Airport fire captain Greg Baruso running for House

Staff writerMay 2, 2014 

A Federal Way Democrat and firefighter is challenging state Rep. Linda Kochmar.

Greg Baruso, the son of a Filipino immigrant, is the chairman of the Federal Way Diversity Commission.

He's a captain in the Port of Seattle Fire Department, where he's responsible for training, and a leader in the firefighters' union. The 74-person fire department has authority for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and nearby areas.

He's seeking his first elected office, after the Federal Way City Council considered him for appointment to the council but chose another candidate.

Republican Kochmar, a former city council member, is in her first term in the House.

For more about Baruso, here's the announcement he posted to his website in March:

Federal Way Diversity Commission Chair and Port of Seattle Fire Department Captain Greg Baruso announced (March 28) his candidacy for 30th District state representative Position 1, as a Democrat.

The seat is currently held by Rep. Linda Kochmar, R-Federal Way.

“I come from a long tradition of public service and it’s in that spirit that I have decided to run for state representative. I will speak for citizens who need a voice, serve for the benefit of others, and advocate for those in need,” Baruso said.

Among the qualifications that Baruso brings to the job, the most important is his ability to listen.

“I believe that as a lawmaker the ability to engage with constituents and truly listen to their feedback and needs is a critical skill,” said the candidate. “My regular interaction with the public as a captain in the fire service, experience on the Diversity Commission, and efforts as a community volunteer have given me the insight that the most important thing a leader can do is listen to the concerns of citizens and act on those concerns with honor and integrity,” he said.

Improving schools would be a key focus for Baruso in the Legislature.

“As the son of an immigrant and with children of my own, I know that a quality education is the cornerstone to success in this country. There are many reasons to champion education — from the changing economy, to a mandate from the Supreme Court to increase funding — the most important reason is that education is the greatest gift that we can give our children, “said Baruso.

He also believes that his public safety experience is a valuable asset in the state House.

“With more than 28 years of working with first responders, I know firsthand what our police and firefighters need from state government to ensure that our citizens are safe and secure,” said Baruso. He continued, focusing on his “expertise in emergency management and training can help us to better prepare for the unexpected and respond in times of disaster in an effective and coordinated way.”

Another area Baruso feels is paramount are efforts to create more transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility in government.

“Elected officials owe it to taxpayers to make government more efficient, effective, and accountable,” said Baruso. He continued with the assertion that, “my experience with managing and balancing budgets can help to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely in Olympia.”

Baruso has been a firefighter for more than 28 years and has been recognized for his commitment to service receiving the Port of Seattle Firefighter of the Year Award. He currently serves as the Training Division captain for the Port of Seattle Fire Department.

For many years, Baruso has been active in numerous charitable causes, including serving as director of the Martin Luther King Federal Way City-wide Food Drive, co-director of the Beat the Burn 5k Fun Run and was the recipient of the Northwest Burn Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award.

 

Baruso and is wife Shawn have lived in Federal Way for 14 years, their two children attend Federal Way schools.

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