EVERETT — Gov. Jay Inslee had a busy Tuesday in Snohomish County.
It began in Lynnwood with the ceremonial dirt-turning at the site where light rail trains operated by Sound Transit should be arriving in the next decade.
By the time it ended, he had met separately with Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin and Washington State University President Kirk Schulz.
And he had held a frank closed-door conversation on education with WSU Chancellor Paul Pitre, Everett Public Schools Superintendent Ian Saltzman, Everett Community College President Daria Willis and some college students. It was the first time the governor had met Willis and Saltzman.
“The governor wanted to hear from educational leaders and students about ideas they have to help support students as they pass through different phases of the educational experience — K -12, community college, university or workforce development,” said Tara Lee, an Inslee spokeswoman.
The Herald’s request to attend was declined.
“We do not have all his meetings open to press,” Lee explained in an email. “It was a decision so everyone, including the students, would feel comfortable sharing their opinions and thoughts freely.”
Afterwards, Pitre said the governor “led a great discussion.”
“We shared real strengths that our partnership at different levels has for our students, putting students in position to enter a career they find fulfilling and where there is strong industry demand,” he said in an email. “We also spoke earnestly about improving the connections between K-12, community college and four-year education and making that connection consistent for all our students.”
Willis said in an email that it was “an absolute honor and pleasure to meet Gov. Inslee, Sen. John McCoy and Rep. June Robinson to discuss innovative practices in education. I am most impressed by the student leaders at the table and their commitment to ensuring a seamless pipeline for all students from K-12 and beyond.
Inslee’s conversations with Somers and Franklin focused on a range of subjects including housing affordability, homelessness and behavioral health.
Somers got a half hour with the governor at Lynnwood City Hall and another half hour at WSU Everett.
“We had good discussions on the county’s transportation needs, workforce development, the opioid crisis, possible effects of the trade war on our local economy, and the future of our education system,” Somers said in an email.
Inslee last visited Snohomish County in July. He came to Arlington to check out efforts to assist in the recovery of salmon through the restoring of fish passageways. In March, he traveled to Oso for the remembrance of the 43 lives lost in a 2014 deadly mudslide. That same day he went to Edmonds Community College.