New governor hails marriage equality, says 'first priority' is jobs
Here are some excerpts from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's inaugural address, delivered January 16 in Olympia.
Our world is changing faster and more dramatically than ever before. 'Once-in-a-lifetime' events now seem to happen with startling regularity.
We've seen the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, natural disasters fueled by climate change, and unimaginable human tragedies like Sandy Hook Elementary.
But we also bear witness to rapid breakthroughs in technology, medicine, and the fundamental understanding of our universe.
Every day I am left in awe at how much we are able to achieve, and heartbroken over the tragedies that we have had to endure. We truly live in extraordinary times.
We also live in an extraordinary state, filled with extraordinary people.
Where the world sees uncertainty, we see opportunity. And we all feel a profound responsibility to our children and our grandchildren. We have a spirit of innovation here in Washington that has changed the world, from aerospace to software to e-commerce.
And you know what? We are not done.
[W]e do know two things. One: With our uniquely powerful fusion of values and talents, Washington state has the potential to lead the next wave of world-changing innovations. Two: The world will not wait for us.
This is a very special day for my family. And this is a very special time in history for many other families.
People all across Washington stood up for fairness and family in approving marriage equality last November. We should all be proud. The vote on Referendum 74 represents the best of who we are as a state. It should be an inspiration for the progress we can make, towards equality, fairness and justice across all of Washington.
I look forward to a true partnership with Senate Majority leader Rodney Tom and Minority Leader Ed Murray, and with House Speaker Frank Chopp and Minority Leader Richard DeBolt.
I want us to collaborate early and often on a legislative agenda that benefits all of Washington. I want to work with every member of the Legislature too. Our economy draws its strength from a marketplace of ideas, and so should our state.
I have a new job, a new vantage point, and the world looks much different. A once vibrant and growing state economy was brought low by the gross irresponsibility by those on Wall Street. As a result we have suffered four years of recession, with almost 300,000 people in Washington looking for work.
Too many of our families are on the brink of losing their home. Parents lie awake at night wondering how they can provide for their children's future.
But we remain an optimistic state, a visionary state and an innovative state. Time has not dimmed and the recession has not diminished our thirst for innovation and our talent for technological growth. We are the most creative, entrepreneurial group of businessmen and women, scientists, educators, and workers on the planet.
So now we must go forward, with both high ambition and a recognition that the power of innovation will fuel the next wave of job growth in Washington.
Make no mistake: our top priority today, tomorrow, and every day for the next four years, is jobs. We must build a working Washington, capable of sustained economic leadership in a rapidly changing world.
FOCUS ON 7 INDUSTRIES
During the campaign I put out a plan to get Washington back to work that grew to over 100 points of action.
My plan focuses on job growth in seven industry clusters: aerospace, life sciences, military, agriculture, information technology, clean energy technology, and the maritime trades.
These clusters represent both the present and the future key drivers of economic growth and job creation in our state. We must support innovators in these areas with incentives to take risks and bring ideas from dream to reality.
Since the recession, the debate over the state budget seems to be stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. We have the same arguments, and we revisit the same untenable options. It's time we made it to a new day.
Today we begin a multi-year effort to bring disruptive change to Olympia, starting with the very core of how we do business.
[This] effort is about more than measurement. It's about instituting a culture shift that will endure well beyond my administration.
Moving forward, all state agencies will be rooted in the same three principles:
First, we will measure success by the results we produce, not the money we put in. Second, we will know our customer and what they value. Third, every agency will adopt a unique process for continual improvement that engages our state employees. Change is coming to Olympia, and I want all state employees to be active partners in it.
IMPROVING HEALTH CARE
[The move for change] runs directly through health-care reform. This means investing in preventative care, and aligning incentives with patients to encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
King County is already doing this, and it is working. We'll improve the health of all of us in Washington, as we move from 'sick care' to the true health-care system we deserve.
We need to leverage our Medicaid and state employee health systems, and engage providers, carriers, and community clinics to find innovative payment models and health-care delivery systems that incentivize quality over quantity.
Effectively implementing the Affordable Care Act will save us money, by removing the hidden tax of hundreds of dollars paid monthly by all of our state's insured citizens. We can do this, for the health of our family and the health of our economy. When we make our health-care system more efficient, we lower the cost of doing business in our state.
The states that get this right will have a clear advantage in recruiting and retaining the jobs of tomorrow. This session, we must make sure Washington gets this right, first.
We must also protect the quality and choice that we expect from a health-care system that works. Washington women need the freedom and privacy to make the health-care decisions that are best for themselves and their families.
'LET'S GET TO WORK'
We don't deny science in Washington, we embrace it. We do not follow technological innovation, we lead it. And we will not pass up a golden opportunity to create jobs.
Washington is a state that embraces all people for who they are. A state that allows all to love who they will. A state that is never content with today, but is always leading the world in inventing tomorrow. A state whose very name commits itself to the preservation of its own beauty for its own grandchildren, and its own great-grandchildren: The Evergreen State.
Thank you. Now let's get to work.
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