Despite an unprecedented economic collapse, the state has emerged with its values intact, Gov. Chris Gregoire said in her final State of the State address today before a joint session of the 63rd Legislature.
“It was not just any eight years. You and I witnessed a historic economic crisis and with it, wrenching change,” Gregoire said.
Gregoire also urged the new legislature to fully fund education and provide funding for transportation.
“China isn’t waiting. India isn’t waiting. We can’t wait either. We can’t cut our way out of this. We can’t save our way out if this,” said Gregoire, who has proposed taxes to help offset court-mandated education funding.
Gregoire also highlighted her administration’s accomplishments on her last full day of office, saying the state continues to be a leader in the aerospace and information technology industries.
Two topics – the legalization of gay marriage and the expansion of Medicaid – drew the most partisan response from lawmakers in the House chamber.
“Every Washingtonian deserves an open door to a doctor when they need one,” Gregoire said to energized Democratic applause.
Gregoire also thanked her husband Mike and two daughters and discussed her new role as a grandmother.
“There is nothing like changing diapers again to gain perspective on life,” she said.
Before Gregoire took to the podium, a number of departing state leaders gave their farewell including state Attorney General Rob McKenna, State Auditor Brian Sonntag and Secretary of State Sam Reed.
Former Washington Governor Mike Lowery, King County Executive Dow Constantine and the wife of fallen Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu were among the dignitaries in the chamber for the speech.
Gov.-elect Jay Inslee will deliver his inaugural address Wednesday after he is sworn in.