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Spin Control

Coming soon: Boeing blame game

Boeing Co.’s announcement that it will build jetliners in South Carolina was not particularly well received in Washington, as most readers can well imagine.

Some Democrats were disappointed. Some Republicans were disappointed but more in a “we warned you” mind set.

For a compilation of comments, go inside the blog…


Gov. Chris Gregoire, Democrat

“This is obviously a very disappointing day for all Washingtonians, particularly the more than 73,000 Boeing workers in our state.  We did all we could to demonstrate that Washington is the best place in America to build airplanes.  State and local government worked hand in hand with our capable Congressional delegation, business and community leaders, educators and countless others to show our collective support for locating the second 787 assembly line here.

 “Unfortunately, the active and intense discussions between Boeing and the Machinists union did not result in an agreement acceptable to both sides.  My colleagues in the Congressional delegation and I worked tirelessly to urge an agreement if at all possible; ultimately the two sides could not come together. 

 “We must keep in mind that the first and best 787s will be build right here. We have over 80,000 aerospace jobs in Washington, all of which are in a dynamic and highly competitive industry.  There will be other competitions to come – the tanker is next and we intend to win.  We cannot soften our resolve to stay as good as we can possibly be, in order to be ready for future competitions.

 “We may not build every single Boeing aircraft in Washington, but Washington will continue to remain the home of the best workers building the best airplanes for the next 100 years.

 “I want to thank our congressional delegation, local leaders and our regional and statewide business and labor communities for all of the work they put into this effort.  This spirit will serve us well in future efforts to both grow our current companies and locate new businesses in Washington.”

Sen. Patty Murray, Democrat

“This is a disappointing moment for our state and for Boeing customers.

 “We had an opportunity today to take a step toward workforce stability and a win for Boeing, our workers, and the state of Washington. I am disappointed that Boeing cut off negotiations and passed on a final chance to make this happen.

 “This state’s workers, communities and elected officials have worked hand in hand with Boeing for nearly 100 years to build the best aerospace workforce and the best business environment possible.

 “Even when they moved headquarters to Chicago, Boeing’s Washington workforce remained dedicated to the quality product they make.

 “Now, Boeing has decided to take their second 787 line to South Carolina.   It’s a shortsighted decision.

 “Washington state has fought for Boeing from day one.   The dedication and quality of product Washington state provides is not something you can build overnight.  The passion and history of grandparents passing knowledge, know-how and skills to the next generation is not something that can be reflected on balance sheets.

 “What the Company has neglected to account for is the quality and well-trained workforce that they already have in Everett. 

 “I don’t take that workforce or that product for granted and neither does our state.  

 “There are over 80,000 good-paying aerospace jobs in the state of Washington.   I will continue to work as I always have to invest in that workforce and in the infrastructure and economic development that will keep Washington state on the map as the world’s aerospace capital for generations to come.”

 

State Rep. Richard DeBolt, Republican leader

 “Today’s announcement by Boeing was extremely disappointing, however it was news that came with ample warning to leaders who had the chance to affect a different outcome. The challenges that Boeing and other businesses in our state face to remain competitive are well documented. Regulatory excess, taxes, permitting and labor costs are all factors that are making it difficult for employers in our state to keep people working.

“Frankly, the track record of lawmakers to respond to these challenges has been poor. During the 2009 legislative session, when given an opportunity to fix our state’s unemployment insurance system and bring it into compliance with federal law, the Legislature nearly jeopardized a bipartisan bill by injecting the poison of politics into the negotiations. The message this sends to prospective employers is if you want to do business in Washington it will always come at a price.

“This represents yet another missed opportunity for our state. Now we need to look ahead so we don’t miss out on the next opportunity. We need ask ourselves, as lawmakers and leaders, are we prepared to do what is necessary to win the next high-stakes competition for jobs. For the sake of Washington families, I hope the answer is yes.

“Today’s announcement should serve as a wake-up call for state and local leaders. We need to do better, and we need to be vigilant about creating and maintaining the kind of healthy business climate that is necessary to provide jobs for the citizens of Washington.”

State Rep. Cary Condotta, ranking Republican on Commerce:

“Boeing’s decision to locate this plant in South Carolina is a major blow to Washington’s working families and the larger business community. This is a missed opportunity that puts many jobs in Washington at stake. The fact of the matter is many small- and medium-sized employers rely on Boeing and their work force to support their companies. The governor and Democrat-controlled Legislature’s apparent lack of commitment to land the second 787 production plant hurts every business sector in the state.

“While I appreciate some of the eleventh-hour overtures being made on behalf of our state, it is apparent that it was too little, too late. Many of us have been trying to address the concerns of job providers for the last several years.

‘The governor has been in denial about these concerns, citing the Forbes report that Washington is one of the top places to do business. I’m a business owner though and I know firsthand the difficulties employers face in our state. It’s obvious Forbes flew over Washington and never did business on the ground here. How many more businesses have to leave, and how many more jobs do we have to lose to other states, before we get serious about substantively improving our business climate? We need aggressive leadership committed to creating and protecting jobs for Washington families.

“This decision lights the ‘no vacancy’ sign to other employers who may have been considering bringing jobs to our state. While the governor and her staff have downplayed what they consider the loss of a mere 700 jobs the production plant could have created in Washington, I think the 350,000 people currently unemployed statewide would have liked a shot at the gainful employment the plant would have offered.

“The loss of these much-needed jobs could have been avoided. An independent report issued to the Legislature earlier this year practically handed the governor and lawmakers the keys to keeping and recruiting jobs to our state. The report made clear workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance reforms are top issues for every employer. Sadly, the report did not prompt action by the governor and legislative leaders.

“Washington will forever be known as the state that told the aerospace industry, and every other company looking to grow their operations, to fly to better climates. For those legislators who believe our state is better off without the second production plant, I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you.”


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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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