Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
DOC Awards Ceremony
May 8, 2003

Thank you Secretary Lehman for that kind introduction.

And thank you for all of the tremendous work you do leading this outstanding group of people.

This year, 108 individuals are receiving statewide and regional honors.

Awards such as Employee of the Year, the Community Service Award, the Inspirational Award, and the Excellence Through Collaboration Award will be bestowed here today.

I am happy to be here to tell you in person just how much I respect and honor the professional work you do, day in and day out.

You deserve to take great pride in the recognition that comes to you today.

You and all your colleagues in corrections – in the institutions and the community – are right to be very proud of what you do.

Your work is vital to making our communities safer and better places to live, work, and raise a family.

You have some of the toughest jobs in our state and America.

You have to manage people who have shown that they don’t belong in our communities.

Then you have to manage them when they re-enter those communities.

Your daily work is demanding, often dangerous, often thankless, often frustrating.

The rewards can be few and far between.

Every day you have to make decisions and choices that can make a big difference in the lives of offenders, and in the communities where offenders live.

It’s especially important to recognize excellence in tough economic times like these.

At a time when more people need state services, we've had to make deep painful cuts to deal with a record deficit.

We have a growing state population with shrinking revenues.

This places higher demands on state employees—and makes your work that much more important.

You face a growing workload with fewer resources.

This is true even as we slow down the growth of prison populations, and reduce supervision caseloads in the community.

You face the pressures that come from court decisions about liability for offenders’ misconduct.

You face a difficult transition into the Offender Accountability Act and a new information system that will take years to implement fully.

Yet you still do your jobs - and do them well.

All of today’s honorees were nominated by their peers.

That in itself is a high honor.

These nominations describe your leadership, your professionalism, your integrity.

In spite of all the challenges, you quietly model the Department’s vision of “Working Together for Safe Communities.”

So on behalf of the citizens of Washington State, I applaud your accomplishments.

And I applaud the fine work of the entire Department of Corrections staff.

You represent public service at its finest.

Sometimes you may lose sight of just how critical your work is to our state government.

Coming to work every day and getting caught up in the details and stress can wear you down.

That’s why events like this are so important.

I want to make one thing absolutely clear to you this morning: what you do each day makes a big difference to the people of Washington.

I deeply appreciate what you do. You have a tough job. I’m very proud of you and your great work.

Our state corrections system relies on your commitment and expertise.

We need you.

Congratulations to all of today’s award winners.

Keep up the good work!

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