Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, in her new role as chair of the Western Governors Association, has announced that her initiative for the year will be a “Get Out West” campaign, promoting outdoor recreation, conservation, tourism and volunteerism. Ironically, the move comes just as her state is eliminating all funding for tourism promotion. “The state can no longer afford to do some things it has done historically,” Gregoire said. “So we're turning to the private sector to see if we can't fund a coalition. … This is about partnering with private-sector organizations that have already come forward to me and said how enthused they are. REI has already stepped up and said, 'Let us know what you want us to do.'”
Said Gregoire, “I just think we're in a time right now where government can't do it all.” She said, “If I had money, it would go into tourism in Washington state. You know I can't cut schools and keep government money in tourism. So we'll be turning it over to the private sector. … It's time for the private sector to partner with the state. … This is a wonderful opportunity for us to do it collectively with governors in the West.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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