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Daughter Of Former Washington Governor Tapped As New Port Commissioner

Photo Courtesy/Port of Seattle

The newest Port of Seattle commissioner should be a familiar name to anyone who follows Washington state politics. She’s 33-year-old Courtney Gregoire, daughter of former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire.

Courtney Gregoire said she applied for the position because she wanted to serve the public.

“In my life I’ve been instilled with the public service ethic, and I think the port is a great place to give that, a great place to think about critical issues of economic development,” she said.

Gregoire is currently an attorney at Microsoft. Before that, she served for three years in the Obama Administration in the US Department of Commerce. She said she held several leadership positions, including director of the National Export Initiative, which is an effort to double US exports by 2015.

Former Port of Seattle Commissioner Alec Fisken had some advice for Gregoire: Get used to the limitations of the job. “You’ve got no time and you’re not paid to really spend time at it, so you’re not going to get terribly far in understanding how it works,” he said.

Commissioners make $6,000 a year. In a recent Port of Seattle memorandum, the commission has proposed a resolution that would increase the salary to about $42,106, the same amount paid to state lawmakers. The increase is intended to attract more people in becoming commissioners.

Gregoire will take the open seat that was vacated by Gael Tarleton. Tarleton left the commission after she won a seat in the state Legislature last November.

The port commission job is not Courtney Gregoire’s first position in the state’s public sector. Last fall, her mother, then-Governor Chris Gregoire, appointed her daughter to the board for Seattle Community Colleges.

Courtney Gregoire said she plans to campaign for the Port seat this November, and that she doesn’t plan on running for other offices in the near future.

There will be another open seat on the Port Commission as of March 15. Commissioner Rob Holland is stepping down, after the Seattle Times ran a story that outlined Holland’s misuse of Port resources. Holland criticized the story as being sensational but has not disputed the allegations.

After Holland resigns, the port commission will start the process of looking for his replacement. A port spokesman said that process will be wrapped up in late April or early May.

Help Derek Wang follow up on this story.

Year started with KUOW: 1998.