The conclusion is universal. Whether you’re talking about sales in general or economic development specifically: the most successful strategy is to hang on to the customers you already have, and invest in what’s already working. In Jefferson County, what’s already working is our working waterfront and the 20% of the jobs that are tied to it throughout our county.
In our roles we get to hear from people across the continent who reflect to us the two things we already know: the talent in maritime sector here is second to none, and there are many places who are looking to emulate the authenticity and productivity we have forged as a community over the last half a century. Yes, there are other dimensions that make our community vibrant, but while there are other arts communities that parallel our own our community stands alone in its concentration and quality of the blue collar heroes who work in our maritime trades. There is simply nowhere else that comes close.
The state is currently focused on developing economic opportunity through the maritime sector. Moving away from our marine trades would forgo the opportunity to be a part of that effort and jeopardize the sector that verifiably holds up one fifth of our jobs, generates $12.5 million in taxes, and is a point of entry for young people into our aging community. Without our marine trades working on the waterfront, there would be no Maritime Center, no Boat School, Edensaw Woods, Maritime Discovery Schools, Wooden Boat Festival, Race to Alaska, and we’d have less taxes to pay for core services. Those who say differently aren’t thinking hard enough.
Vote with your conscience on the Port related elections, but do so knowing that the base of our living wage jobs are in the marine trades and those supported by them.
Jake Beattie, Executive Director, Northwest Maritime Center
Betsy Davis, Executive Director, Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding
Kiwi Ferris, Owner, Edensaw Woods