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Tue., Jan. 15, 2013, 12:17 p.m.

Gregoire State of the State: Live Blog

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire makes her final
OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire makes her final "state of the state" speech to the Legislature on Jan. 15, 2013, the day before she leaves office. (Associated Press)

AP Photo

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire, in her last speech to the Legislature and the state, said Washington has accomplished much over the last eight years and has much more to do.

"We won't rest on our laurels," she said.

Here are some  highlights of her speech:

Give our students good schools and good teachers.

Education is the heart of our future, transportation is the backbone.

Remember our competition: China isn't waiting. India isn't waiting. We can't wait either.

Supreme court told us we are failing in our paramount duty of providing for basic education. There is no free lunch. We cannot cut our way out of this. We cannot save our way out of this.

Today is the day. Now is the time. We must invest in our children and their future. 

Transportation projects around the state demand funding. Companies move nearly 40 million on our roads every single hour. We must maintain our system.

Invest the $450 million on the Columbia River Crossing. Now is the time to build the future of Washington state.

You've met tougher challenges in the last eight years. You'll deliver again. You always do...

To read more of Gregoire's speech, click to go inside the blog

Gregoire highlighted the Legislature's accomplishments during the last eight years before urging them to spend more on schools and roads:

 * We made the best decisions for our gay and lesbian citizens and the people of Washington agreed. I'm proud that our citizens passed marriage equality by the widest margin in the country. (This received a  rousing applause by Democrats and a few Republicans, but silence from much of the GOP side of the chamber.)

* We made the best decisions for broadband. Today 99 percent have access to high-speed internet. We've been called the most wired state in the nation.

* We made the best decisions for our veterans. I urge you to support our Washington military alliance and maintain our military presence.

* We made the best decisions to reform our state government. Landmark pension and debt service reform. We are the envy of state's arond the country for public pension systems.

We reformed our workers compensation and unemployment insurance system. Over the last eight years, little or no increase in workers comp rates. Reformed the way we help our injured workers, getting them back on the job faster. . . We have the most stable unemployment insurance trust fund in the nation.

We consolidated five agencies into one. We closed six institutions. Our general government work force has shrunk by 11 percent, the smallest since 1996.

They're doing lean management and serving residents in new ways.

* We maintained the health and safety of our most vulnerable.. . Built one of the best long-term care systems in the country...we will merge care under Medicare and Medicaid.

While the vast majority of other states are struggling with rising health care costs, our rate is projected to be minus 1 percent.

We are among the first in the nation to embrace the Affordable Care Act." (Democrats applauded wildly, Republicans generally did not.)

* We made the best decisions for public safety. The crime rate has fallen every single year since I took office.

We closed three prisons to make better use of space.

Now we concentrate on the prisoners most likely to reoffend.

The Washington State Patrol is rated the best in the country.

* Let's build more schools, and less prisons.

We must fully fulnd a seemless education system.

* We made good decisions on transportation. Providing jobs and moving people and products. We are building a world-class infrastructure. Snoqualmie Pass is faster. We've built half of the North Spokane corridor. We undertook the largest transportation construction package in history, more than $16 billion...We are building the future of the great state of Washington.

She listed the state's strong points in business and the environment, noting the wealth of products the state produces and ships all over the world and new industries where the state leads.

Showing off her grand-daughter, Audrey Christine, age two months, she noted: "There's nothing like changing diapers again to bring perspective to life."

She closed with a farewell to the Legislature with whom she sometimes fought and sometimes mediated. 

I was just a Washington kid who loved to play basketball, pick blueberries.. . I was just a Washington woman who got the gift of education.

It was the ultimate privilege to serve as governor of the state I love.

I'm going to miss everyone of you.

To read a transcript of the speech, click here 




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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