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Gov. Inslee rolls out jobs agenda
Gov. Jay Inslee announced his agenda this week for revitalizing the state economy, citing five points of focus he wants in the coming years.
"Washington families are struggling, and nearly 300,000 people in the state are looking for work," he said. "They expect us to step up to the challenge of rebuilding our economy. For our state to compete in the global economy, we must create a working Washington that sustains an innovative economic climate in every corner of the state. I have confidence we can answer the challenge. A strong workforce has been our strength in the past and will be our path to the future."
The five focus areas Inslee believes will revitalize the state's economy and jobs market include:
• Educating a 21st century workforce: This will include an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math or STEM education, and would involve investments in aerospace training programs and related facilities.
• Improving the business climate and expanding the workforce: The governor touched on something he called an Regulatory Innovation Center, which would coordinate efforts to streamline the "time and costs of government interaction." Part of this plan would also include incentivizing businesses in the state to hire veterans. He also said he wants to revitalize Washington's tourism industry, an asset that had been neglected due to budget cuts in the last few years of Gov. Christine Gregoire's administration.
• Advancing Washington's aerospace leadership: The governor is calling for a targeted plan to attract more large-scale aerospace business.
• Clean energy, climate action and plentiful water: Inslee is proposing using state capital funds to "develop clean energy solutions," support more "biofuels proaction," and making transportation investments that are "good for the climate."
• Health care reform: Inslee plans to fully implement the federal Affordable Care Act, believing that it will "not only improve people's health, it will generate savings for taxpayers and create thousands of jobs statewide."
"We can and must make government a partner in job creation," the governor said. "We will deploy targeted investments and incentives in sectors that promise real growth. We will expand access to health care because it's good for people and good for the economy. And we are going to do the right thing for our economy and for our future by stepping up to the challenge of climate change."
Another major agenda item Inslee touched on was for a comprehensive transportation plan for the state. He indicated he plans on meeting with state lawmakers in the coming weeks and months to craft "a comprehensive plan that includes roads, transit, bike routes and other modes of transportation to help free capacity for freight and commerce."