March 25, 2004
Message from the Governor
Education is a great economic engine. It prepares our workforce of the future, and roots our economic destiny in knowledge and resourcefulness.
Higher education opportunities in high-demand fields are especially critical to our state's economic development. This week I had the pleasure of participating in the dedication of the new Engineering & Science Institute at Washington State University Vancouver.
As we dedicated the institute, we also dedicated ourselves to an innovative concept: a more open and accessible education system offering unique opportunities in high-demand fields. This concept was realized thanks to a highly effective public/private partnership that included WSU Vancouver, Clark College, Lower Columbia College and the Clark County High Tech Community Council.
The state provided $675,000 for start-up costs and equipment, which began this fiscal year. We're also providing an additional $662,500 next year to pay for the costs student tuition doesn't cover.
| Quote of the Week
“A strong community encompasses all the basics people need for a fulfilling life. In the best of all possible worlds, opportunities for a college education and good jobs are among these basics.”
-Governor Locke, March 22, 2004
In opening those doors this week, we opened doors of opportunity. For Southwest Washington students who want to study computer science, biology and mechanical engineering at the university level. For local businesses and industries to draw from a first-rate local pool of highly educated and trained employees in critical areas-and to have access to quality research opportunities. And for Southwest Washington communities, which will reap the benefits of developing the region's innovation potential-and the jobs that go with it.
Starting next fall, students at WSU Vancouver will benefit from university faculty in these key areas of study. They will be able to conduct university-level research. They will have access to internships and to industry partners.
The Vancouver-Portland area is one of the world semiconductor centers. Until now, this extremely promising industry has lacked a public research presence in the region. The new institute provides this presence.
And now, those companies will be better able to recruit highly educated and trained employees locally. Those good jobs in high-demand fields will now be going to the sons and daughters of Southwest Washington.
Together, we've made this innovative concept an exciting reality. I am very proud of this success. I hope we can duplicate it in other regions of our state. If we want to remain competitive, we must continue to open the doors to higher education opportunities. We must continue to build a highly skilled workforce.
Strong, innovative partnerships between educational institutions, government, business, communities and students have never been more important. The new Engineering & Science Institute at WSU Vancouver shows just what can be accomplished though such partnerships. Sometimes the whole really is much greater than the sum of the parts.
Nation's Governors Coming to Seattle
Governor Locke and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced on March 24 that the 2004 National Governors Association
(NGA) Annual Meeting will be held in Seattle. The meeting will take place July 17-19. The NGA, which first met in 1908, supports governors by providing a bipartisan forum to help shape and implement national policy and to solve state problems. “I'm honored that Seattle was selected to host this meeting. We submitted a bid back in 2002 to host this conference and the date is now quickly approaching,” the Governor said. “This is part of our ongoing efforts to bring economic development opportunities to our state.” The conference is expected to bring more than $1.5 million to the state's economy. The NGA meeting typically includes governors of nearly all 50 states plus U.S. commonwealths and territories. In addition, the president is invited and about 1,200 others representing business, industry, cabinet officials, federal and local governments.
Promoting Rural Economic Growth
Governor Locke signed key economic development legislation March 19, including a bill he requested to spur economic development
in rural areas. The governor signed bills that modify tax incentives for rural counties, provide tax relief for aluminum smelters and promote Washington state agriculture through the “From the Heart of Washington” campaign. “This is a great day for economic development,” the Governor said. “The legislation we're signing will help our rural counties create more economic development opportunities. It will assist our state's aluminum plants hit hard by skyrocketing electrical costs. And it will continue a very successful program that promotes Washington agricultural products.”
Reading Excellence in Everett
Governor Locke and Terry Bergeson, state superintendent of public instruction, presented Madison Elementary School in Everett with the “Reading School of the Month
; award on March 18. “Reading is the foundation of all academic success,” the Governor told students. “No matter what you want to be when you grow up, you have to start by being a good reader. I am so proud of all the progress the students at Madison have made in reading. It's a credit to your hard work, and to the hard work of your teachers, administrators and parents.” Madison Elementary is above the state average percentages in all areas of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, and the school has made significant gains during the past three years. Forty seven percent of Madison students participate in the state's free or reduced price lunch program.
Creating Jobs Through Public Projects
Governor Locke signed a bill March 22 that authorizes loans totaling more than $236 million for 79 public works projects
across the state. The 56 local governments receiving the Public Works Trust Fund loans are contributing an additional $246 million into these projects. This brings the total investment to more than $482 million. The projects will generate more than 11,000 construction-related jobs and more than $1 billion in economic activity for the state. The Governor congratulated local governments for investing in their future and recognized the Public Works Board for making difficult decisions in selecting these projects. “This bill will create new jobs now while improving infrastructure for the future,” he said. “We need to move these dollars out as soon as possible to put people to work and grow our economy.” This is the most money ever offered in the board's 20 years of service.
Success Story: A Green Legislative Building
The Department of General Administration recently earned national recognition for environmentally sound construction practices in restoring the state's Legislative Building
. The restoration project was recognized in a recent newsletter from the U.S. General Services Administration as a leading example of environmental stewardship. The work has been designed to attain the highest possible rating for historical buildings according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED includes guidelines for recycling, energy conservation and use of renewable materials. Governor Locke issued an executive order in 2002 directing all state agencies to establish environmentally friendly practices in their operations.
3/26: Bill Action, Olympia
3/28: Wing Luke Museum Dinner, Seattle
3/29: Bill Action, Olympia
3/30: Bill Action, Olympia
3/31: Weekly News Conference, Olympia
3/31: Bill Action, Olympia
4/1: Bill Action, Olympia
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