Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
NGA Annual Meeting Opening News Conference
July 17, 2004

Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today to kick off the 96th National Governors Association Annual Meeting.

Mona and I welcome our colleagues from across the United States. Welcome to Seattle, and welcome to the state of Washington. We are honored to have you as our guests.

And we are thrilled to be hosting this year’s annual meeting. These meetings are an important part of effective state and national government. Since 1908, the NGA has led the debate on issues that impact states such as welfare reform, educations reform, expanded medical care for children and prescription drug coverage for seniors. Our annual meetings are a great bipartisan forum for comparing state experiences and aligning ourselves on mutual key interests.

Over the next few days, we will consider some of America’s toughest challenges.

This conference is also part of my ongoing efforts to bring economic benefits to Washington state. The approximate 1,000 attendees will pump about $2.5 million of new spending into the Washington businesses. Many come here early and will stay a few days after the conference.

Mona and I are excited to share the great natural beauty and recreational opportunities of our state, our sensational seafood, the local jazz scene, the Seattle waterfront, the Experience Music Project, and the Space Needle.

We’ve made a concerted effort to use Washington products and talents throughout the meeting. And we want to make sure our visiting governors enjoy their stay—and maybe even feel a bit reluctant to leave when it’s over.

At this time it is my distinct pleasure to introduce the current Chairman of the National Governors Association. From our neighbor to the east, please join me in welcoming Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne…..

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