Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Microsoft Government Symposium
April 4, 2000
GOVERNOR LOCKE UNVEILS DIGITAL WASHINGTON
Thanks for that wonderful introduction, Jeff Raikes. Welcome to Washington!
Despite Judge Jackson's ruling, Microsoft's products have greatly benefited consumers. We believe Microsoft will continue to be a center of innovation in a fast-changing marketplace. As the judge considers the remedies, we hope he will consider how much benefit consumers and government have realized from Microsoft's products and how we will continue to receive as you work to improve its products. We in government have especially benefited from the innovations you've brought to the marketplace.
It's my pleasure and privilege to unveil Digital Washington to this group. Microsoft's the perfect host, because Microsoft started all this. Microsoft is revving our state's economic engine and helping government get ready for the future. Microsoft is more than a great company, more than a supplier of great products. Microsoft has been and is our strategic partner in the transformation of government and a new world of service to our citizens. The company challenges us to stay on the cutting edge; our motto for the project I'm revealing today is "If they can do it in Redmond…we can do it in Olympia." And we can. So I'm sharing a first with you this morning. The first fully integrated and cooperative plan for Digital Government in the country!
Nobody else is bringing agencies together the way we are in this plan. The plan not only offers easy access to information, it will provide the tightest security measures available today. Washington leads the nation in Digital Government because of what I'll show you right now.
Washington is orchestrating a groundbreaking relationship between citizens and government…a dot-gov relationship that works like the best of the dot-coms. If you can order your groceries from home, you should be able to register your car and order your license tabs from home. If you can order Windows 2000 from home, you should be able to apply for your business permit from home. So Washington is the first state to offer citizens access to every state agency in "the click of a mouse." And to do it with confidence that their personal information is protected. It's called "Access Washington" @ access.wa.gov. It's state government all under one roof.
We're turning the face of government around to face the people, and protect their privacy at the same time. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. Today is about a change in the way we do government. Give us a year and you'll never have to wait in line again…just don't quote me on that. Our business climate is heating up and government is keeping up…providing citizens with information and services at their fingertips. When they want it. Where they want it. This is about real people doing real business in real time. We are the most technology-intensive economy in the nation. We have more than 7,000 high-tech establishments employing more than 76,000 people, paying more than 3.7 billion in wages, thanks in a large part to Microsoft…so our citizens are used to interacting with a computer all day long. So we want them to be able to interact with us in government through their computer, too.
From in line to on-line…it's all about the streamline that government can and will be. And all the while, we're making government more efficient, less expensive, and greener! We're phasing this in…so by the time it's all in place, it will be just what our citizens want. Trust is about relevance. We want people to trust government. For them to trust government, we must be relevant in their lives. "access.wa.gov."
It would take me all day to tell you the things you can already do once you "Access Washington"…but here are a few. Our businesses can pay their excise taxes on line. Our state can purchase goods and services on line. Our citizens can check out a contractor's license… if the estimate on your new roof seems too high, you can go to your government… "Access Washington"…and find out the reputation of the contractor who gave you the quote and find out if he's licensed. Every Legislator's e-mail address at your fingertips. You can even "Access Washington" and look up unclaimed money belonging to you, owed by banks or government.
First thing every morning in the near future, our citizens will be able to check in with government to see what we can do for them today.
It would take me all week to tell you what Access Washington-once it is fully unveiled-will be capable of. But I'll give you a taste. Let's say it's midnight and you can't sleep because your daughter's not home yet from her "date at the library"? Why not renew your car registration? Enroll your son in elementary school. Reserve a state park campsite for your summer family vacation. Apply for a fishing license. All you have to do is "Access Washington."
One day you'll be able to simply type in "my son turned 18 today" and "Access Washington" will tell you every state service this milestone makes available to him, how to register to vote, what scholarships might be available for him…and what kind of counseling may be available for you…if you start to suffer from "empty nest syndrome." We want citizens to take charge of their relationship with government. When something affects Tom's Deli, people don't think "gee, this is an Economic Development Issue" they think "this is about Tom's Deli." And so should we. We're turning government service into one-stop shopping. I'm proud to say that "Access Washington" has won nearly every award a website can win. It's got a veritable Oscar in the website world.
And while that's an honor, there's something more important. What's important to me is that in the course of only a month, our citizens open doors in "Access Washington" a million times. Every 30 seconds another citizen opens another door in "Access Washington"…and gets that much closer to government. That matters to me. That matters to me very much.