Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
"Jobs Now" Tour: Olympic College, Bremerton
February 11, 2003

Good morning, and thank you for coming today. It’s great to be here on this beautiful campus. And it’s a pleasure to be joined today by the President of Olympic College, Dr. David Mitchell, and Mayor Cary Bozeman.

Students here at Olympic College and other colleges and universities around our state are an extremely important part of our future. They are critical to our state’s economic vitality. The knowledge and skills gained on our college campuses will give our students great opportunities for fulfilling lives and promising jobs. And our college graduates will help meet the workforce needs of our state’s industries, businesses and professions tomorrow.

This college is a place of great intellectual energy and idealism. But I’m sure these students are also well aware of the harsh realities our state faces today. These are tough economic times. And jobs are the key to economic recovery. We need to create more jobs now.

My proposed state construction budget creates more than 13,000 new private sector construction and other family-wage jobs during the next two years—jobs building and renovating buildings on campuses like this one, and for our public schools and our prisons. The proposal sustains 11,000 jobs in the two fiscal years that follow. My proposal calls for $2.5 billion in new public works funding.

You have heard me talk about jobs before. Just a few weeks ago, I emphasized the importance of jobs in my State of the State address. I have emphasized many times that jobs are the key to economic recovery. What’s new about saying this today?

Today, in Olympia, we have an immediate opportunity to make a real difference in creating jobs. Jobs that will help the Washington citizens who receive them, and jobs that will help all Washington citizens by building needed facilities and bringing other vital state facilities up to date or up to standard.

These projects include $223 million in new construction at universities, $312 million at community and technical colleges and $380 million for public schools—investments to ensure a highly educated citizenry and workforce. We’ll fund this construction through general obligation bonds, by borrowing it and paying it back over the next 20 years at very low interest rates. This is comparable to what many homeowners do, or people who buy cars with loans at zero or very low interest rates.

We’ve seen the results of such beneficial public works over the past couple of years at Olympic College. In December, construction of the new physical plant was completed. The new Poulsbo satellite campus is now about 40% completed. And my budget calls for $22 million to build a new Olympic College Science and Technology Center here. The new Center replaces a 1953 facility that does not meet today’s standards. Improvements like these help Olympic College students by giving them the facilities they need and deserve for a great education. As they graduate and join our state’s workforce, we all benefit from that great education.

Looking around today, and understanding how vitally important these college students are to our state’s future, it’s easy to see that these are worthwhile investments.

I urge the Legislature to make the approval of this budget their number one priority. Our state desperately needs the thousands of jobs the budget will bring. And Olympic College and other campuses in our state need and deserve facilities like the Science and Technology Center to provide our college students with an excellent education.

We have the power to help thousands of our fellow citizens, to help the college students we see here today, and to move our economy in the right direction.

Let’s not wait any longer.

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