Governor Gregoire Unveils Next Washington Economic Strategy

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2007

OLYMPIA –Governor Chris Gregoire today unveiled a ten-year economic vision to build on the economic success in Washington and seize opportunities for Washington-grown companies.

The Next Washington is a strategy that challenges Washingtonians to invest in changes we can count on,” said Governor Gregoire. “The budget I proposed is the investment in our future economy – this strategy is the business plan.”

The Next Washington plan acknowledges the unique regional economic needs of the state and lays out specific initiatives to improve workers’ skills, connect research universities more directly with private sector and economic-development enterprises, boost telecommunications and energy infrastructure and make it easier to do business with government. The Next Washington is based on three components:

  1. Skills for the Changing Economy
    Educating more people to higher levels
  2. The Foundation for Success: Traditional Infrastructure and Beyond
    Increasing movement of research to products to markets and supporting areas not growing as quickly
  3. Open for Business
    Make Washington an even better place to do business by reducing barriers and improving efficiency

“In the last two years, over 155,000 new jobs have been created, we’ve seen a 40 percent increase in our exports and our ports are among the busiest in the nation,” said Governor Gregoire. “The question for all of us as we celebrate our growing economy is: how can we stay ahead of the global transformation of the economy so we all benefit from its potential?”

Governor Gregoire’s The Next Washington plan makes six fundamental assumptions about the workforce in Washington and economic development:

  • Washington is a force in the global economy – we are more like a small nation than just another state;
  • Education is the single most important economic investment we can make;
  • The public sector should lay the foundation to support private sector success;
  • The foundation for success in some cases means providing information and getting out of the way;
  • Government should actively support emerging sectors of our economy like renewable energy and global health; and
  • The modern, global economy is making some old trade-offs, like jobs versus the environment or “sunset industries” and “new economic industries,” irrelevant.

The Next Washington is my vision for our state – to build on our success and to recognize the opportunity we have before us,” said Governor Gregoire. “It will take leadership and determination and I believe that our citizens deserve nothing less.”