In Washington at least, the future is female

Laurie Jinkins, Deanna Keller and Kristin Ang take on new roles 

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

While the first week of 2020 shook the world, with out of control fires across Australia, seemingly nonstop earthquakes across Puerto Rico, and the USA on the verge of war with Iran, the second full week of 2020 is packed with local and regional changes that will impact our region and state for decades to come.

The Port of Tacoma swore in two new commissioners on Monday, January 13. This was the first time more than one commissioner had been sworn in at the same time since 1983.

As of that day, two of the five Port commissioners will be female.

The average age dropped by a decade or two. And the Commission is all white no more.

Deanna Keller and Kristin Ang are the 39th and 40th Port Commissioners to serve.

Deanna Keller, a native of Washington who has lived in Pierce County most of her life, has a history of proven leadership and involvement throughout Pierce County.

Deanna was president of the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, and involved in the Tacoma Transportation Club, the Tacoma Propeller Club, and the Northwest Maritime Trade Association.

As a Marine Corps veteran, she served for five years in the United States Marine Band. Deanna currently serves as CEO/President of a multi-million dollar manufacturing business in Tacoma which ships nationally and internationally. Deanna has served on the Goodwill Industries Business Advisory Council and worked with the Economic Development Board on their “Place for Jobs” initiative.

Deanna’s focus is to strengthen our economy by modernizing the terminal facilities of the Port of Tacoma and Seaport Alliance, working together to have a cleaner environment and stronger economy by working together for solutions, and to safeguard a higher quality of life in the region through the creation of new family-wage jobs.

Keller and Ang were sworn in on Monday, January 13, 2020. Keller by Executive of Pierce County Bruce Dammeier, Ang by Puyallup Tribal elder Anna Bean. Photo: Morf Morford

Deanna Keller and Kristin Ang were sworn in on Monday, January 13, 2020; Keller by Executive of Pierce County Bruce Dammeier, Ang by Puyallup Tribal elder Anna Bean. Photo: Morf Morford

Kristin Ang, a 40-year-old Tacoma/Gig Harbor attorney (and Bellarmine and UPS grad) promotes progressive issues — such as meaningful consultation with the Puyallup Tribe, and opposition to the LNG plant and other fossil-fuel projects.

“I’m not here just to change the facial makeup at the Port,” she said. “I’m here to bring a data-driven fresh perspective and new voices.”

Ang’s priorities are simple; economic development, increased stable family-wage jobs and taking care of the environment so that the Port can be  used and appreciated by future generations.

With the addition of these two powerful and promising women, Tacoma’s port is poised to take on the challenges and potential of the future.

I think we, the residents of Pierce County can hold confidence that we chose the best candidates for this important office.

The Port of Tacoma, central to the economy, history and identity of Tacoma is in good hands.

Both of the new commissioners bring their own areas of strength and expertise. We are fortunate to have such people representing us, our port and the future of our community.

Meanwhile, in Olympia

As history was being made in Tacoma, history was also being made in Olympia. State Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma (27th Legislative District) was sworn-in on Monday and became the first woman and first lesbian to serve as Speaker of the Washington House of Representatives.

In a nod to the historic moment, Jinkins and other women lawmakers wore white at the noon ceremony in Olympia to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Washington has set the pace in this direction – the state’s two U.S. Senators and four House members are women. The mayors of Tacoma and Puyallup are female. The mayor of Seattle and president of the University of Washington are lesbians.

Jinkins is the first new Speaker in two decades. Longtime Speaker Frank Chopp left his office last spring.

As Jinkins put it, “The title of my new job may be Speaker but I see my primary job as listening, and I promise to listen to you, even when we disagree.”