Gregoire ends aerospace council, says work is done

  • By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
  • Thursday, September 13, 2012 4:58pm
  • Local News

Today Gov. Chris Gregoire abolished the Washington Council on Aerospace, a panel she created in 2009 to demonstrate the state’s commitment to serving the needs of Boeing and aerospace suppliers.

Gregoire said the panel — with representatives of industry, labor, higher education, workforce training and the Legislature — had done its job of laying a stronger foundation of support for the industry.

It put forth a variety of recommendations to improve education and training of aerospace workers as well as aid the hundreds of aerospace suppliers in the state.

“Three years after the Council convened, everybody involved agrees that the Council has served its purpose in helping to create new, more focused efforts, and now it is time to disband,” she said in a press release.

One recommendation led to the creation of a new Office of Aerospace under the governor’s control. Some of the council’s duties will be reassigned to this office.

Other tasks will be distributed to the Aerospace Workforce Pipeline Committee, the Joint Center for Aerospace Innovation, and the Washington Aerospace Partnership.

While the council’s demise was quiet, its birth was a bit noisy.

Back then, Boeing was making plans to expand its production of 787 jets. Several states, including South Carolina, offered them cheap land, tax breaks and publicly financed infrastructure in hopes of winning the business.

Gregoire pushed a series of bills in hopes of convincing Boeing not to expand in another state. One created the council. Lawmakers didn’t pass it so she issued an executive order to establish it.

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