Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Capital for a Day Town Hall Meeting
November 16, 1999


It’s great to be here in Port Angeles tonight! I’m here to listen to your concerns and to answer your questions, but first there are some people I really need to thank.
Commissioner Mike Doherty, thank you for that kind introduction and thank you, Mayor Gary Braun for the lovely welcoming remarks, and for hosting “Capital for a Day.” I would also like to thank the Stevens Middle School Jazz Band and “Kids on Broadway” Musical Group for their outstanding performances. Additionally, thank you Boy Scout Pack 447, Dens 3 and 5, and Girl Scout Troop #701 for the patriotic flag ceremony. I’d also like to thank each and every one of you who took the time to talk with me today, and for being here tonight!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our dinner sponsors—Bushwacker Restaurants, Daishowa, KONP and KIKN Radio, First Federal Savings and Loan, Peninsula Bottling Company and the Port Angeles Downtown, Main Street, for making this delicious Spaghetti—or as Emily would say Pasghetti—dinner possible.

Could all of you involved in making this dinner possible please stand and accept our applause and thanks.

One of my favorite parts of family life is when we all get together for dinner on Sundays. It warms my heart to see a whole community gathering together for dinner, like one big family. The people in Washington State are the best. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see so many people here. I also want to point out that we’ve got a national celebrity in our audience today—your own Bob Hill. Bob, could you stand up, please? Bob came in first place in his age group in the New York City Marathon. I can’t imagine even finishing a marathon, let alone winning. Bob Hill, congratulations.

I’ve had a wonderful day, and I’d have to say I’m impressed with what I’ve seen here in Clallam County. I got to go on a walking tour of Port Angeles. I went to a workforce-training event at Peninsula College, and I met with many of you to discuss the economic future of Clallam County.

I’ve always said that not all wisdom resides in Olympia. And I bet a number of you will say that no wisdom resides in Olympia. But I guarantee you that I’ll return to Olympia with more knowledge than I had when I left—knowledge about Clallam County and your needs.

I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure Clallam County prospers in the 21st century.

Two weeks ago the voters of Washington spoke loud and clear—we want a fair and more equitable tax system. The MVET was too high and unfair. We will manage the impact of Initiative 695.

You all know that my number one priority is education. I will not allow funding for education to be sacrificed for transportation. My administration has been working really hard for the last two and a half years to make Washington a better place to live, to work, and to raise a family—and to ensure that Washington is prepared to be competitive in the new millennium.

Our children are our future. We’ve got to insist on excellence in education now. When it comes to education, it’s pay now or pay an awfully lot more later. Or worse, crash later.

I’ve always said education is society’s great equalizer. Well, education is also the economy’s great energizer. And as we barrel into the 21st century, we can’t leave anyone behind. We have to be impatient, not complacent! We can’t lull ourselves into believing that just because we’ve put higher academic standards in place that we can just sit back and wait for the harvest. We’ve done great work by putting the standards in place, but frankly, folks, the hard work has just begun.

We need to be able to reward those students who meet the standards, and intervene when schools aren’t performing well.

This fall I hand-delivered some of the 2,300 Washington Promise Scholarships to the top high school graduates of 1999. These two-year scholarships are available for low-income and middle-income students who attend public or private Washington colleges or universities.

We are trying to make the American dream of a college education affordable and obtainable for working, middle-income families.

I am committed to creating the strongest education system in the nation. I will not slow down until every child meets our tough, new education standards and is rewarded for doing so. I will not slow down until every teacher is tested for competence and rewarded for excellence. I will not slow down until the bridge between the economy and education is so strong that no blast will shake it.

Join me in my commitment to institute teacher testing, to reduce class size, and to keep the Promise Scholarship program going strong. Let’s not leave a single child behind as we enter an exciting new high-tech, global 21st century.

Without further ado, I’m here to listen and to learn. So let’s get started. Who has a question?
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