As Port Commissioner, John Creighton has been involved in many difficult decisions involving the Port of Seattle. At times, he’s endured fire from critics who claim that the Port is losing its soul and is crumbling to the needs of gentrification and a never-ending population boom. He’s also heard complaints from business leaders who want improved access to the port or else they will find neighboring communities who are willing to provide them with the access and government policies that they feel they need to operate. While listening to comment is part of any politician’s job, John Creighton feels that these sorts of comments are particularly hard to deal with, as they point to the crux of what the Port means to Seattle, and that meaning can vary from group to group.
In Seattle, the Port is a thriving business that brings both revenue and jobs into the community. Each container that comes into the Port represents an economic opportunity for Seattle, and that’s not an opportunity the region can afford to waste. According to a blog entry written by John Creighton, the state of Washington, the Port, King County, the city of Seattle and public and private interests have invested over $1 billion in infrastructure to support the industrial activities at the Port. Pushing out industry through gentrification means wasting these investments.
However, the Port provides some of the most sought-after real estate in Seattle, with stunning views of the water and amazing access to the hip and trendy parts of downtown. It’s no wonder that so many people want to live in this part of Seattle, John Creighton says, and it’s no wonder that businesses want to place restaurants, stadiums and other enticements there to make them stay.
The key is to make smart investments so that competing uses on the waterfront can co-exist, John Creighton says, to make good decisions on a case-by-case basis. This is what Port Commissioner John Creighton hopes to do in moving forward the Port’s Century Agenda, its 25-year plan to bring another 100,000 port-related jobs to the region.
Before being elected Port Commissioner, John Creighton worked as a lawyer who specialized in international transactions. It was rewarding work, allowing him the opportunity to travel as well as the opportunity to meet with some amazingly interesting and powerful people within the business community. However, for John Creighton, Seattle would always be home, and in time, he felt the urge to return home and give back to the community he loved.
He returned to the Seattle area in the year 2000, and began working for Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, LLP, as an associate in the firm’s corporate group. He later moved to K&L Gates LLP, once again working in the company’s business group. Soon, John Creighton felt the pull of public service, and he ran for a spot on the Seattle Port Commission. He chaired that commission between the years of 2007 and 2008. The work of the Seattle Port Commission may not be well known, but it is critical work for our community, impacting almost 200,000 jobs in our region. In this city that is almost entirely surrounded by water, the Port is responsible for the ownership and operation of some $6 billion in cargo and equipment. For people like John Creighton, who want to make a difference, it’s a good place to start.
When asked to explain his approach to public service, John Creighton says, “I am dedicated to service, and the idea that elected officials should make decisions based solely on how they can better their community, not on how they can benefit themselves or any particular interest group. It might not be a glamorous statement to make, but I do work hard to ensure that my decisions reflect the needs of my constituents. I’m there to represent them, and ensure that they have their needs met.”
As a public figure, John Creighton is expected to maintain some sort of online presence. It’s the best way to ensure that he can respond to breaking news, and remind voters of his works in the months leading up to an election. There are many different sites public figures can use to reach out to the electorate, but according to John Creighton, Twitter remains the tool of choice. In fact, in Seattle, John Creighton is known as an early and an enthusiastic user of Twitter.
According to the official Twitter blog, the first tweet was sent on March 21, 2006, and it read, simply, “inviting coworkers.” Since that time, tweets have grown much longer, and they’ve also become much more prevalent. Now, Media Bistro reports, Twitter is seeing a remarkable 400 million tweets per day, which represents an increase of almost 18 percent in less than three months. At a time when pundits are claiming that Facebook is close to death, Twitter is claiming new users on a daily basis, and the company is beginning to make money due to the extensive traffic the site generates on a daily basis.
When shopping for a method by which to stay in touch with his constituents, Twitter seemed like an obvious choice for John Creighton. Here, he could share links to press releases and blog entries that outlined his accomplishments and hopes for the future, and he could encourage his followers to read up on the topics that would make them more informed voters. He could also interact with voters, without sharing the sort of private information that commonly makes up a Facebook page. Currently, Port Commissioner John Creighton submits multiple tweets each day, and Twitter users can follow him by clicking on this link.