BELLINGHAM – Gov. Chris Gregoire knows a thing or two about recessions and pessimism.
A student at the University of Washington in the 1970s, the two-term Democratic governor experienced a time of political upheaval during a controversial war and saw people give up hope about the economy of the state.
But through it all, residents in the state never stopped embracing the “spirit of innovation” that has brought about the likes of Microsoft and Starbucks, she said. And that’s the type of innovation she wanted the 2010 graduating class of Western Washington University to embrace.
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“Please, have a healthy disregard for the impossible,” the governor said Saturday, June 12, echoing a statement by one of the founders of Google.
As the state has slashed billions of dollars in spending during the recession, Gregoire said her current experiences mirror those she experienced in college, but what drives her, and what she hoped will inspire the graduates, was the “goodness of people.”
It was a serious discussion about their future, and a time also for the governor to stump for not only the past achievements of the state, but also those that will come in the future.
She noted a state company that manufactures unmanned aerial drones that have been used by law enforcement for search and rescue, to assess natural disaster areas and were even used to help Navy SEALs rescue an American ship captain held by Somali pirates.
A $100 million BMW parts manufacturing plant in Moses Lake will be a boon to the state’s economy, she said.
And those economic investments and ideas are what the young graduates should mirror, she said.
“Don’t accept the status quo,” Gregoire said.
And also she playfully acknowledged she was “acutely aware” she was standing in the way of the Western students’ graduation parties.