Governor praises service, predicts recovery at Issaquah stop

September 8, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2:58 p.m. Sept. 8, 2009

Gov. Chris Gregoire praised Issaquah community service groups today, and said volunteers are essential as the state recovers from a deep recession.

During a lunchtime address to about 120 members of the local Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, the second-term Democrat recalled her visit to Rotary First Harvest, a Seattle program to feed the hungry. She recounted meeting a man who said he never imagined lining up at a food bank for a meal.

“Far too of the many people across the state have found themselves in the same position as this man and his children found themselves that day,” Gregoire said.

Kiwanis president Judy Rogers, Mayor Ava Frisinger, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rotary president Carl Peterson (from left) stand together at the lectern during the Sept. 8 annual joint luncheon meeting of the two service clubs. Both clubs raised money for school supplies, and Kiwanis donated a $1,100 check to the city for preschool programs at the Issaquah Community Center. – Photo by Greg Farrar

Kiwanis president Judy Rogers, Mayor Ava Frisinger, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rotary president Carl Peterson (from left) stand together at the lectern during the Sept. 8 annual joint luncheon meeting of the two service clubs. Both clubs raised money for school supplies, and Kiwanis donated a $1,100 check to the city for preschool programs at the Issaquah Community Center. – Photo by Greg Farrar

The governor praised state lawmakers for taking steps to protect people left vulnerable by the economic downturn, but she centered her remarks on the work done by volunteer groups.

“We at the government level, however, are by no means the solution to the problem,” she said.

Her speech at Our Savior Lutheran Church came at the beginning of a week of community service events. Friday, the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, is a national day of service and remembrance. The governor described a meeting last Friday with her economic advisers. She offered some good news to the Issaquah crowd: Gregoire said the recession had probably reached the bottom. But the recovery, she said, would not move in a V shape, but would rather progress on a U-shaped curve. In other words, the economy could remain at the bottom for some time before the recovery begins.

“It’s going to be a tough recovery, and it’s still quite fragile,” she said. “And the fragility is related to consumers. If consumers will begin to spend, then we will flatten out and we will see the recovery. If they continue, as they have over the last several months, despite the wherewithal to spend, not to do so, then we’re going to have a prolonged, sitting on the flat bottom of that U before we see any real recovery.”

The governor listed other signs of economic recovery, such as looser lending restrictions and a recent uptick in home sales. She said federal stimulus dollars had helped the state economy.

“We’re doing everything we can at the state level to ensure those dollars get out the door, and get out the door in a responsible and in a timely way,” she said.

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