Transcript of Gubernatorial Forum
This question was asked at the Forterra Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on June 27th, 2012.
QUESTION: The State’s natural assets provide critical economic health and environmental benefits. Are you committed to funding the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and going beyond grant programs how will you engage business and landowners to work towards maintaining our state’s natural assets?
INSLEE: Well, to start with I think that in all this running for this position, we’ve got to recognize fiscal realities. We have educational priorities in our state. We have a constitutional requirement for the paramount duty of our state, which is education. We’ve had horrendous cuts to our higher ed system. We’ve got to recognize thtat there isn’t a tooth fairy out there sprinkling millions of dollars making sure we get all of our priorities done.
But with that context in mind, I can tell you that this is one of the closest things to my heart and my family heritage. My dad and mom spent summers re-vegetating the alpine meadows up on Mt. Rainier with a group called the Student Conservation Corps. My dad is a biology teacher himself at Garfield.
This is where I live. I believe that this state is unique in it’s bounty and unless in fact these investments were made, my two great grandkids or my two grandkids are not going to have the opportunity to do what we do.
My favorite movie is a picture of my wife when she was 10 catching a little salmon off a kicker boat off Ray’s Boat House. Those who are over the age of 55 remember Ray’s Boat House.
We are only going to have opportunities like that for our grandkids if in fact we make these kinds of investments today. One thing of whatever faith you are, the creator is not making any more dirt. It is a one time event. Save it now or it’s gone forever, and pavement lasts a long time.
So I’m fully committed to this and I look forward to it succeeding.
MCKENNA: One of the advantages of WWRC and programs like it is that not only do they make good use of public resources that are provided to them, they also leverage private resources. We were able to do that with the 1989 Open Space Bond Issue as well. It was for $119M dollars but we spent something over $150M or $170M in actually acquiring land because we were able to leverage those resources.
So one of the principles of where we put our limited state dollars for natural resources is where we can get the greatest leverage where we can use those monies to attract other dollars and that’s why WWRP deserves to be funded. So we need to do that at the same time that we look for other investment opportunities that take advantage of private capital.