Creating good quality job opportunities is the single best thing we can do to help families that are struggling. The 3rd District ranks last in household income of all 49 legislative districts in the state. We need good, living-wage jobs that allow people to work with dignity and support their families.
As the co-owner of a small business, I've spent my career creating jobs. I know from that first-hand experience that there is no magic formula. Creating good jobs with staying power is a slow process, but one we can and should develop as a community through sound planning and investments.
So, specifically, how do we do it? There are some good programs in place, like micro-financing programs and Innovate Washington, which help incubate new companies. We should continue to support these types of programs. We also need to leverage the industries that are already strong in Spokane, like health care and our growing aerospace industry.
The University District has great potential for economic development, both through the expansion of its existing programs and the creation of a four-year medical school, which we funded this past Legislative session. The medical school could have an economic impact of more than a billion dollars once it is fully operational.
As we look at job creation, I believe we should focus on a strategy that builds both short-term and long-term jobs. For example, the building of the medical school creates short-term construction jobs, which will help us out of our current economic downturn, in addition to long-term jobs at the medical school itself and at the companies that spin-off from associated research.
One of our greatest economic development tools is Spokane's quality of life. This is a great place to live and, if we keep it that way and continue to make it better, we will retain and attract smart, young people who give us the best chance at those home-grown business success stories.