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For the next few days, we have the honor of hosting the National Governors Association Annual Meeting in Seattle.
This may not seem especially earth–shattering, particularly in the heat of election year campaigning and the buzz of hourly newsflashes. But this NGA meeting promises to be very significant—and it will bring substantial economic benefits to our region.
Thirty-one of our nation’s governors are attending this conference, along with the governors of U.S. commonwealths and territories. Representatives from federal and local governments, businesses, labor, and non-profit organizations, as well as cabinet officials, will also attend.
These annual meetings are important to our state and to our nation. My counterparts and I will consider policy positions on some of the most critical challenges facing the states and America. These are topics we all care deeply about—education, health care, homeland security, the environment and economic development. We’ll focus on such specific issues as health care for vulnerable children and adults, global warming, federal tax policies and disaster aid.
|Quote of the Week
“We’ve made a concerted effort to use Washington products and talents throughout the meeting. This will benefit many Washington businesses. And we want to make sure our visiting governors enjoy their stay—and maybe even feel a bit reluctant to leave when it’s over.”
—Governor Locke, July 16, 2004
Our biggest challenges don’t stop at state borders, and long–term solutions require inter–governmental cooperation. The National Governors Association is the collective bipartisan voice of the nation's governors. It is one of Washington D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations, and was recently named by Fortune magazine as one of America’s most powerful lobbying organizations. Since 1908, the NGA has led the debate on issues that impact states. Our annual meetings are a great forum for comparing state experiences and aligning ourselves on key mutual interests.
We meet at a particularly opportune time. We are in the throes of an election year with momentous implications for America and the rest of the world. While interpretations about what this election means vary widely and wildly, nearly all concur that 2004 is a year of conflicting and polarizing ideologies, difficult questions and major consequences. This is an interesting year for government and politics. The NGA annual meeting creates an opportunity for open dialogue among government leaders from across the country at a time when it matters most.
We work to conclude these meetings with unified positions on state issues to present to Congress and the Administration. Collectively, we are more influential than individual efforts might be in advancing state interests and encouraging federal action.
We submitted our bid to host this year’s gubernatorial gathering back in 2002. We were thrilled when Seattle was selected. Private monies raised through Seattle NGA 2004, a nonprofit organization, fund the conference. It has been very encouraging to see so many Washington state organizations and companies contribute to and support this conference. I am very proud of the high level of civic awareness and involvement in our state. The enthusiasm with which this effort has been backed shows yet again that our state knows a good economic development opportunity when we see one.
This year’s meeting will pump approximately $2.5 million of new spending into Washington state businesses. Many governors and their families and other attendees are extending their visit to explore Washington’s vast natural and cultural offerings.
As we host America’s governors, we have a great opportunity to showcase our beautiful state and the many scenic attractions Washington has to offer. Because this is a presidential election year, we expect broad national media coverage. This will give substantial exposure to key Washington industries, products and sights. Many Washington businesses will benefit because of the concerted effort to use Washington products and talents throughout the NGA Annual Meeting.
Our visitors will experience the great natural beauty and recreational opportunities of our state, our sensational seafood, the local jazz scene, the Seattle waterfront, the Experience Music Project, and the Space Needle.
Welcome to America’s governors and our other visitors. I look forward to a meaningful exchange of ideas. And thank you to the people of Seattle and Washington state for showing our visitors our exceptional hospitality.Sincerely,
Mexico Trade Mission Update
Less than one month after Governor Locke's trade mission to Mexico, the Mexican government has agreed to reopen its markets to Washington’s fresh potato shippers. Reinstating the suspended Washington shippers was one of the key priorities of the mission last month. The governor's meetings with top Mexican government officials during the mission are credited with helping solidify the deal. “This is great news for our state’s potato shippers and growers, and it’s further proof that our trade missions pay off for our state,” the Governor said. “The face–to–face meetings we have on our international trade missions open doors and create new opportunities for Washington farmers and businesses.”
Reading on the Capitol Lawn
Governor Locke hosted a “Read In” with more than 200 children and parents on the lawn of the State Capitol to promote the 2004 Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge on July 14. The event was co’sponsored by the Timberland Regional Library. The governor is encouraging all Washington state residents under the age of 18 to read 15 hours or more by Labor Day (Sept. 6). They have until Sept. 18 to report their success. Students can participate by being part of any summer reading program (local or regional library, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, etc.) or by reading on their own. “It is not too late to meet or beat my challenge,” the Governor said. “If you begin today, you can achieve the goal of 15 hours by reading 20 minutes a day, six days a week.”
The Governor also accepted a $15,000 check from the Verizon Foundation. The grant provided 2,900 books for students who are participating in the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge through 45 Washington Reading Corps summer school programs in elementary schools across the state. The money also provided 100 books to be used as prizes in random drawings at the end of the challenge. Students can report their summer reading adventures to the Governor by logging on to www.governor.wa.gov/summerreadingchallenge or by writing to the following address: Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, P.O. Box 40002, Olympia, WA, 98504-0002.
Success Story: Innovative DSHS Program Helps Juveniles
Washington is successfully using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to treat juvenile offenders in rehabilitation institutions operated by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). The innovative therapy process is used to treat individuals with complex, difficult–to–treat disorders. The process was developed at the University of Washington by Seattle Dr. Marsha Linehan, and was featured in the July 12 edition of the New York Times. The DSHS Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration has been greatly encouraged by the results of the therapy provided to youth who have some of the most acute and complex issues and needs. A 2002 study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy showed that youth receiving DBT were less likely to re–offend and much less likely to commit a felony than a matched comparison group. Another study estimated that every dollar spent on DBT results in $50 of future savings.
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