News Releases
Office of Governor Gary Locke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 25, 2002
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136
Alt Contact:  Kirsten Kendrick, Governorís Communications Office, 360-902-4136 or 360-239-1399 cell

Gov. Gary Locke Makes Statewide Sweep to Tout Economic Development

Gov. Gary Locke will begin a three-day tour of several Washington cities today to make a number of key announcements regarding economic development and to discuss how Washington has become more competitive.

Locke will travel to Spokane today to sign an executive order creating the Washington State Economic Development Commission. He will also announce the 14 members of the commission. The group will offer key private sector input to the stateís economic policy.

The Governorís Competitiveness Council recommended the formation of the commission, which will represent all parts of the state and many diverse industries, including tourism, agriculture and information technology.

Locke will also highlight Spokaneís emerging biotechnology industry by meeting with industry leaders at the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute (SIRTI). SIRTI is a state-funded organization that leverages the resources of business, higher education, private investors, and state and federal governments to grow early-stage companies developing biomedical, digital and energy technologies.

On Thursday morning, Sept. 26, the governor will speak at the Association of Washington Businesses Policy Summit in Blaine. He will then tour the Clark County Skills Center in Vancouver. The governor will announce a $200,000 investment in the Skills Center and the Evergreen School District to expand medical careers training programs for high school students. He will also speak at a Vancouver Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

On Thursday afternoon, Locke will join Safeway executives at the future site of the companyís new multi-million-dollar regional distribution center in Auburn. When complete, the facility will employ more than 1,000 people, including 200 newly created jobs. The stateís improved regulatory and permitting processes allowed Safeway to meet all of its timelines without sacrificing environmental protections. The reforms were another recommendation of the Governorís Competitiveness Council.

On Friday, Sept. 27, Locke will meet with Tacoma leaders to discuss economic development efforts in the downtown core and at the Port of Tacoma. The governor will receive a briefing on port activities and take a boat tour of the waterfront. He will also meet with city and business leaders at the new Museum of Glass to discuss downtown revitalization efforts.

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