We've made a lot of progress over the past term, and I firmly believe that we have a strong platform to build upon. But we also have a lot to do and together we can shape Washington's future.
As events have unfolded across the nation and the globe, we have learned from experience how to look ahead and anticipate future needs. We've done some solid thinking about Washington's role and possibilities in a changing world.
For example, in January 2007, our office created "The Next Washington," a comprehensive vision for "growing jobs and income in a global economy: 2007-2017."
This vision recognizes that Washington itself is a force in the world's economy and that education is the single most important economic investment we can make. It spells out a supportive role for government, providing infrastructure and information, but sometimes getting out of the way so innovation can happen.
Within this vision, there are clear immediate needs that need to be addressed over the coming years. We need to:
* Work to build a seamless, world-class education system from pre-school to graduate school. This means continuing to improve early education, lower class sizes, secure experienced teachers and open new higher education slots.
* Ensure that all children in Washington have access to health insurance by 2010 and improve the access for all residents to quality health care.
* Work with the state's regions to secure the safety of our roads and bridges and encourage transit and other alternative transportation to reduce road congestion.
* Continue to support alternative energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and clean up the environment, including Puget Sound, our lakes and rivers.
* Continue to make government more efficient and effective.
These are just some of the areas where we will focus our efforts on behalf of Washington families and individuals. It's an ambitious venture but vital to our state's future. I hope I can count on your support to make it happen.