Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Boards & Commissions Training Session
May 19, 2000
Thank you, Rose, for the thoughtful words.
I’m honored to be here. I want to welcome all boards and commission members, old and new.
By becoming a member of boards and commissions, you have already proved two things. One, you care. Two, you are respected amongst your peers and members of your community. Those two qualities alone give you the power to do an awful lot of good, but you’re all gifted in other ways as well. And I am proud to have all of you on the boards and commissions of our state.
I am always amazed at the complexity and variety of boards and commissions we have in Washington, each one helping government do its job better; making government not just function, but work. You are vital to the quality of life in Washington; vital to government’s ability to deliver services efficiently and effectively; and vital to the public’s opinion that government is, in fact, governing.
And when it comes down to it, "governing" just means responding to the needs and concerns of our citizens. The residents of our state – carpenters, nurses, salespeople, teachers, farmers, grocers, children, grandparents – are real people with the same array of pressures and desires we have.
One reason I love this training session is that I know everyone in this room wants to do good, wants to contribute and have a positive impact on the lives of the people in our state. Einstein said that, "it is every person’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it." And you are stepping up to that obligation. Without financial compensation.
Boards and commissions allow citizens to actively participate in government. Consequently, government is more responsive to the citizens it serves. It’s a nice circle that way. You may be a doctor, a career firefighter, teacher or a real estate agent in your "real" life. But your involvement in a board that regulates your business brings government, your industry and the general public together. Boards and commissions ensure that the people being licensed and the regulations being put in place meet standards of quality and competence.
The way I see it is you are the eyes and ears of your industry, the public and my office. Some of you are setting policy for our community and four-year colleges. Some of you are determining how agencies should run. Some of you provide me with advice and recommendations regarding issues ranging from farmworker housing to the prevention of substance abuse. But you all play an important part in the working of Washington state government.
So I am asking you to be constantly on the look-out for better ways of doing business. Not settling for the status quo, but constantly listening to your customers to make sure we are meeting their needs and striving to improve.
Some of our customers sit around the dinner table with us. Some play squash with us or teach our children long-division. From a customer’s point of view, making government simpler is often synonymous with making it better. If the program you oversee is drafting rules, make sure they are understandable, and needed. If you can see a way of saving money, pursue it. That’s what your role is in oversight.
The unselfish time you give to the boards and commissions must be well spent. I know it is a balancing act. You all have real jobs to do -- some completely separate from the board or commission position -- and families to care for. At the end of the day, I hope you feel that the work you do is making a positive difference in your life and in the lives of the people of our great state.
Thank you very much.