Mike Benbow Herald Writer
Michael Hoffmann said Wednesday he has some homework to do after unseating an 18-year veteran from the Port of Everett Commission.
“On my way home last night, I suddenly realized that I have the opportunity to make poor decisions,” Hoffmann said Wednesday.
He noted that his first task will be to learn more about the job and to have additional talks with port district residents about what they’d like to see him do in his new role.
“I’ve never held a public office before, so it’s a big responsibility,” Hoffmann said.
Hoffmann gathered nearly 60 percent of the vote and holds a decisive, 2,000-vote lead in his race against Don Hopkins, who was seeking a fourth term on the commission.
Asked what he thought was a key factor, Hoffmann said that he thought Hopkins’ absence from the voter’s pamphlet was certainly important.
Hopkins said he had submitted a position statement, but that it didn’t get in the publication. “I think they should call (candidates) when they don’t get a statement,” he said. “They said they did, so it was just ‘He said, she said.’ “
The retired employee for the longshoreman’s union said he bought more advertisements and campaigned harder after learning of the omission.
In any event, he said that was only one of many possible factors for his loss. “Maybe they just wanted me out,” he said of the voters.
Hopkins complimented Hoffmann on running a clean campaign and urged everyone to support the new commissioner. “It’s a tough job, and people don’t realize that,” he said. “He’s a fine young man, and I know he will do a good job. And I hope everyone gets behind him.”
Hopkins said he has enjoyed his tenure on the commission. “I met a whole bunch of wonderful people I never would have met,” he said.
Hoffmann, a former developer now focusing on architectural design, had advocated a number of changes at the port, including turning the commission from a three-member body to one with five to increase representation.
He also promised more communication with port district residents.
Pursuing the expanded board will be an issue to focus on, Hoffmann said.
But he repeated that he wants to sound out the public and the other two commissioners about how they feel about some of the issues he raised in the campaign.
“I’m going to do my level best to ensure I’m representative of people of the port district,” he said.
He noted that there’s a group of residents who follow port issues closely who “have felt that maybe they’ve been locked out or that the way the port operates is not in their interest,” he said.
“Whether that’s true or not … it’s the way that they feel,” Hoffmann added, noting that he thinks his promise to be more representative of the public was an important factor in his election.