Dino Rossi's campaign has video of his kickoff speech yesterday in Issaquah up at his website DinoRossi.com
He also premiered a feature, TellDino.com where private citizens and public employees can give ideas about how to better goverment or to express concerns about performance of state agencies.
Below is the "official" text of his speech provided to journalists at the event. Rossi made additional comments off the cuff while thanking supporters, friends and family.
Dino Rossi Announcement Speech
Folks, thank you for coming together today. And thank you very much for that reception.Posted by DonWard at October 26, 2007 02:03 AM | Email This
It warms my heart - and it means a lot to my family.
I stand here for you - and others across this state...
You are the reason that today I am announcing my candidacy for governor of our great state of Washington.
The state government we set out to change four years ago is more expensive and less effective at solving our problems.
It's going to take new leadership in Olympia.
Washington state needs new leadership for a new era. And the journey starts today.
It's going to be an exciting trip. Just like a Rossi family road trip...
We may have to take some detours, we may have to ask for directions, and you may even hear me say "don't make me stop this car!"
But we will reach our destination. That destination is a new state government that remembers it exists to serve its people - and not to serve itself.
And the ride starts today.
Before I continue, there are some people I'd like to thank today...
You know, I've been asked two questions thousands of times in the past three years. I'll answer one now and one later.
Every day people ask me: "What have you been up to?"
Well, like you - I've been working.
I've remained active in the commercial real estate business.
I drive our children to school every day - my wife Terri says I've earned my car pool merit badge.
This has given me an intimate, slow-moving look at our state's transportation problems.
I've helped my children with their homework - giving me a close u look at the challenges our students face.
I also wrote a book about the lessons I've learned about business and leadership.
Oh, and Jay Buhner and I joined as part owners of the Everett Aqua Sox baseball team to ensure that the team ownership stays local.
You should have been in the room when I was making that sales pitch to my wife.
And speaking of my wonderful wife, Terry... we have been married 20 years this last August... the greatest blessing in my life.
She's gonna make a great first lady for the state of Washington.
I am also proud to have helped start the Forward Washington Foundation ... a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to issues affecting Washington state's citizens and economy.
The other thing I have been doing is watching our state government... very closely.
Now some of my friends have said, "Dino - you've gotta speak out! You know it's a mess!"
But you've seen very few critical quotes from me in the last three years. And here's why...
When I left the stage three years ago, I wished Christine Gregoire well. And I gave her a chance to change state government as she promised to do.
But I have a message today... I am done watching and hoping that Christine Gregoire will bring about change.
It's time to speak clearly about the failures of this governor and her state government.
And I will compare and contrast what she has done... with what I want us to do.
I want to stop right here to say that I respect the years of service Christine Gregoire has given Washington state. She's worked hard for many years.
Matter of fact... the incumbent has worked in the state for 38 years. 38 years.
She started in 1969 - when I was in the 4th grade.
She's been in the same environment, surrounded by the same people, for nearly four decades.
And along the way - after all these years - she's lost sight of something very important.
Christine Gregoire has become the governor for the government. Not the governor for the people - me and you.
Just ask yourself...
When it comes down to picking what is in the best interest of you and your family... or protecting state government - what do you believe Governor Gregoire will choose?
We know already. She'll choose the interests of state government over the interests of its citizens... every time.
She's been at the center of decision-making in Olympia for over a quarter century.
She was the head of Department of Ecology in the 1980s... then Attorney General... and now governor.
Through that whole time - the same crowd has been together running things in Olympia.
And anytime one party runs things that long - it's going to start caring more for the government that employs them... and not for the people who pay the bills.
Over 38 years as an Olympia insider, Governor Gregoire has mastered three maneuvers that make us so tired of politicians.
The first maneuver I call the Olympia box-step.
The second I refer to as the political electric slide - another famous dance step. And finally... there's the old fashioned broken promise.
Here's the Olympia box-step.
Step one: Identify a problem.
Step two: Hold a press conference and blame someone else for it... and hope nobody notices that you have been in charge of the place for an entire generation.
And better still... sue somebody!
Step three: Form a task force - and the more blue ribbons, the better.
And when they release a report... boldly declare "Problem solved!"
Step four: Hold a press conference taking credit for solving the problem!
Of course... by step four you are right back where you started from - and nothing has changed.
You may think I am kidding... but remember the governor's Washington Learns task force - the one she chaired?
It was put together to produce a new plan to fund public education.
After 18 months and 1.7 million dollars, the incumbent's group concluded it needed to study the problem further.
We still don't have a solution.
Meanwhile, our state is being sued for not adequately funding public education.
Christine Gregoire had a Blue Ribbon Commission on health care.
Have you seen you health care costs come down? Do you have more health insurance options?
But if you were to read the news releases from the governor's office, you would think our health care problems were solved. All is well.
Welcome to the Olympia box-step.
But wait, there's more!
In addition to the box-step, there's another dance that the incumbent has mastered after 38 years..
I call this one the political electric slide.
In this dance... when something good happens, she slides forward and takes credit - even when she has nothing to do with it.
And when something goes wrong, she slides back and blames others for her failures.
When the Dow Jones hit 14,000, she slid forward and took credit for the great economy.
But when her Department of Corrections was found releasing thousands of violent felons from prison early into your neighborhood... she slid back and took no responsibility.
In fact, she blamed her on agency director - someone she appointed.
And when some of our most vulnerable children have died or been abused in the care of the state... Christine Gregoire slid back and blamed her own agency director.
This is not leadership.
The buck used to stop at President Truman's desk.
With this governor, the only buck that's sure to stop at her desk is a campaign contribution.
But when the old dance steps don't work, Governor Gregoire turns to that old tried-and-true standby... the broken promise.
According to the facts, she has not kept her promises.
Christine Gregoire ran as a candidate promising no tax increases. What happened?
Less than one hour after being certified, the Seattle Times asked her if she would keep her no tax promise.
She answered: "Well... I never really said NO taxes."
She then raised taxes on gasoline, raised taxes on families who lost loved ones, and raised other taxes by $500 million dollars.
A promise broken.
Christine Gregoire promised to control the size of state government, blow through the bureaucracy, and change the culture of Olympia.
And yet, the only one who lost his job was Gary Locke.
Have you ever seen her blow past the bureaucracy?
Instead the incumbent increased spending by 33 percent. That's $5.7 million a day in new spending.
And she added almost 6,000 new state employees and hundreds of new state rules.
6,000. That's more people added to state government than live in Leavenworth and Chelan.
Another promise broken.
Christine Gregoire promised to improve our K-12 education system by demanding accountability.
Then she delayed critical math and science WASL graduation requirements for our students... abandoning accountability in our public schools.
Another promise broken.
Christine Gregoire promised to relieve traffic congestion - to make our commutes shorter.
She rammed through a 9.5 cent tax increase on gas - the largest tax increase in state history.
And she promised that this money would help relieve congestion.
But our State Auditor, a Democrat, just produced a performance audit that said Christine Gregoire's transportation department is NOT focused on reducing congestion.
The Seattle Times asked the acting transportation director - a 28 year career bureaucrat - if now the department would make congestion relief the top priority.
The acting director said "no".
So what did Governor Gregoire do just last week? She made that acting director the permanent director.
Another broken promise.
Nothing will change in Olympia if we keep the same old crowd in charge.
They have had their turn...
We can do better. We will do better!
Christine Gregoire also promised to protect us from dangerous criminals.
But then her corrections department allowed the early release of 3,000 violent and dangerous felons each year.
Christine Gregoire promised to protech vulnerable children from sex offenders and other criminals.
But it seems like every month we open up our newspapers to read about another child being abused... many of them in state care.
Folks, we have children in state care being abused and even killed.
Governor Gregoire has blamed past governors and her appointed state agency director for the problems. She says that sometimes sex offenders and children "fall through the cracks of the system."
I recently read the state does not even have the contact information for oever a quarter of its foster parents.
How can that be?
To protect these children the system needs real change. Who will make those changes?
The incumbent - who has been inside the state government for 38 years?
Or a new governor with a new perspective?
This is the politics the incumbent has learned after 38 years in Olympia... and she's not going to change.
We can't afford four more years of the Olympia box step, the political electric slide and broken promises.
The Governor of the Government has had her turn...
We can do better. We will do better!
This isn't just another election. It isn't just about Christine Gregoire or Dino Rossi.
It's about whether we have the courage to try something new.
My approach to being governor will be very different...
I will bring with me a whole new set of people. We will work night and day to create a new attitude of public service in state government.
We will focus on customer service.
State government will again become our servant instead of our master.
I greatly value public service. I served for seven years in the state Senate.
But I've spent most of my professional career in small business - like most working people.
In business, survival depends on meeting the needs of the customer.
But we don't get that kind of postivie customer service when dealing with state government.
So here's a specific new idea to help instll the attitude of responsiveness...
I have created the website "Tell Dino.com"
Starting today, if you and your neighbors see things that need to change... "tellDino.com"
And I plan to keep this website in place when I'm governor.
If you're frustrated by poor customer service in state government - tellDino.com
Imagine how much better you would be treated by state agencies when everyone knows that you will have a direct line to the governor... and also share your ideas on how to make things better.
And you won't have to register your e-mail address with me. So if state workers want to share their ideas, it can be anonymous.
Today, I know many hard-working state workers feel like they can't be candid and open with their thoughts.
Now you can... tellDino.com
Imagine what a change just that little reform will bring. Here's a basic difference between us...
Her whole career Christine Gregoire has fought against open government. I want to open the doors and let the sunshine in.
The place has been run by the same people and the same political party for a generation.
We can only imagine what kinds of things we will find when we get there.
I need you. I need the media. I need public watchdogs to help me turn over the rocks.
Remember folks... "tellDino.com"
You know I will change the attitude of the state government.
Here are four more areas of focus for me: education, transportation, public safety and fiscal sanity.
Let's start with the most important state function: education.
When I was in the state Senate and considering education legislation - I had one simple test...
I asked myself: What's in the best interest of the children?
Not what do the squabbling adults want - but what truly is in the best interest of these children?
And that is the test I will use when I am your governor.
We've got two big problems: too many of our children our passing but are unprepared for the competitive world they will soon be entering... and way too many are dropping out and failing all together.
Two-thirds of our 10th graders don't pass all parts of the WASL.
16,000 of our children dropped out of high school in 2005.
My father taught fifth and sixth grade at Viewlands Elementary School in Seattle for over 20 years.
There is no group of people I admire more than teachers. We have some of the best teachers and principals in the country.
I don't blame our children: our children are bright and talented.
The problem is with the system. The system needs change.
The incumbent has not and will never reform the system... I will!
A third of our students in public schools are in districts that don't teach a full 180-day school year. I want to change that.
Second, we must reward success.
Where we see teachers and principals succeeding consistently - I want them to be paid more.
What a concept - paying people more money for doing a better job.
Third, we need to focus on money where the need is greatest.
Today, our students are not being prepared to succeed in math and science.
We need more college graduates with math and science degrees to join the teaching profession - and we need to keep them in the classroom.
And this means qualified and successful math and science teachers should be paid more.
Our current system does not give school districts the flexibility to pay qualified math and science teachers more in salary.
We need to pay them outside the rigid seniority pay grid.
Fourth, I want to make it easier to bring talented people into the classroom part time.
We live in a state with so many adults that have math, science and computer skills.
According to the rules today, Bill Gates is not qualified to teach computer science in our K-12 classrooms.
He would have to shine a chair at a teaching college for at least a year.
We need to change the rules on accreditation to bring new talent into the classroom.
And finally, standardized testing should be used to judge the system - not just the students. And failure must be dealt with.
When students in a classroom, a school, or an entire district show failure on standardized testing year, after year, after year - it's a crisis.
But today it's not treated like a crisis.
Nobody is replaced. The curriculum doesn't change. And state government gives the same pay increases to employees whether their students are learning or not.
This is not in the best interest of children and this is wrong.
My approach will be different.
When we see consistent failure, I want to make it easier for local school districts to encourage failing teachers to find another profession.
When we see consistent failure, I want to make it easier for local school districts to encourage failing teachers to find another profession.
When we see a school consistently fail, I want to give competent principals emergency powers to hire better staff and adopt a new curriculum.
And when we see an entire school district consistently fail...
I want to require new school board elections and let the local community decide whether to elect new leadership.
This will require parental involvement to force decisions in places where school districts are failing their children.
That is local control - and its in the best interests of our children.
While I will have more to say about education as we move ahead, those are some of the reforms I will work for as your governor.
And the incumbent will oppose every last one of these education reforms.
Turning to transportation... we know how bad it is.
It's ugly out there folks - it's ugly.
Congestion hurts our businesses and jobs. It disrupts our families. It hurts our environment.
And while slow-speed carpooling with my children has provided some good family time, I'd rather not spend it in the car.
As I mentioned before...
Despite passing the largest tax increase in state history, the governor and her transportation agency are not - and will not - make congestion relief the number one priority.
As your governor...
Congestion relief will be my number one priority.
I will deliver transportation projects on time statewide that have been promised to taxpayers.
I will use transportation performance audits to drive reform in state government.
And as we move forward... you will hear a lot more specifics from me on transportation.
And now, on public safety...
As your governor...
First, I will not allow the early release of violent felons.
Let me repeat that - I will not allow the early release of violent felons.
Second, my administration will provide front line community correction officers the tools they need to properly monitor criminals who are released into our neighborhoods.
We have talented, hard-working community corrections officers.
They've been asking for more tools and resources... and I will give them the tools and resources they need to keep our neighborhoods safe.
Did you know that state government today has no idea where over 1,300 sex offenders are? 1,300.
I will strengthen the penalties for released sex offenders who fail to register their addresses and Internet activities.
You deserve to feel safer in you community. You deserve better from state government.
I will focus hard on public safety as your governor.
The incumbent has had her turn. We can do better. We will do better.
Finally, on taxes and spending...
Here's another thing you can count on from me. I will be responsible with state spending.
State spending is already up 33 percent from the day she took office.
The incumbent has blown through the largest surplus the state has ever know and has turned it into a sizable deficit by 2009.
Governor Gregoire has spent and spent and spent. And she hopes the tax bill won't come due until after the next election.
She has put us on a road heading straight toward one of the biggest deficits in state history.
This deficit will be handled in one of two ways: controlling spending or increasing taxes.
Christine Gregoire always has one answer... raise your taxes.
I have a new answer... control spending.
I know our state can and should live within its means - and still provide essential services.
I know because I wrote a state budget that did just that... despite the fact we faced a multibillion dollar deficit.
It's not talk - I did it.
And I did it when no one said it could be done.
I wrote the state budget in 2003 as Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
It was a budget that did not raise taxes - did not raise taxes... while still protecting the vulnerable.
My priority as governor will be to fund education first and to protect our most vulnerable citizens... including the mentally ill, people with developmental disabilities and children in state foster care.
And the other priorities follow below those.
When it comes to taxes, here's what I believe...
You work hard for the money you earn. You have dreams, aspirations and plans for your family that depend on your income and savings.
As your governor...
I will hold the line on taxes.
If our state has a large surplus, I will push to return some of it back where it came from in the first place... that would be you.
Let me repeat the choice when it comes to taxes.
In 2009, state government will face a deficit.
Our governor will have to choose between protecting state government or doing what's in the best interest of you and your family.
After 38 years in state government you already know what the incumbent will choose...
She will choose to protect state government by raising your taxes... because she is the governor for the government.
Earlier this year, Governor Gregoire told the Spokesman Review that she supports a state income tax... and that "the public has not been sufficiently educated on its merits."
Here's what she thinks you need to learn: she wants a lot more of your money.
I mentioned earlier that every day people ask me two questions...
The first one is "what have you been doing lately?"... then they ask me "what about 2004?"
I will talk about 2004 briefly.
I joined everyone in Washington state in being thrown into the middle of the most memorable election in state history. The closest governor's race in U.S. history!
I was certified twice as governor-elect - but did not serve in office.
With your support and prayers, my family and I worked hard to come through the experience with our health and optimism intact.
We kept our focus on all of the incredible things we had learned and the new friends we made across the state.
The good news is the 2004 election drove positive reform.
Secretary of State Sam Reed created a statewide voter data base for the first time.
Over 176,000 dead, double and illegal voters - mostly felons - were removed from the voter rolls. They even removed a dog.
And folks that is a very good thing.
Seven members of the left-wing group Acorn forged signatures and filed bogus voter registration forms here. They were caught and will be punished for vote fraud.
Cheaters wll know there is a price to pay. And that's a good thing.
Join me in 2008 in watching the election process very closely. Be an active participant.
We have a big job ahead... we have to turn state government around.
This is about the future. And we are not going to get this job done by looking in the rear view mirror at what happened in 2004...
But we are going to finish what we started, aren't we?
Here's something else that's missing in Olympia: bipartisan problem solving.
I believe neither party has a corner on the truth - or all of the answers.
Every day we see that for many incumbent politicians... partisan fighting has replaced public problem-solving.
My approach will be work in good faith with anyone who has good ideas.
In the state Senate I built philosophical majorities - not partisan majorities.
Christine Gregoire is a government lawyer. She has learned to sue and regulate people...trying to force them to do what she wants.
My professional life is completely different...
In the commercial real estate business, my family depended on my ability to bring two parties with different interests together.
I didn't get paid unless I got them to agree.
The incumbent has had her turn...
Washington state needs new leadership. We can do better. We will do better!
Will you help me change state government? Will you?
I need your help - and I need the help of your family and friends.
We all need to do just a little bit more than last time.
I need you to donate money... I ned you to put up signs... I need you to organize coalitions... and I ned you to volunteer at phone banks.
If you have $100 last time... we need $200 this time.
If you made 10 calls last time... we need 20 calls this time.
A grassroots movement can and will take back state government.
All the big Olympia special interests are gonna back the incumbent.
The big unions, the big trial lawyers and the biggest businesses - they like things just the way they are. Their money is pouring into her campaign.
They are going to come after us hard...
The crowd that has controlled state government for a generation does not intend to give up power without a fight.
By the time they finish with their news releases and their TV ads - my own family will have trouble recognizing me.
They will say anything... they will do anything - to keep their power.
But so what? I know who I am, where I'm going, and why I'm going there.
We have done this before... remember? Remember back to the fall of 2003?
Christine Gregoire had been elected attorney general three times. Back then she had no record as governor.
She sounded moderate... and made lots of promises.
The first poll in that race had her ahead with 48 percent - and me with 17 percent.
The most recent poll had this race at 47 - 45. That's a statistical dead heat.
Governor Gregoire is one point lower than on the last election day in 2004.
While Governor Gregoire has already been running hard for re-election... in the last three weeks I played in two charity golf tournaments and car pooled the children to school every day.
But that is going to change...
As of today, I'm in the race... and the campaign for governor starts NOW!!!