The candidates in the race for a seat on the Port of Pasco commission are positioning themselves as the younger generation versus the more experienced choice.
Greg Crook and Ron Reimann are seeking to fill the District 1 position being vacated by retiring President Bill Clark.
Crook, 26, said his youth gives him a unique perspective, which is something needed for a diverse board.
Reimann, 68, countered by saying he can bring the wisdom of experience to the position.
Reimann, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army, said he has experience handling budgets while working with T & R Farms, his family's farming business in Franklin County.
Reimann is the president of Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association and has served in other roles supporting agriculture.
Crook started Tri-Cities Aviation, a fixed-base operator at the Richland Airport that moved to the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco.
Crook sold Tri-Cities Aviation last year but said he still rents fueling equipment and tanks to his former business.
Both candidates said they do not see Crook's involvement with Tri-Cities Aviation as a conflict to serving as port commissioner.
Crook said he would recuse himself from any decisions in which he would have a conflict of interest.
Reimann said one of the port's biggest challenges is its aging commissioners and staff because of how difficult it is to replace experienced people.
And with 20 percent of the port's revenue from local taxes and 80 percent from grants, the port's budget is going to be a challenge as grants become more scarce, he said.
Crook said another challenge facing the port is the lack of commercial and industrial activity in Pasco compared with the residential growth boom. The port needs to continue to work with the city to attract more businesses that bring jobs and increase the area's tax base.
That means paying attention to what small businesses need and bridging the communication gap between businesses and the commission, Crook said.
The port also should look at incentives to encourage more development at the Tri-Cities Airport, he said.
And the port needs to consider moving from spray fields to a filtering system so that more food processors could move to the area, Reimann said. The spray fields at the Pasco Processing Center can't accommodate any more processors.
Instead, a filtering system should be used, like ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston's Richland plant, he said. The filtered water would return to the river cleaner than it was originally. Grants are available for that kind of project, he said.
If the port can get the state Department of Ecology to OK the use of land around the marine terminal where contamination has been cleaned, Reimann, a Franklin County resident since 1973, said the area could become a site for a corn dryer or a seed crushing plant. The waterfront property would allow companies to use barges to transport their products, he said.
Crook agreed that the marina represents opportunities for the port, and said the port needs to look at bringing in more permanent companies to that area and increasing the use of the barge terminal.
Reimann said he also would like to see the port help with the effort to revitalize downtown Pasco.
Crook said he would like to see the port better market what it offers.
Crook, a two-year Pasco resident, said he moved recently within the Port of Pasco District 1 boundaries to run for the office.
Franklin County Auditor's Office records show he filed to vote in the district during candidate filing a week before he filed for office.
Both men say they have the time to dedicate to the port. They already have attended port commission meetings since filing for the office.
Reimann said he has sold his farm shares to his son, which means he now has time to give to the commissioner job.
Crook said all of his business interests he runs absentee, which means he has a flexible schedule and time to dedicate to the job.
The nonpartisan position is for a five-year term.
The commissioners earn $800 a month and $104 for each meeting or function they attend as commissioners for a maximum of 96 meetings a year. A commissioner could earn up to $19,584 a year.