Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Satsop Development Park Dedication
November 17, 1998

It’s a wonderful pleasure and honor to be here.

Today, we celebrate the convergence of good ideas, good people, and good work. And the result of this convergence is economic opportunity, a stronger community, and a powerful model for progress that will inspire people all across Washington state.

The inauguration of this park, and the grand opening of Safe Harbor Technologies, have been made possible by a series of partnerships – partnerships that brought educators, business, government officials and civic leaders together to pursue a common goal. That common goal is the common good. This project benefits all of us: the people who will work here, the Harbor community as a whole, and the citizens in other communities who will be inspired and encouraged by your success.

This project is a testament to the power of three ideas. The first is the idea of partnership. This project demonstrates that all the really important things we do, we do together. This is not the work of a Lone Ranger who will ride off into the sunset. This is the work of people who are building powerful and lasting networks of friends, colleagues, and partners.

The second is the idea of learning for life. The people who will work here – whether it’s for Safe Harbor or for companies that haven’t been conceived of yet – will be people who are willing to learn new skills, to broaden their horizons, and to rise to the challenge of change. Learning is the price of admission to the 21st century. And one of the great assets of this community is that you’ve been among the first to figure this out.

To me, there is no greater hero than the timber worker who, after twenty years of working in the woods, returns to the classroom to learn new skills. That’s not an easy thing to do. It takes courage, faith, and hard work to learn a new skill and a new way of life when you’re over 30 or 40. And in the years to come, our changing economy will mean that thousands upon thousands of people all over our state will be called on to follow the trail blazed by Grays Harbor County timber workers.

The third idea is loyalty to community. As all of you know, I was outraged last year when a legislator said that the answer for distressed rural areas was for people to move to Seattle. What makes our state a great place to live, work and raise a family is the deep roots that people have in communities like this one. And to see Bo Wandell, Bill Miller, and Brian Sterling make this investment in their hometown is the best rebuttal to that legislator’s callous and insensitive idea.

This ceremony is truly a homecoming. And one of the people who’s come home to the Harbor area is Jacqueline Stengel. Jacqueline, will you please stand up? Jacqueline is a graduate of Elma High School who spent nine years living in Redmond and working for Nintendo. She’s come back to the Harbor area, taken classes at the Cell Center, and is now going to work for Safe Harbor Technologies. Let’s all welcome her home.

I intend to keep faith with people like Jacqueline by doing all I can to support and encourage the development of this venture and others like it. To do that, I want to make Washington a state of learning – a state where every one learns for life, and a state where everyone has the opportunity to learn whatever they need to know, whenever they need to know it.

Right now, too many high-tech companies are forced to hire people from other states and even other countries. And, at the same time, our students are being turned away from training that would prepare them for these jobs, because our college and university high-tech programs don’t have room for them. That’s outrageous and wrong. I want Washington jobs for Washington citizens. That’s why, last Friday, I announced a $25 million plan for a partnership between educators and high-tech businesses to triple the number of people who will be trained to fill the jobs that companies like Safe Harbor are creating.

That’s why I am announcing – right here, right now – that I will also propose to the legislature tax credits that will encourage high-tech companies to locate in communities like this. I will propose tax credits for programming, software development, and technical support companies that locate in places like Grays Harbor County, so that we can grow high-wage jobs everywhere in Washington state, not just in our big metropolitan areas. In the years ahead, I also intend to make sure that every corner of our state is served by the telecommunications systems that people need to do business on the Internet.

The metaphor that describes all these values – partnership, learning, and loyalty to our hometowns – comes from the computer industry: "We are all connected." We are all connected, not just in the worldwide web, but in the web we weave when we live together raise our children together, and share in the care and nurturing of our communities.

Today, we celebrate strong new strands in the web of this community and our state. We celebrate both our newest technologies, and our oldest and most enduring values. We celebrate the hometown heroes whose hard work has made a dream come to life. We celebrate the people of Safe Harbor Technologies, and the people from the Port, the PUD and the County who formed the Grays Harbor Development Authority. But most of all, we celebrate a new era of opportunity and optimism this wonderful community, and for all those who will be inspired by your example.

So on behalf of every citizen of Washington state, I offer heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked to make this possible. You have created a lasting legacy that will be the pride of this community and our state for decades to come.

Thank you very much.
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