Governor's speech on the Aerospace Industry Strategy
Gov. Jay Inslee announced on May 9 at the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteohis aerospace industry strategy to keep the Boeing 777X in Washington.
The following is the governor’s speech to Washington state leaders and residents:
"The sun is shining on our kick off to make sure that Washington state remains the No. 1 aerospace center in the world today and tomorrow. That’s what this is about. We want to thank everyone for joining us. We’ve got a whole host of leaders from every segment of this state that are going to be joining forces in the next few months to make sure we win the upcoming competition and not just the next several months but the next several decades. We are committed for the next several decades to remain the No. 1 aerospace center in the world. By pedigree, by history and by our vision we can do that. I’m confident of it. So we’ve got elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, King County Executive Dow Constantine as well as mayors, county commissioners and city councilmembers, let me particularly note Mayor Joe Marine who is doing some great work in the great city of Mukilteo.
"I want to warmly welcome leaders from both management and labor. Today we know that the continued development of that relationship is critical to everyone in the state of Washington. And we appreciate the leadership of those communities. And I’m pleased to see such a large crowd, this is a large crowd, to kick off what is a critical initiative for the future of our state. Aerospace truly is a statewide industry and we’re kicking off a statewide effort today, and that’s demonstrated by the audience today. We have leaders from across the state from Spokane, Grand County, Kitsap County, Kittitas County and I want to thank you for traveling here today to launch this statewide effort.
"I’m excited to unveil today, Washington state’s comprehensive strategy to build out our status as a center of excellence in aerospace innovation, design and manufacturing. Today over 1,250 aerospace related companies employ more than 131,000 men and women in every corner of our state and I feel a strong personal connection to this industry. My uncle Dick started sweeping floors at Boeing and graduated and retired as a supervisor. I distinctly remember the day I went on a field trip from Shorewood Elementary School and got to sit in the world’s first commercial jet airliner the Boeing 707. That was exciting then and just as exciting today. So for me, I understand the bond of our state with the aerospace industry. I think we can all agree on this: Aerospace is not just an industry, it’s family in the state of Washington. (Applause.)
"Now, I want to recognize a reality and that is to stay on top of this industry, we have got to continue to compete aggressively. We have to build on our strengths and not just maintain our current situation if we’re going to grow in aerospace leadership. Cue the Boeing 757. (Airplane flies by. Applause.) Congratulations to the Boeing team who worked their hearts out to fix this battery problem and get these planes flying again. Congratulations to that whole team. They did great work in a very trying circumstance. The best airplanes are built here today. For nearly 20 years, the Boeing 747 has been the flagship of the Washington Jet Fleet. Nearly 1,100 of this twin-isle workforce have rolled out of these factories and taken their main flight down this runway. Nine of the world’s top 10 airlines fly the 777 today because of its fuel efficiency and its long-range capability. And I’m proud, and I know we’re all proud, that this plane is built in our state. And that’s why it’s so important that the next generation of this airplane the 777X is designed and built here in the state of Washington. (Applause.) And I’m not just talking about the assembly of this airplane. We have the opportunity to bring the fabrication of the 777X giant carbon-fiber wing to Washington as well – we’re in the competition for the wing as well as the jet body, and we’ve got to make sure we do everything we can to win that. (Applause.)
"Winning this piece of the program will ensure that Washington is where the latest technologies and cutting edge manufacturing technologies are developed. So we improve and we are hands down the best place in the world to design and build this plane. And I believe we are and will be. We’ve got to make this case. And today we’re unveiling the start of the strategy to make that case. Our aerospace strategy we developed with stakeholders across the state of Washington. It’s broad and comprehensive and is necessary regardless of the 777X. Today what we are doing is starting for the competition not just for the 777X but for the replacement of the 747. We’re getting ready for that today. We’re thinking long term. So using this as our foundation, over the coming months we will develop significant initiatives that will improve our already strong position to win the 777X. Now the four major elements of our strategy are these:
"First, we’ll grow and diversify Washington state’s unsurpassed aerospace cluster of industries. We’ll build on our streets so that the companies that are already here continue to thrive, attract new investments and create new jobs.
"Second, we will cultivate a deep and talented group of aerospace workforce. Our talented workforce in aerospace is our greatest asset – we know that. And we will develop a robust pipeline of aerospace workers from early grades all the way through higher education, inspiring our students to pursue aerospace careers and educating them so we’re ready to compete for jobs throughout the industry. This morning I was at Clover Park Technical College and I saw these high school sophomores and juniors at the career fair getting ready to enter our aerospace industry. We’re going to do everything possible to make sure they’re ready when we get this job to start here right here at the Boeing Company.
"Third, we’re going to foster a culture of aerospace innovation. We’re going to support expanded research at Washington state universities to spur discoveries of new technologies and to bring them to market so we’re not only building the best airplanes in the world but the air and space vehicles that follow them. I think it’s pretty exciting that today we intend to be the center of drone aircraft aviation in the world right here in the state of Washington as well as the 777X.
"And, fourth, we’ll lead Washington’s aerospace support chain. We’re going to organize and work together across the state to support this industrial support network. We’ll provide the infrastructure, tax policies and regulatory framework necessary for aerospace companies to prosper while maintaining the high quality of life that makes this one of our most desirable places to live. Starting this year by asking the state Legislature to pass a transportation plan so we can help move jet engines up and down our highways. Don’t you agree with me, that’s a great thing to do this year in the state of Washington? (Applause.)
"So this is a comprehensive strategy that provides the foundation for our effort to win the 777X. We’ll be working over the coming months with our partners all over the state to benchmark ourselves against the competition, to identify and remove potential barriers to success and to develop additional initiatives that will improve our position. Now clearly, there are many details that will come about how we make this a winning strategy. But this is the take off – it’s the take off of our efforts to make sure that the 777X has its first take off from right here. We know how to build aircraft, and we intend to have the first launch of this airplane right here in the state of Washington. (Applause.)
"And believe we’ve got the talent to do that. A dedicated public service that has joined me in a bipartisan effort to move this state forward and set the stage for success. We know we can do this because we did it with 787, we did it with the 737 Max. When I was in Congress, I worked hard to work with a bipartisan success to win the 767 contract to build that tanker right here in the state of Washington, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we base it at Spokane too, right? That’s something I hope we succeed on in the next several weeks.
"So we know how to create the economic climate that makes Washington the best place to build aircraft and preserve thousands of great family wage jobs in our state. (Applause.)"
See the related story "Gov. Inslee unveils strategy to build 777X" at www.mukilteobeacon.com.