Locke Can Talk -- Governor Locke's second open meeting within the year to discuss issues affecting Pend Oreille County citizens shows that our executive branch of state government is courageously engaging in straight rural talk. Despite some Republican questionings at Newport's City Park on Friday afternoon, the governor invited all of the people to gather around informally as he candidly answered question after question, sipping good water from a local water-quality project he championed. From teachers to unemployed loggers, from county commissioners to health care advocates, Governor Locke gave us his plans for jobs and construction of educational institutions, backed up with sound economic reasoning aimed getting people back to work by taking advantage of low-interest loans and the state's borrowing power.
His partial vetoes of changes to the Growth Management Act prevented Ferry County from simply opting out of comprehensive growth planning after consuming $572,554 in state planning grants over the past decade. This gave Ferry County tools to address its economic issues, including vision, economic opportunity and identification and planning for suitable shovel-ready sites. Creating opportunities for business and families while preserving basic health and human service programs seemed to be Governor Locke's primary concerns.