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Now it’s ‘Governor Inslee’ – Festive Ceremonies Mark Inauguration of New State Executive

Olympia Mostly Smiles as New Democratic Governor Avoids Controversy

"Someday you can hang there with me," outgoing Gov. Christine Gregoire says in the waiting room where gubernatorial portraits are hung.

“Someday you can hang there with me,” outgoing Gov. Christine Gregoire says in the waiting room where gubernatorial portraits are displayed.

OLYMPIA, Jan. 16.—Now you can call him ‘Governor Jay Inslee,” after inauguration ceremonies Wednesday that installed Washington’s 23rd chief executive and 5th Democratic governor in a row. Inslee, victorious in a tight November election against Republican Rob McKenna, raised his right hand, swore the oath, and took over the reins in the Evergreen State.

“This is a great day for the state,” Inslee ad-libbed as he took the pen and scribbled his name on the official certificate. “It’s so great that I am signing the oath of office for the governor of the state of Washington.”

Luckily the rest of the day was scripted. First came the swearing-in ceremony under the Capitol Rotunda, then a speech in the state House, and finally an inaugural ball thrown by the citizens of Thurston County that is perhaps the most lavish and elegant tradition in the state. Also taking their oaths Wednesday were statewide officials elected last November, among them the new Republican Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, and Democrats Troy Kelley and Bob Ferguson, who were elected auditor and attorney general respectively. And amid all the ceremony, no one seemed interested in saying a truly discouraging word. There will be time enough for that in the 102 days that remain of the 2013 legislative session. “Jay and I haven’t had a single disagreement yet,” noted Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.

Of course, they haven’t talked much yet, either — at least about anything specific.

Inslee takes the oath of office in the Capitol Rotunda.

Inslee takes the oath of office in the Capitol Rotunda.

The meat of it came in Inslee’s inaugural address before a joint session of the Legislature in the House chamber. It didn’t offer much in the way of detail – not that anyone expects an inaugural address to be a white paper. It was more a revised and expanded version of his campaign speeches, offering support for job-creation programs, technological innovation, a warning about climate change, and a call to pass the latest abortion-rights bill — this one known as the reproductive parity act, which would require health insurers to cover abortion services. When Inslee mentioned the bill, Democrats gave him a standing ovation; Republicans remained in their seats and moved their hands not at all. But that was about the full extent of rancor. With nothing, really, that anyone could object to, it was a day when everyone observed good form.

Immediately after taking the oath, Inslee paid an official call on former Gov. Christine Gregoire, who was waiting in her old office and Inslee’s new one. Gregoire made her exit Wednesday after eight wearying years, the last four of them immersed of the nastiest recessions the state has seen. The new governor and the ex emerged together and strode into the public waiting room, where portraits of former Washington governors are on display. Gregoire beckoned toward her portrait, which was unveiled last week, smiled at her successor and said, “Someday you can hang there with me.”

She may not have meant it the way it sounded.

Strikes Right Tone

New governor addresses a joint session of the House and Senate.

New governor addresses a joint session of the House and Senate.

Washington State Wire presents the full text of Inslee’s address below. Here’s the nut graf:

“A new world economy is emerging from the depths of this recession, and while its contours and relationships are not fully understood to us, we do know two things. First, with our uniquely powerful fusion of values and talents, Washington State has the potential to lead the next wave of world-changing innovations.

“Second, the world will not wait for us.”

Afterward, legislative leaders reacted in the same vein.  “It was a great speech, a great vision,” said Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle. “It outlined the challenges – certainly he has an agenda, that is good. I thought he had a balance — he certainly laid out things that he wanted to do, that he is going to have to fight hard to get done. At the same time the inspirational part was there – his own story, the story of his family, the story of what Washington does what Washington companies do what Washington people do. I thought it was a good combination.”

Everyone Can Agree

Republican leaders host a post-game news conference.

Republican leaders host a post-game news conference.

For the record, Inslee avoided references to secret sauces or his “laser-beam focus” on job creation, two of his favorite phrases from the campaign, though he did mention that he believes state employees will be “change agents.” And at a post-game wrap-up news conference, Republicans had trouble finding fault. Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, said she appreciated that Inslee mentioned he once represented Eastern Washington as a legislator and congressman. Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, said he appreciated Inslee’s statement that job creation is important.  And Schoesler pledged that Republicans will do everything they can to ensure that Inslee is able to keep his campaign promise to avoid raising taxes – one point Inslee failed to mention in his address.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, was able to read into the speech what he wanted as well. Tom is the leader of a bipartisan coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats that has assumed power in the Senate, pledging to steer the state on a centrist fiscal course. “I think the tone that it sets is jobs, jobs, and jobs,” he said. “For the next four years, we are going to be working here on jobs every single day. That needs to be our main focus. I’m absolutely fine with that, because I think the areas that we need to focus on our jobs education and the budget. To have a great jobs market, you have to have a sustainable budget. To have a great jobs market you have to have a world class education system, so those are all values that we are in alignment with.”

Inslee’s last line? “Let’s get to work.”

Inslee’s Address

The following is the full text of Inslee’s address:

Democrats applaud as Inslee calls for passage of the Reproductive Parity Act as most Republicans sit on their hands.

Democrats offer a standing ovation as Inslee calls for passage of the Reproductive Parity Act, while most Republicans sit on their hands.

“Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Madam Chief Justice,  distinguished justices of the court,  my fellow statewide elected officials,  members of the Washington State Legislature, members of our armed forces and National Guard, members of the Consular Corps, Gov. Christine Gregoire, and my fellow Washingtonians.

“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. A new world economy is emerging from the depths of this recession, and while its contours and relationships are not fully understood to us, we 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. We face fierce and immediate global competition for the jobs of tomorrow. Leading this next wave of growth is our opportunity, not our entitlement.

“We must move, swiftly and boldly, to put this recession behind us, and bring forward a unique economic strategy that brings the best of Washington State to the world. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “never before have we had so little time in which to do so much.”

“Today, I’d like to share my vision of the path ahead. I know that to achieve this vision we must all work together. Democrat and Republican, House and Senate, East and West, to answer the challenges of our age.

...but a moment later, when Inslee offered a salute to heroic schoolteachers, educators and public employees, the entire chamber burst into applause.

A moment later, the entire chamber bursts into applause as Inslee salutes heroic schoolteachers, educators and public employees.

“I have represented both sides of our state, first as a state representative from Yakima valley, then in Congress representing both Eastern and Western Washington. I want to thank the people of Washington for electing me your governor. I am truly humbled to represent all of Washington, and to deliver the change in Olympia you asked for last November.

“Now I would like to do something very difficult to do as a University of Washington Husky, and that is to honor a Washington State Cougar. I would like to introduce all of you to my wife of 40 years, Trudi Inslee. We met at Ingraham High School and raised our family in a century-old farmhouse in the Yakima Valley. I’d also like you to meet my three boys and their families, Connor, Joe, Jack and his wife Megan, our grandson Brody, and the newest Inslee, Zoe Ann.

“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.

“It has been an amazing journey over the past year and a half, as I’ve traveled to all corners of the state. I am a 5th generation son of the state of Washington, and am proud to have roots in this state that are as wide as they are deep.

“My family came to this state as fishermen and gold miners. My grandmother raised four boys as a single mother working at Bartell Drugstore. My uncle and cousins build the best airplanes in the world at Boeing, my dad was a biology teacher, and I am proud that my mom and dad worked to restore the Alpine meadows of Mt. Rainier.

“I am proud of the working people of Washington and I know their work, having driven bulldozers in Bellevue, painted houses in Burien, run the business end of a jack hammer, prosecuted drunk drivers, and raised hay in the Yakima Valley. Washington has welcomed many people to our great state from all points of the compass, but no matter when you and your family arrived here, in our souls all of us in Washington are pioneers.

“That is what makes us unique. We push the world forward. We take risks.

“We take pride in what we do, and who we are.

“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 called all of you in the legislature already to begin this partnership. If you received a message from me, that wasn’t a robocall, I need to talk to you about the future of our state. When the people of Yakima sent me here to Olympia more than two decades ago, Washington had just completed its first century. I sat and listened as former Governor Booth Gardner presented us with a challenge heading into Washington’s second century. He said “either we respond to international competition, or we doom ourselves and our children to a dramatic slide to second-rate status in the world.”

“We chose to answer this challenge, with a unique formula for international success that has made us who we are today, with businesses, entrepreneurs, state government, all working together. Now it’s 24 years later. 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 4 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 business men and women, scientists, educators and workers on the planet.

“Companies like Silicon Energy in Marysville are leading the world with some of the most durable solar cells ever built. Janicki Industries in Sedro-Wooley is driving innovation in aerospace. Valve, a software company in Bellevue has grown into a worldwide leader in interactive entertainment. And in Grays Harbor an across-the-board effort led to the re-opening of the paper mill last year, putting 175 people back to work making 100% recycled paper.

“Innovation is in our genes. We create. We invent. We build.

“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.

“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. I have proposed a tradable R&D tax credit to help early-stage companies to develop and commercialize their idea.

“It’s worked in other states, and it’s something we can do this session.  I will work with the legislature to make it more desirable for small and medium size businesses to hire more people in Washington. We must also do a better job commercializing the technologies developed in our world-class research institutions, connecting the dots from the classroom to the laboratory to the marketplace.

“And no economic strategy would be complete without a transportation plan that facilitates this growth.

“This session I expect to work with stakeholders that have already committed to a bipartisan plan to build an infrastructure for the next generation. In the next ten years, our population will grow by approximately three quarters of a million people, but we will not be adding one more square inch of dirt.

“To honestly address our infrastructure, we’ve got to recognize that creativity is just as important as concrete. I want us to turn our innovative spirit towards crafting a transportation package that includes roads, trains, light rail, buses, bike routes and other modes of transportation. We need ways to free capacity for freight and commerce, and rethink how we do the business of transportation in our state and how we use our transportation infrastructure.

“If we’re serious about long-term economic growth, innovation must become part of the culture of Olympia.

“I heard a clear and powerful message on Election Day. The people of Washington State are tired of a state government that doesn’t change with the times. They expect me, and all of us here, to be as innovative as the people we represent.

“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. With authentic, courageous leadership, we will bring the principles of Lean Management to all of state government, following the lead of Boeing, Virginia Mason, and a growing number of state and local governments.

“We will provide efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. We will introduce performance metrics where it counts, giving us the data we need to fix what’s broken, cut what we don’t need, and replace rhetoric with quantifiable results.

“But 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. I know how much you have sacrificed. You are on the front lines, figuring out how to do more with less just like every family in Washington right now.

“You will be empowered as change agents, and we will need your ingenuity and dedication more than ever.

“I am serious about reform.

“In the weeks to come I will be taking action to transition to a results and data-driven government, with continuous quality improvement, employee engagement, and clear accountability. And to honestly address our budget problems, we must admit the difficult truth that the road to a balanced budget, and a fully-funded educational system, 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. That’s why I look forward to the Legislature sending the Reproductive Parity Act to my desk, which I will sign. Let’s get this done.

“For Washington to be successful, our economy, our government and our schools must all work together, but before we continue, I want to take a moment to honor the courage and heroism of public school teachers, educators, and all of our public employees.

“The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut showed us all that our nation’s educators put the welfare of their students above everything, even their own lives. You may have heard the story about the parent who was in the principal’s office when the sounds of gunshots began in Connecticut. That parent said she ran to get under the nearest desk, as most people would have done, but the educators in the room ran another way. They ran toward the sound of the gun fire. They did not return.

“It is my fervent hope that the country sees the sacrifices made at this one school, in this one state, as entirely consistent with what teachers and educators do every day, in every school, protect the children in their care.

“The tragedy at Sandy Hook was unimaginable, but not unfamiliar. We have lost too many loved ones in Washington State. In a Seattle café, in Lakewood, at the Seattle Jewish Federation, in a house in Carnation, all victims of a lethal combination of untreated mental illness, evil intent and easy access to deadly weapons.

“Any failure to address the issue of violence in our communities and our schools will be intolerable, and in the coming weeks I will work with the legislature to address this crisis responsibly. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the sooner we reject the extremes and embrace common sense, the sooner we’ll be able to get a public health solution to this public health problem.

“And common sense tells us that this solution will involve mental health and keeping guns out of the wrong hands, while respecting the right for my son to hunt, and my uncle to defend his home. All of us have an obligation to provide for the well-being of our families, to ensure their safety and to make sure our children are prepared for the world, and I am proud to live in a state where the education of our children is enshrined as the paramount duty of state government.

“I got my start in politics as a concerned parent, when Trudi and I led the effort to fund the construction of a new high school. I’m inspired by the pockets of excellence I have seen in schools all across Washington. In Pasco they improved high school graduation rates through intervention teams that they created. In Renton they closed achievement gaps with a world-class approach that demands continuous quality improvement in how we educate our children. I visited TAF Academy where, thanks to a unique public-private partnership, young students are applying the latest technological tools to solve real-world problems.

“Across our state we need this kind of real innovation, real reform using proven models, and real accountability. We need to increase the emphasis on STEM education. Science, technology, engineering and math are just as important to the next generation as the three R’s were to my generation. They are the essential tools for success in this new economy.

“We need to invest more where we get the biggest return, in quality early learning programs. We need a system that aligns from early learning to K-12 to our universities. Accountability must be present at every level. We should continue the progress we are making on improving the teacher and principal evaluation system, and make it a significant part of personnel decisions.

“And yes, we need to meet the funding obligations set out by the McCleary decision, but we cannot continue to allow funding debates to mask deeper problems in our schools that demand innovation and reform. I want us to be able to look our children in the eyes, knowing that we honored our commitment to provide them a world-class education. Not through gimmicks or blind allocation of money, but through systemic, sustainable reform of our schools.

“It’s also critical for us to preserve the leading role our research institutions play in inventing the future, growing our economy, and creating jobs. While we do this, we can no longer accept the misalignment between what our schools teach, and what skills our employers need. This is something I will act on immediately, to sharpen the relationship between our schools and the economy they are preparing our young people to enter. It will be hard work, but it is required work if we want Washington to rise to the challenges the world will present us.

“There is no challenge is greater for Washington, with more opportunity for job growth, and more suited to our particular brand of genius and ingenuity, than leading the world’s clean energy economy.

“It is clear to me that we are the right state, at the right time, with the right people, and it’s also clear to me that we face grave and immediate danger if we fail to act. Nine out of ten of the hottest years on record happened in the past decade. We’ve had epic flooding, searing drought, and devastating wildfires, including last summer’s fires in Central Washington and the rising tides along our coast.

“Our Pacific Northwest waters, including in Puget Sound, are becoming too acidic, forcing parts of our shellfish industry to move last year. In Eastern Washington, our long tradition in agriculture could be threatened if snowpack declines and melts more rapidly. Water stored as snow is money in the bank for Washington’s rural economies, but the bank could fail if we don’t act.

“As a parent and a grandparent, I cannot consciously accept the dangers of climate change for my family or yours.  As a governor, I can’t afford to look the other way or point fingers or deny these realities, and I cannot allow our state to miss the moment we are destined for.

“All of us in Washington will have to square up to both our responsibility and our opportunity on climate change, and when we do, I’d like us to remember what Dr. Martin Luther King once said:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“On climate change, we have settled the scientific controversy. What remains is how we respond to the challenge.

“Now I know Washington can’t solve this global problem alone, but we must embrace our role as first responders, as our children’s health is in clear and immediate danger. We must also embrace our role as entrepreneurs and pioneers, ensuring that economic solutions to climate change begin here.

“Companies in this state are already moving forward, and we will not, will not, hand over our destiny to lead the world in clean energy, to any state or to any nation.

“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.

“We need these clean energy jobs that work for the long haul. They will be in Bellingham at the Itec solar company. In Seattle at MacDonald-Miller, a great efficiency company. In Spokane at the McKinstry Company, and at Boeing where we are making the world’s most fuel efficient jet.

“These jobs won’t just fall into our lap.  Washington has what it takes to win, but the clean energy race is highly competitive. Germany, China and California are not waiting. Neither should we.

“It is our economic, and moral imperative. Our current lack of action on clean energy is an offense against our own children, as we put their health in danger and their prosperity at risk.

“In prior eras, our country’s leaders have dealt with moral offenses like slavery, and believed woe comes as the result of human kind’s own offenses. So I will paraphrase Abraham [Lincoln]’s second inaugural address.

“He asked: If we shall suppose that climate change is one of those offense which, in the providence of god, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove by our efforts, and he gives to all the world’s peoples this terrible climactic scourge as the woe due to those by whom this offense came, should we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living god ascribe to him?

“Over the next four years we need to show our commitment with policies to promote economic growth, research and development on clean energy, to lock in the next wave of growth and opportunity for the next generation.

“I look forward to having a real dialogue with the legislature in the coming weeks, on creating jobs, educating our children, changing how we do business in state government, and creating a culture of leading the world towards a clean energy economy.

“But as we move forward to determine what we will do, let’s also remember who we are as a state.

“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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