by Jack Mayne
Mia Gregerson says she will serve as SeaTac mayor and in the Washington Legislature for the foreseeable future.
She made the comments in a telephone interview last week from her new office in Olympia, then her second week as a state lawmaker.
“It’s been really great. I am in a complete whirlwind of people who really care about getting educated,” she said. “We have staff, both partisan and non-partisan, to utilize. That is not something you have at the city level.
“Having somebody to work your calendar is amazing – you can really challenge your day that way.
“They have a really good system of really trying to help freshmen navigate this giant conundrum of processes. At the same time, I feel really lucky because there are quite a few of us (who) are pretty new and willing to think creatively on how to challenge the process on … new ways to go about it. It’s kind of exciting.”
“My intent at this point is to stay in both jobs,” she said in her recent interview with the SeaTac Blog. “I can’t predict the future, but you recognize that there are some great issues that the City of SeaTac is at the table on and I’d really like to help keep SeaTac at the table.”
She feels both jobs won’t be a problem.
“The thing is that my daughter is 20 years old. She is at school (so) it’s not like I have a lot of things at home that I have to be at home to juggle. I don’t have a day job so these are my two jobs.
“The City of SeaTac … has done a really good job of laying out strong infrastructures,” she says. “People with state jobs can still be a good, participating Council member. We have a study session that lines itself up right before the Council meeting, so we are only going in there two times a month.”
She says potential conflicts where both bodies may face a meeting at the same time are “like anything where you have a day job – you look at your calendars, you lean on your fellow colleagues, you time manage” to get both things handled.
“Being down in Olympia right now, is allowing so many doors to be opened,” she said. “Because I have local government experience, I am able to bring things to the table, able to dial in to ‘short plat, long plat’ conversations. I can understand all of that.”
As a legislator, Gregerson said because she is an executive board alternate on the Puget Sound Regional Council, she will help bring the state voice to the table “which hasn’t happened in the past. Cities and counties tend to speak the same language …”
She believes all of this “is my role as far as I can navigate it at this point.”
“I will have to go through the process to see how it works,” she says. “I can see that working backwards is a little bit better than just shooting things out.”
Pushed $15 pay at Port
Gregerson recently appeared before a meeting of the Port of Seattle board to urge them to validate the city’s recent passage of Proposition 1, the $15 minimum wage measure that narrowly passed in the November election.
King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvis ruled recently that the measure would not apply to people working for businesses on SeaTac Airport property. The ruling means that instead of 6,300 workers being covered, only about 1,600 hospitality and transportation workers in SeaTac now will get a $15 minimum wage, excluding about 4,700 people who work at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for contractors, concessionaires and car-rental agencies won’t be covered by the measure.
Gregerson says she hopes to fight the ruling, which she says, “is a really big matter.”
She was asked if she thought the Port board members would approve the wage increase.
“I really am hopeful that they will. I hope they will remember that the people who put them there are also the people that are suffering by not having it implemented.”
Gregerson was appointed to the legislature on the resignation of Dave Upthegrove when he was elected in November to the King County Council. Gregerson was appointed over the 33rd District’s precinct committee officer’s recommendation of Kent City Councilmember Elizabeth Albertson.
At the first SeaTac Council session of the year, Gregerson was elected by the new Council as mayor for the 2014-2015 term. She will be an unelected legislative appointee until she faces election to the Washington Legislature at the general election in November. Her SeaTac Council term expires in 2015. She is paid $42,000 a year in the Legislature, and $14,000 a year on the Council, plus expenses for activities in both bodies.