TACOMA, Wash. — The race for position five on the Port of Tacoma Commission still has no clear winner.
As of Thursday night, less than half of a percentage point separated Boeing manager Dave Bryant and his opponent, Gig Harbor attorney Kristin Ang.
Bryant, a former naval officer who touts his technical experience, calls himself the “true environmental candidate,” but supports the construction of the port’s controversial Liquefied Natural Gas plant (LNG).
“If we ban fossil fuels in this area, you lay off tens of thousands of people down in those areas. Very, very good jobs,” he said.
Ang, who calls herself a political outsider, opposes the LNG.
“It is not proven that it's economically better or healthier or better for the environment and the climate,” she said.
Her position on the project garnered a rare endorsement from the Puyallaup Tribe.
“I'm younger,” Ang said of her unlikely candidacy. “I would be the first person of color on that commission in over a hundred years.”
Bryant said it is precisely his experience that makes him the better candidate. He said he supports reducing fossil fuels but added: “It's not going to happen overnight.”
Ang acknowledged that the two candidates’ philosophies could not be more different and said the election represents a turning point for Pierce County.
“I think we're going through an identity crisis and a transition,” said Ang. “The question for the future is what kind of projects will we support at the Port and the Tideflats? Who gets these public investments and who has a say? For me, the people should have a say on public lands.”
But Bryant said opposition alone will get the Port of Tacoma nowhere.
“Coming in and just being against things does not improve things,” he said. “It does not get a plan put together to make a better future.”