Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Weekly News Conference: Economic Development and CTED
January 21, 2004
Good morning. Thank you for being here.
Joining me today are:
· Martha Choe, director of CTED;
· Robin Pollard, assistant director of economic development at CTED; and
· Juli Wilkerson, currently director of the Economic Development Department at the City of Tacoma.
We are here today to talk about economic development in our state – on many different levels:
Economic Development Legislation
First, I want to outline the economic development legislation that I would like to see the Legislature pass this session. (You have the details, including bill numbers, in the press materials that we’ve handed out.)
· We must encourage research and development in Washington by extending tax incentives for research and development in our state.
· We must continue to promote jobs in rural Washington and extend the sales tax exemption on construction of manufacturing facilities in rural areas as well as the B&O tax credit.
· We must help local governments attract new businesses and expand existing businesses with investments in sewers, roads and other infrastructure by providing local governments that are willing to invest in their own infrastructure an opportunity to keep some of the state taxes generated when businesses take advantage of these improvements and locate or expand in local communities.
· We must also continue agriculture promotion efforts that support the state’s rural economy. My 2004 supplemental budget would maintain funding for the “From the Heart of Washington” program, which provides advertising and in-store labeling for Washington-produced agriculture products.
We must also fulfill the state’s agreement to The Boeing Company for the 7E7 project. I urge passage of legislation that would provide funding for an Employment Resource Center with state-of-the-art equipment to house the workforce development programs for the 7E7 and its suppliers located close to the assembly site.
Competitiveness Council II Recommendations
Also on the topic of economic development, the Competitiveness Council issued its latest round of recommendations to me this week. We are already working to implement many of those recommendations.
I reconvened the Competitiveness Council last October to continue their previous work.
Many of the council’s recommendations are part of the economic development legislation we’re proposing – or are already part of my 2004 supplemental budget. I am working to implement other recommendations through Executive Order or agency directive.
The council agrees with what we have been saying all along – that you can’t have successful economic development without investing in education, particularly higher education.
We are succeeding. We have made our state more competitive. Landing the Boeing 7E7 final assembly in our state is proof of that.
Today, I am appointing the woman largely responsible for that victory, Martha Choe, to a new role – as the state coordinator for the 7E7 project.
Martha has done an outstanding job as head of CTED, with incredible results. Under her leadership, the agency has helped create thousands of new jobs in our state, attract hundreds of new companies, help existing companies grow and expand, and develop more international trade opportunities for our businesses and farmers.
In just the past two years alone, eight companies have opened or broken ground on major regional distribution centers in our state – choosing Washington over other Northwest states. One of those companies, Univera, is relocating its U.S. operations from Colorado to Washington state. Univera chose Washington over Oregon and California.
Our state also owes Martha a debt of immense gratitude for helping to secure Boeing commercial airplane production – and thousands of family-wage jobs – in Washington state for decades to come. Though I am sad to see Martha leave CTED, I am confident she will serve the state well in her new role.
Joining Martha on the 7E7 project team will be Robin Pollard, assistant director of economic development at CTED who assisted Martha in heading up our 7E7 proposal. Robin will be assigned to a continuing role as CTED’s project manager for the 7E7 final assembly site implementation team.
Having Martha and Robin in these positions will ensure that the state fulfills its agreement with Boeing for the 7E7 project. We need their experience, knowledge and expertise. These are critical jobs, and I am confident they are in very capable hands.
I would now like to invite Martha and Robin to say a few words. First, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Martha Choe…
Thank you, Martha and Robin, for all of your great work at CTED.
Today I am also announcing my appointment to replace Martha as the director of CTED - Juli Wilkerson.
Juli has a very impressive background in economic development and is the best person to build on the many successes of the agency. As we continue to focus even more on economic development and job creation in our state, I am confident that Juli will do great things.
Juli comes to us from Tacoma, where, for the past five years, she has served as director of the city’s Economic Development Department.
Before that, Juli worked as director of Tacoma’s Planning and Development Services Department and as Tacoma’s assistant city manager. She also served as assistant director of communications and operations for the state Department of Revenue, and held various positions in the state Attorney General’s office. She also worked as a junior high school teacher in Omaha, Nebraska!
I am very proud to introduce Juli Wilkerson, the new director of the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. Juli…
Thank you very much Juli, and welcome aboard!