Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Investment Seminar, Japan
July 25, 2002
Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here.
And thank you for making time in your busy schedules to be with the State of Washington team this evening.
I want to thank the Grant County Economic Development Council and the City of Longview for sponsoring this seminar.
We would like to share our story and tell you why many global business leaders have located in Washington State. Businesses like:
· Microsoft, VoiceStream, Attachmate and RealNetworks, leaders in high technology;
· Biotech companies like Avior Therapeutics and Sound Pharmaceuticals, who recognize that Washington State has long been one of the premier biotechnology and medical device technology centers in the world;
· Immunex and Nintendo;
· Paccar – a major manufacturer of trucks;
· Weyerhaeuser, an industry leader and the largest wood products company in the U.S.;
· The Fred Hutchinson Research Center; along with University of Washington, an innovative leader in healthcare;
· Starbucks, a worldwide coffee retailer;
· And clothing giants such as Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, and Recreational Equipment Inc.
These companies made Washington State one of the top 10 most business-friendly states in the nation last year, according to the Small Business Survival Committee.
The entrepreneurial spirit and a strong work ethic are alive and well in Washington State.
We have set the course for our next generation in technology. We are partnering with our schools and working closely with universities on research and development.
In 2001 Washington once again received an "A" on a national report card for economic development from the Corporation for Enterprise Development.
We also received high marks for:
· Workers enjoying high-quality jobs.
· Maintaining growth by making key investments to the state’s infrastructure.
· The state's investment in its digital infrastructure.
· And two factors that contribute to sustainable growth and development:
1. a high quality of life,
2. and the use of renewable energy.
To remain dynamic and competitive, Washington will continue to build on these achievements.
Washington has a vested interest in helping its companies succeed.
Maintaining a strong, vital, and growing economy is our foremost goal. We believe that your company will thrive in this environment.
Washington has become known as the Technology State.
Technology accounts for 38 percent of our state’s total employment.
Washington has the highest skilled tech workers in the country.
And our citizens are better prepared for the high-tech economy than citizens from anywhere else in the United States.
In the last two years we invested millions of dollars at the University of Washington for the next-generation Internet.
And we've wired all of our school districts from Kindergarten through graduate school so our kids grow up knowledgeable about technology.
In the last five years, four major high tech industry clusters have formed in the state –located in the metropolitan Seattle area, Vancouver, Spokane and the Tri-Cities.
And among these high tech cluster groupings are many incubator environments.
Washington is a tremendous place to live, to raise a family, and to grow a business.
The unsurpassed quality of life in Washington makes locating in our state a positive, fulfilling decision.
Our state’s natural beauty and geography also mean an abundance of recreational activities. These include salmon fishing and clam digging, white water rafting and mountain climbing, biking and windsurfing, water-skiing and snow skiing, hiking through picturesque parks and running along lakeside jogging paths. For the less athletically inclined, try wine tasting at one of our internationally recognized wineries, or a quiet walk along some of the many miles of beautiful, unspoiled ocean beaches.
The diverse Washington landscape features fertile agricultural valleys, rugged mountains, alpine forests, rich wine country and vast ocean beaches. Visitors are always telling us we should consider ourselves fortunate. We do.
Besides the natural beauty of the state, there are both quaint towns and thriving metropolitan areas. Our cities of Seattle and Spokane are known for their diverse visitor activities, and also as a launching point to attractions elsewhere in the state. Seattle offers metropolitan appeal to rival any city in the world, with a renowned art and music scene, contemporary and classic theater, and professional sports, like the Seattle Mariners.
In fact, that reminds me that there are two Japanese businessmen with whom you are probably familiar. Both decided to locate in Seattle, both are happy with their decision, and so are we. Their names are Ichiro and Kazuhiro Sasaki! We’re very grateful that they liked Washington enough to stay!
We are a state of innovation, of opportunity, of expansion, and of rapid growth.
We welcome you, and we encourage you to bring your business to Washington