My name is Bill Fishburn, and I’m running for Port Commissioner. I was born and raised in Spokane. My mom is from Panama, and my dad was an electrician for the railroad, and member of IBEW for more than 20 years. I’ve been married for more than 26 years, and we have three grown sons and one granddaughter. I’ve lived in Rainier since 2003, and before that we lived in Lacey.
Last year’s Presidential election left me feeling like I need to do something more; to be a part of the solution instead of complaining about the problems. With my experience, skills, and values, it felt like the right time to step up and serve.
Over the years I’ve been involved as a volunteer in numerous community non-profits. I was a den leader and then a pack leader for my sons’ Cub Scout pack when we lived in Lacey. I was PTA president at their grade school, and I started a non-profit booster club for the band parents at Timberline High School. I became involved in the Intel DuPont Community Garden in 2009, first as a volunteer, then as the program manager and operations manager. I’m now President of the Board. I was the co-founder of the non-profit that governs the garden. I became involved in the Hispanic Roundtable in 2008 as a representative of Intel. I became the Treasurer in 2012, and I was elected President in 2014.
Educationally and professionally, I have a BS in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from the University of Washington. I have a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from UC-Berkeley. I worked at Intel for 21+ years, first in Hillsboro, then in DuPont since 1996. During my time there, I was a manufacturing supervisor, an installation/qualification engineer, a technical marketing engineer (product development interface to customers), a human resources representative, and a technical program manager. I became a certified Project Management Professional in 2011.
Last year, I watched the presidential campaign with increasing frustration. First, we had the issue with super-delegates in our state not representing the will of the majority with their results in the primaries. I wasn’t as concerned with who they voted for as I was with how they voted. Then there was the presidential election, and I watched a small minority select an obviously unfit man to the Presidency. Throughout, I became more and more frustrated. I finally decided to do something about my frustration, and looked for ways to involve myself in local government. I wanted to be a part of the solution.
As I was considering open positions in the community, I was asked if I had looked at the Port. I held discussions with several people and the problems the Port presented piqued my political curiosity. I began researching ports and their history, and I realized how innovative the people of Washington state were when they made our ports publicly owned enterprises with direct election of Commissioners representing an entire county. I also realized how disconnected the Port of Olympia is from its own heritage of public enterprise.
I think elected officials must be responsive to the entire electorate, in this instance, all of Thurston county. I also think the Port should be run in a way that is fiscally and environmentally responsible; in ways that are open and transparent to the public. I have been impressed with the efforts of Commissioner EJ Zita to do exactly this and I hope to join her next year and bring many of her efforts to fruition.
I see the Port as having the potential to be an economic engine for our county. I see it as being able to do that by engaging and listening to the people it serves. Having more forums and more frequent forums where the public can share its perspective would be a benefit to how the Port conducts business. Exploring clean energy solutions for our county and innovative ways of using that energy to generate jobs and revenue would benefit all of Thurston County. Investigating public internet could be another forward-looking business for the Port, and one that would be welcomed by many county residents. Done correctly, such internet services could fund and sustain free municipally-provided wi-fi in public areas of all of the county’s cities and towns. Our Port could provide a real benefit to the area’s farmers and food producers by helping to develop more food infrastructure at the Olympia Farmer’s Market, providing a more sustainable food ecosystem, and possibly even trade opportunities.
There are many reasons I decided to run for Port, but the bottom line is the Port is due for new leadership. I have the experience and the vision to provide that leadership. Together we can make the Port of Olympia the People’s Port of Thurston County.
Email: fishburn4Por@gmail.com; Tel: 4F4PORT-002 (434-767-8002);
Fishburn for Port, PO Box 7441, Olympia WA 98507; Facebook:@FishburnForPort; Twitter @Fishburn4Port