who is retiring. The expansive district covers much of south and west Kitsap.
— Rachel Pritchett, reporter, (360) 475-3783