Northwest NEWS

November 1, 1999


Guest Editorial

A Capital Idea

by Gov. Gary Locke

   To me, being governor means providing the link between government policies and the people those policies affect--the people of Washington State.

   That's why, when I was sworn in as governor in 1997, I made a commitment to myself that my administration would seek input from people from all parts of our state. As President Abraham Lincoln declared, government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Therefore, government must listen to the people.

   I know how hard it can be for people to get involved in their state's government--long hours at work, family commitments, and the distance from Olympia all make it difficult. What we really need is to move the capital out of Olympia and into local communities, where people can listen, share their concerns, and get answers from their government directly.

   That's exactly what I try to do with "Capital for a Day." I take my entire executive cabinet--the people who run the day-to-day workings of the executive branch of state government--to local communities around the state. We spend a day in the community, listening to concerns and answering questions. We're trying to be better partners with you to make your communities stronger and more vibrant. We are trying to make government more efficient, responsive, and focused on the needs of all people.

   Through "Capital for a Day," we deepen our understanding of local concerns and priorities, build partnerships with community leaders that will benefit both local communities and the state, and give citizens direct access to the highest levels of the administration.

   I often say that not all wisdom resides in Olympia; that, in fact, sometimes it seems that not much wisdom at all resides in Olympia. Part of "Capital for a Day" is getting the government out of Olympia, and into a community so that we might all benefit from a different point of view. And after every "Capital for a Day," we return to Olympia with more knowledge than we had when we left--knowledge about our local communities and their needs.

   To date, we've brought the executive branch of our state government to Everett, Spokane, Vancouver, Aberdeen, Yakima, the Tri-Cities, and Bellingham, and have always returned to Olympia with fresh perspectives and ideas about how to make Washington a better place to live, work, and raise a family. And in November, we'll be in Port Angeles, gathering wisdom from folks on the peninsula.

   If we haven't seen you at a "Capital for a Day" already, I hope we'll see you at one in the future. Let's work together to make sure that Washington's government is of the people, by the people, and for the people.