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Critics Unsure of Gov. Inslee’s Plan to Woo New Boeing Jets

Will Inslee's plan to keep Boeing here work?
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Bill Virgin, s business leader and editor/publisher of the Washington Manufacturing Alert and Pacific Rail News blistered Gov. Inslee’s ambitious plan to persuade Boeing to build its 777x aircraft in Washington state.

Last week, Inslee laid out a multi-point plan and created a special committee to persuade Boeing to keep the jobs here. If Boeing does so, it could create several thousand jobs.

However, Virgin in a humorous but biting column in the Tacoma News Tribune suggests Inslee may not even believe in his own plan. The column was about the supposed “inner monologue” in the governor’s head as he prepares to deliver his speech about the plan. Some excerpts:

Why am I here? Who are we kidding? Is anyone buying this?
No, of course they’re not. They’re not stupid. They know what’s going on.
Do I buy it? I’ll never say publicly. I didn’t get where I am by telling people what they see but don’t want to hear.
But because I’m governor, because I ran on a platform of jobs and how we’re a leader in aerospace and technology, I’ve got to stand up here and present my aerospace plan for landing the 777X and tell everyone we’re going to make this ‘the best place to build the best airplanes and preserve thousands of family-wage jobs for generations to come.’”

Virgin goes on to say Inslee does not want to go down in history as the governor who “lost” Boeing. He says Inslee would be happy to keep that tag attached to former Gov. Gary Locke. It was under his watch Boeing relocated its corporate headquarters and support projects to Chicago. He also makes reference to the reported 2,000 jobs Boeing plans to add at its newer South Carolina manufacturing plant.

Virgin says Inslee is desperate for some sort of positive Boeing development, at least for his own career. More from his column:

But maybe a small victory will be enough to preserve my career. Gary Locke managed to land a cabinet secretary position and an ambassadorship, so it didn’t seem to hurt him too much. Gregoire hasn’t gotten squat out of the Obamas yet, but I’ll bet there’s some openings coming up soon at IRS. Maybe she can lobby for one of those jobs. As for me, voters in King County will still put an X in front of any name with (D) after it, and these days that’s about all I’ll need to win a second term.”

The rest of the piece is worth reading. It’s perhaps the hardest-hitting piece of editorial writing leveled at Inslee so far. Only time will tell if Virgin’s predictions come true. Due to a government-created unfriendly business climate, he believes Boeing will eventually leave our state entirely — a few hundred jobs and one assembly line at a time.

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