Snohomish County Executive Aaron presented his 2010 State of the County address Thursday, highlighting the need to create more local jobs while changing the tone of debate in local government.
“I am willing to bend over backwards to improve communication and the relationship between the two branches,” Reardon said, referring to the county’s Executive and Legislative branches. “I genuinely extend my hand and ask for equal effort towards rebuilding a partnership rooted in honesty and mutual respect.”
Reardon called upon elected officials and lawmakers to make economic competitiveness and job growth the top priorities in coming months. He stressed the importance of clear communication between offices regardless of political affiliation or current political environment.
“Our success towards helping those in need is inextricably tied to our ability to work together for the common good,” Reardon said. “Our citizens would much rather have a paycheck than an unemployment check or government voucher.”
In his address, Reardon emphasized his proposal to use $33 million in federally subsidized bonds available under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to stimulate new job growth. He added that new jobs and economic expansion could be created in key sectors of Snohomish County’s local economy: aerospace, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, agribusiness and biotechnology.
“Creating new jobs and growing the economy is the most effective means to increasing tax revenues and decreasing the demand for government services,” he said.
To do that, Reardon said Snohomish County needed to be organized, focused and innovative, using the recent creation of an aerospace training center by the Executive Office, Aerospace Futures Alliance and others as an example.
“After important legislation aimed at creating an aerospace training center failed to make it out of the (state) Senate, my administration brought together the interested parties to make it happen,” he said. “We didn’t let pessimism or low expectations hold us back.”
As new jobs are created, however, Reardon said more effort must be made to help those in need.
“My administration has brought together the United Way of Snohomish County, the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County and human needs agencies from the State of Washington to host a three day human needs resource fair at multiple locations throughout the county,” he said. “Starting next week, more than 25 nonprofit and government agencies will be available to provide employment, housing, financial and healthcare assistance.”
As slow as economic recovery has been at federal and state levels, Reardon urged locally elected officials to return to the days when robust, respectful dialogue was the norm and produced positive results. He added that it was incumbent upon all offices, including the Executive Office.
“Let the front pages of our papers tell the story of our efforts to help those suffering because of the recession by creating jobs and putting people back to work,” he said. “Let the papers inform our readers of the work we are doing to blaze the trail of opportunity and economic recovery.”