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September 20, 2007

Gregoire: War dead wreaking havoc in rural Washington

Posted by David Postman at 12:53 PM

Gov Christine Gregoire is speaking to the AWB lunch. She's actually being interviewed on stage by Denny Heck, a Gregoire confidante, founder of TVW and longtime Olympia fixture.

Heck started off by asking Gregoire if there is something about being governor that surprised her. "What isn't quite what you thought it might be?" he asked.

"Never did I appreciate then, like I do today, the significance of the global marketplace to this state."

She said she's come away from trade missions thinking "we're more like a small nation than a state." She said that people may laugh at that. (I'll admit I have had some fun with the idea.). But she said she doesn't care and now realizes the state's place in the world market.

Heck then wanted to know about what part of the job she wishes she didn't have to do. Gregoire did not hesitate in saying that it has been following through with the pledge by her and her husband, Mike, to attend the funerals of every Washington state soldier killed in action.

"We're overwhelmed by the number and it's heart wrenching," she said. Most of the dead come from the rural parts of the state and the deaths are "wreaking havoc" in those communities. She didn't know how many funerals she's attended. But she said there was one day with three funerals and she and her husband had to split up to attend them.

MORE: What issue has Gregoire learned the most from?

"Viaduct," she said. She said that she learned she needs to be more selective in deciding when it is time for her to weigh in on an issue and try to push a settlement. "The timing wasn't right," she said.

She said she remains committed to tearing down the existing elevated roadway along Seattle's waterfront. "That thing is coming down," she said.

Briefly:

The business climate: Gregoire touted rankings in Forbes and Fortune magazines, but said she wants the state to be No. 1, and if we are a small nation, the state should be able to do that.

Sonics: She said she doesn't know if the team owners are interested in moving to the Muckleshoot property, and doesn't know if the NBA would allow a team to be located nearby the horse racing track and perhaps a casino.

Ref. 67: Gregoire says she will vote for it, to keep the state's new insurance law on the books. But she said she wishes she could have negotiated fixes to it between trial lawyers and the insurance industry. If the measure passes in November, Gregoire said she would push for "clarifying" changes in the next legislative session.

WASL: Gregoire said she would veto any legislation that would go further than she agreed to this year in postponing portions of the test as graduation requirements. That was one of the few big applause lines for the business crowd.

The presidential race: Because fellow governor Bill Richardson is in the race for the Democratic nomination, Greogire said she is remaining neutral out of respect for him. If he drops out, Gregoire would only say she's looking, as she said most people are, at the top three candidates, Edwards, Obama and Clinton. But asked who she thinks will win that nomination, Gregoire didn't hesitate to say it would be Clinton.

Her re-election race: She said she doubts she would announce her re-election campaign before the end of the 2008 legislative session. (Of course she is already raising a lot of campaign cash so any announcement would be a formality.)

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