By Thi-Le Vo
Northwest Asian Weekly
Seattle Port Commissioner Lloyd Hara announced on May 25 that he will be running for King County assessor.
According to his Web site, his decision was made a few weeks after the drunk-driving incident involving the current King County assessor, Scott Noble.
“I am concerned that Scott’s expected resignation as King County assessor creates an abrupt vacancy in a critical post, at a critical time,” said Hara in a press release. Hara says the last couple of weeks have been a humbling experience because many people have urged him to run for King County assessor.
“I want to have an office that is viewed as fair and just. Have a spokesman that gets out to the community and works with citizens. And if elected as county assessor, I will do that — be a taxpayer spokesperson,” Hara told Northwest Asian Weekly.
From 1980 to 1992, Hara has held a position as the Seattle City Treasurer.
His work has been recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association, the Association of Government Accountants, and the Municipal Treasurers Association of the U.S. and Canada.
Since 2005, Hara has been Seattle port commissioner, and in 2007, he was elected as the vice president of the commission.
“It’s been a very exciting three years. … I came on a platform of port reform, to institute performance audits,” Hara said, talking about his accomplishments at the Port. Hara plans on finishing his term there. “I was instrumental in leading the charge … to bring about the revision of the code of ethics.”
Hara feels satisfied with the work he has done and believes he is leaving the Port in good hands. “We have some newer commissioners who are working really hard,” he said.
“[They are] working on issues that I care about, like the environment. … Two years ago, we hired a new port director/CEO [Tay Yoshitani]. I have confidence in his ability to lead the Port.”
As King County assessor, the elected candidate would be responsible of valuation on personal and real property for taxation purposes.
If elected, Hara said he would try to bring homeowners’ property taxes more in line with present market values. “It’s important that we have a fair property evaluation system,” Hara said, “especially when county taxpayers are hurting. We have thousands of laid-off folks living in the area that are finding it difficult to meet their mortgages and taxes. It’s important that their property be properly valued.”
Hara is a Seattle native and a graduate of Roosevelt High School. At the University of Washington, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in economics with a foreign trade emphasis and a master’s degree in public administration.
Hara has served in the U.S. Army and received the rank of Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves. He has worked as part of the staff of the Washington State Legislature and the governor’s staff before serving as King County’s youngest auditor
He founded Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials, the Seattle International District Rotary, the North Seattle Community College Foundation, and many other community-based organizations. He is a former president of the Seattle chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.
Looking to a community that has supported him throughout the years, Hara said, “I look forward to strong support within the Asian American community.”
Stacy Nguyen contributed to this report.
Thi-Le Vo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.