Lowry to sign sister-state agreement in Mexico

Olympia -- Gov. Mike Lowry will travel to Mexico on Sunday (July 21) to finalize Washington's new sister-state agreement with the Mexican state of Jalisco.

"Jalisco is a state that is similar to ours in size, population and export production," Lowry said. "I am delighted to finalize what I hope will be an outstanding, long-term relationship with this beautiful state."

During the three-day trip, Lowry will travel to Cuautla for a community festival, and visit the University of Guadalajara in addition to signing the sister-state agreement. The agreement will be signed Monday (July 22) at 9 a.m. (PST) at the Government Palace in Guadalajara. The governor of Jalisco, Alberto Cardenas, will join Lowry in the signing ceremony.

On Sunday, Lowry will travel to the small community of Cuautla, from which several thousand Washington residents have emigrated over the past 30 years. The governor said the owners of some of the best Mexican restaurants in Washington state come from Cuautla, which is 100 miles southwest of Guadalajara. The community has fewer than 4,000 residents, yet among its original habitants are the owners of the Azteca, El Serape, Las Margaritas, and Torero's restaurant chains.

The town is extremely poor, though many Washington Cuautlans have helped reconstruct the church and build a bull-fighting arena over the past several years. Govs. Lowry and Cardenas will watch the procession of the saints to the recently completed church as well as dedicate a new municipal water well on Sunday.

On Monday, the sister-state signing ceremony will be preceded by a breakfast with U.S. business organizations and followed by a tour of the University of Guadalajara and lunch hosted by Gov. Cardenas at Casa Jalisco, the governor's official residence.

Cardenas traveled to Washington state earlier this month to initiate the sister-state agreement during ceremonies at the state capitol in Olympia.

Jalisco, one of Mexico's 31 states, is located in central Mexico and includes the major cities of Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. The state has a 5.7 million people and exports agricultural products, computers, jewelry and tequila. Jalisco is also one of Mexico's most popular tourist destinations.

Washington companies that operate in the state of Jalisco include Alaska Airlines, Weyerhaeuser, Paccar, Microsoft and Costco.

"Our state benefits greatly from sister-state relationships," Lowry said. "Not only do they improve our business relationships, but they also strengthen our educational, cultural and political ties."

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For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office, (360)753-6790.