Huntington ready to serve one more term

Mary Ann Huntington says she’s accomplished a lot during her three terms as a Port of Bremerton commissioner, but there still a few things left undone.

“I’d like to see completion of the SEED project next term, and of the new Bremerton Marina — those are the two big projects I’d like to see done,” she said.

Huntington said she wants to witness the 2,000 new jobs the port expects the SEED — Sustainable Energy and Economic Development — project to create, and to be in office when the expanded Bremerton Marina opens to the public next year.

“I’d like to see the jobs created — if not in the next six years, then in the next 10,” Huntington said, adding that the environmentally friendly aspects of the proposed, 75-acre business park are another reason she’s excited about the project.

As for the Bremerton Marina, Huntington said she expects its expansion will also have a positive impact on the economy countywide, not just bringing in jobs, but infusing millions of direct — and indirect — dollars into the area.

“We expect the new Bremerton Marina to bring in $10 million in indirect dollars,” she said, explaining that while direct dollars might be what a visiting boater spends at a nearby coffee shop, the indirect dollars start adding up when the coffee shop waitress then spends that money at the local grocery store, gas station and so on.

She said she is aware of the frustration many South Kitsap residents feel over how the port decided to fund the bulk of the expansion — a general tax levy of 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for six years — but other options were not deemed feasible.

“We researched every possible way we could find to finance the marina and talked to as many people as we could about the best way to go about it,” she said, explaining that in the end, the board decided “this was the best way to go.”

And while the levy will be funneling about $4 million into the Bremerton marina, Huntington said she feels the money will be well-spent.

“We felt this was really necessary to improve the vitality of Bremerton,” she said. “You know, Bremerton was known for years as the ‘dead city,’ and now it’s starting to boom. And we believe the waterfront is a gold mine.”

Huntington said if tourists, business visitors and locals begin flocking to Bremerton for conventions, reunions, vacations or even day visits, that influx will permeate not just nearby Port Orchard, but countywide.

“If Bremerton is dead — we’re all dead,” she said. “If I had the choice, I’d do it all over again. This is a necessary addition to the community that will bring in tons of money.”

If re-elected to a fourth term this November, Huntington said “that would be my last. I think I’ve done a very good job, and I’m ready to do one more term.”

Huntington has served on the port board as the commissioner from District 2 — which includes downtown Port Orchard and portions of southeastern Kitsap County — since 1990.

She moved to Kitsap County in 1972 and lives in Port Orchard with her husband, Bill.

She has two challengers this year for her seat, fellow Port Orchard residents Larry Stokes and Martin DiIenno.

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