News Releases
Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Locke urges economic development strategies for rural areas

FORKS – Gov. Gary Locke today met with Forks community leaders and urged continued collaboration to strengthen the local economy and revitalize the community.

Addressing more than 60 local officials, tribal leaders and local business people at an economic development roundtable, the governor praised the community members for their commitment to work together toward the common good.

“My visit to Forks today is part of the tour we’ve been doing across the state to assess how rural areas are faring in the economic downturn and to hear your ideas about how we can aid in speeding the recovery,” Locke said. “You demonstrate your commitment to this community and its future when you all come together to discuss your proposals.”

Forks Mayor Nedra Reed, City of Forks Attorney and Planner Rod Fleck, U.S. Forest Service Superintendent of the Olympic Region Dale Hom, Makah Tribal Chair Gordon Smith, Lower Elwha Klallam Chair Dennis Sullivan, Jamestown S’Klallam Chair Ron Allen, Quileute Tribal Chair Russ Woodruff and other leaders attended the session.

The governor discussed the steps that his administration has taken to get the state’s economy moving again, including winning new funding for the Community Economic Revitalization Board to improve roads, water systems, sewers and telecommunications services in rural areas.

“We’ve also allowed rural counties to keep more of the sales taxes, that would otherwise be sent to Olympia, for local economic development projects,” the governor noted.

Earlier this month, the Washington State Department of Agriculture awarded a $40,000 grant to market Quinault Pride Seafood products to major grocery chains and in-store food events at the stores.

Locke also discussed the importance of modern telecommunications to rural areas, not only in economic development, but also in access to education, health care services and recreation. He noted that the state has authorized public utility districts and rural port districts to provide wholesale telecommunications services. It also has provided tax credits for telecommunications-dependent businesses that are located in rural counties.

“We continue to work on improving economic competitiveness across the state, through the Washington Competitiveness Council and the implementation of its recommendations,” Locke said.

The governor delivered a similar message at the Lower Columbia College in Cowlitz County on Tuesday. He spoke to local officials including leaders of the Cowlitz Economic Development Council. He also met with members of the Columbia Action Program and WorkSource on workforce training programs available at the college.

Locke emphasized the importance of improving the state’s transportation system to increase freight mobility, allow people to get to their jobs more easily and to make the state more competitive.

“We simply must invest in transportation to keep our businesses growing and strengthen our state’s economy,” Locke said.
Related Links:
- Washington Competitiveness Council
- Community Economic Revitalization Board

» Return to this month's News Releases
» View News Release Archive

Access Washington