Local fisherman announces bid for port commission

briscoe-headshot-cropBlaine fisherman Bobby Briscoe announced his candidacy for the Port of Bellingham commission on June 1. Briscoe hopes to represent district 3, which includes all areas west of the Guide Meridian, including Ferndale, Blaine and Birch Bay.

Another Blaine resident, Jim Jorgenson, has held the seat since 2004. Jorgenson announced earlier this year that he would retire when his current term expires in December.

Briscoe is a fourth-generation fisherman who was born and raised in south Bellingham. He has operated commercial fishing vessels in Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska for 41 years, fishing mostly for salmon and crab. He was president of the Puget Sound Crab Fishermen Association for two years. He and his wife, Carol, now live in Blaine.

“I’d like to see the port move forward, and I think I’m the guy to do it,” he said. “I was asked by several members of the fishing community to run, so I threw my hat in the ring.”

Briscoe said his maritime experience would work to his favor on the commission.

“The Port of Bellingham has great potential to be a working port for seagoing trade,” Briscoe said. “I have worked out of many of the ports on the west coast and have a lot of knowledge of what is needed for a good working port as well as how the surrounding communities like to use the harbors and port grounds for recreational purposes.”

Briscoe said there hasn’t been a career fisherman on the commission since Pete Zuanich, who retired in 1995.

Briscoe will be kicking off his campaign on Monday, June 8 with a reception at the Landings on the Bellingham waterfront.

Two other candidates are running for the district 3 seat. Ferndale mayor Gary Jensen announced in January he would not be seeking a third mayoral term, opting instead to run for the port commission. Former Ferndale city councilman and business owner Lloyd Zimmerman will also run.

The port commissioner position is a non-partisan seat with a four-year term. Voters will receive preliminary ballots on July 15 for the August 4 primary. The general election will be held in November.

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