Spin Control

Inslee names transition team

Governor-elect Jay Inslee named a three-person transition team today comprised of a school superintendent, a software executive and a university president as he put out a call for talent "every single place we can find it."

Inslee appointed Washington State University President Elson Floyd, Microsoft corporate counsel Brad Smith and Renton Schools Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschel to lead his search for a new department heads when he takes office in July. The trio of "change agents" represents the kind of state government he said he wants to develop, from both sides of the Cascades, from different industries and from public and private sectors.

Floyd said he welcomed the opportunity to help position the state for economic growth: "We have an incredible talent base here in our state."

At the same time, he put out a call for Democrats, Republicans and independents who want help the state address what he called its great challenges. The state has struggled since the recession with declining revenues that don't cover its planned programs, and now faces a court mandate to increase spending on public schools to meet its constitutional obligations.

In responding to questions that followed his announcement . . .

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. . . Inslee reiterated his campaign stance that he would not raise taxes to address budget problems.

"We are starting a team to grow our economy to increase revenues to the state of Washington," he said. When someone pointed out that economic development is often a slow road to increased state revenues and Gov. Chris Gregoire  has said her successor will have to raise taxes, Inslee refused to budge.

"This is a mountain we're going to be climbing," he said of the state's economic problems. "Thi is the first step."

Inslee also said he will work with the federal government to find a rational way for the state's new marijuana law to work.

"The voters have spoken," he said."My sense is that there's an honest consideration going on in the administration."

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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