REMARKS AS PREPARED
NGA Schedulers and Communications Directors Seminar
September 14, 2017
Good morning! I am so thrilled to welcome you to Oregon.
Before I begin, I want to recognize the heroic efforts of our firefighters and Oregon National Guard service members. These men and women are the reason we have relatively healthy air to breathe in the city today. It has been an historic wildfire season for Oregon this year. We have a long road of recovery ahead of us. I’m sure many of you also have faced disasters of your own, whether it was wildfires or hurricanes. My heart goes out to all those affected. But I am encouraged by what I call the Oregon way – community members coming together during this difficult time.
Just quickly, call out what states you’re from.
Again, welcome to Oregon. Early fall is actually a magical time to visit Oregon. If you get some free time, I’d recommend checking out Blue Star Donuts – they’re even making a name for themselves in Japan, Powell’s City of Books, and the beautiful waterfront just a few blocks from here. You can walk the South Waterfront Greenway for a 2.5-mile loop and admire our bridges.
I’m pleased that a number of my staff are here and I’m extremely grateful for their contributions to our collective success.
Stormy and Laura – I could not thank them enough. Our schedulers are the gatekeepers to our office and they keep me on time and on task. They are a huge reason our office runs as smoothly as it does.
And of course, my communications staff is critical to my staying in touch with everyday Oregonians. We have a lot of good things happening in Oregon, and Oregonians want to know what we’re doing to solve problems, to ensure our economy continues to thrive, and to build a more equitable future.
I was recently visiting with and thanking our firefighters and Oregon National Guard soldiers in Brookings, one of the regions most affected by wildfires this season. My communications director, Chris Pair, posted a video of them getting ready to go out to the fire line while singing “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks on our Facebook page. This video allowed Oregonians to witness an intimate moment of camaraderie amid difficult times. They also got to see the faces of those putting their own lives on hold to protect the rest of us. It was a simple, but powerful video, and commenters put aside their differences to thank these heroes.
I am sure that your governors appreciate your work also, seeing that they sent you to beautiful Portland.
Oregon has the fastest growing GDP in the country, and the fastest job growth in the country. That’s because Oregon is a great place to live. We are proud of that and we are working hard to make Oregon a great place to live for everyone, regardless of who they are or where they’re from.
I encourage you to take advantage of the great resources of NGA. NGA is doing a great job at spreading best practices, including most recently with my executive team. Find a few tips to take home with you, and share a few of your own. And while you’re at it, try to have a little bit of fun.
With that, I am happy to answer any questions you have for me.