August 14, 2000
Governor Gary Locke spoke before a joint meeting of the Woodinville and Northshore chambers of commerce last Tuesday at Chateau Ste. Michelle.
More than a hundred members heard Locke detail his top concerns: transportation, health benefits and education after relating his own connection to the spirit of entrepreneurs.
"My father had a bistro in the Pike Place Market and then a grocery store on Nickerson in the Fremont District," said Locke, talking about the challenges of business and the new entrepreneurs that have brought jobs and prosperity to the state.
"People with entry level jobs are finding housing too expensive," said Locke, talking about the need for reliable transportation. "They are moving further out and finding it a tough commute. We need to find a long-time lasting consensus on how to meet our transportation problems. We, our children and grandchildren have too much at stake," said Locke.
The Blue Ribbon Transportation Committee has 30 members appointed from all walks of life who are developing options for a more streamlined road system, according to Locke, who said there are no quick fixes, but that he plans on using the recommendations of the Committee to institute changes.
"We need to integrate a multi-mobile system," he said, describing what would happen if all the transit riders decided to drive and were put in one line. "The line would stretch 325 miles morning and night, from Seattle to Montana.
Locke called for a non-partisan approach to working to solve transit issues.
On health, Locke said that this year's Legislature worked to persuade health insurance companies to return to the Washington market by repealing unproductive laws.
"We expect insurers to return this fall to the individual and small group market," he said.
He described how the use of technology is saving money in Washington State government agencies and being reinvested in education and that the state is #1 in the nation in the moving of people from welfare to work.
Locke spoke of the "tough new academic standards" put in place by parents, educators and community leaders.
"We are beginning to reduce the class sizes in the early grades," said Locke.
He spoke of professional standards for teachers and scholarships for top students of middle income families."I will not stop until every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential."