Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Battelle Seattle Research Center Open House
June 29, 2004
Good evening. It’s a pleasure to be here. What a beautiful new location for an important and well-established member of this community.
Battelle’s been a part of our state for four decades, managing Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland since 1965. In that time, the Laboratory’s distinctions have included countless national awards and a Presidential visit. Shortly after arriving at Richland, Battelle established the Marine Sciences Lab at Sequim and then this organization, the Battelle Seattle Research Center.
Battelle has been behind globally important studies of such diverse subjects as major solar eclipses, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and environmentally friendlier automobiles – using fuel cells and converting agricultural wastes into energy, and even pharmaceuticals.
Two years ago, I helped celebrate the arrival of PNNL’s 900-megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. Easy for me to say! This impressive instrument is providing new insights into basic molecular and cellular processes.
Changing times have brought new issues. This office is now home to the Center for Global Security. And Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a leader in our region in providing science and technology support to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Battelle is much more than a presence in our state—it is a very active agent of change and improvement.
Battelle and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory staff members have also devoted substantial time and energy to many important Washington initiatives and groups. The Washington Competitiveness Council. The Washington Economic Development Commission. And they’ve participated in formulating my Bio 21 proposal.
Bio 21 seeks to merge and build on the two great strengths of biotechnology and information technology to cure diseases and promote medical breakthroughs. Bio 21 would establish Washington as a global leader in computer and biological sciences. It has enormous potential to create new industries and thousands of good-paying jobs for our state.
Under Bio 21, we will be dedicating all or most of the annual “strategic tobacco settlement payments” or bonus tobacco settlement money, which Washington would begin to receive in 2008. We’re talking $500 million dollars over 10 years that would go to a non-profit entity that would provide grants to promising research to cure diseases.
Just a few weeks ago, the Milken Institute ranked greater Puget Sound fifth in the nation as a biotechnology cluster. This is further proof of our success in already developing tomorrow’s economy in the cutting-edge science industries.
But Bio 21 would give us a special niche and create a pre-eminent cluster of discovery, innovation and thousands of high paying jobs.
So while these doors are newly opened, your remarkable reputation and track record of research and innovation precede you. Thank you for allowing me to join you in tonight’s open house. And congratulations on four decades of outstanding achievement for our state. Keep up the great work!