Gregoire will assemble team to ensure Wash. workers build Boeing 737

Gov. Chris Gregoire Wednesday announced she will assemble a statewide team to ensure the next Boeing 737 is manufactured in Washington state.

Gregoire said she will call on business, labor, and community leaders to work with aerospace companies and organizations to prioritize the actions required to ensure Washington state remains the premier center for aerospace, and the go-to region in the world to design and build commercial airplanes, including a new or re-powered 737. The effort is being titled, “Project Pegasus.”

“I’ve been told by Boeing that the company will announce its decision for the future of the 737 later this year,” Gregoire said. “I’m not waiting. I’m gathering the best people that our aerospace industry has to offer to ensure that when Boeing makes its announcement — Washington state is at the front of the line, ready to compete. Washington state has always been the home of the 737 — and I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure it stays that way. We have 84,000 aerospace workers, and 650 aerospace supply companies in Washington state that are depending on that.”

Gregoire also announced she has asked Seattle attorney Tayloe Washburn to serve as her senior advisor on Project Pegasus and help organize the statewide coalition. Recently Washburn co-chaired the Washington Aerospace Partnership, a statewide group of business, labor and community leaders which exists to improve Washington state’s aerospace competitiveness.

As a land use lawyer with Foster Pepper PLLC with 25 years experience, Washburn has played a role in projects such as the Port of Seattle’s Third Runway, King County’s Brightwater Regional Wastewater system and Wright Runstad & Company’s Spring District project in the Bel-Red area.

“Washington’s role as the number one aerospace cluster in the world is an excellent foundation, however we have work to do as a state to take our aerospace competitiveness to the next level and ensure continuing global leadership for workers and companies in our state,” Washburn said. “I am excited to assist the governor in coming months in her leadership in this effort, and am confident that we have statewide commitment to identify and take the steps necessary to make a compelling value proposition for all aerospace companies to invest their future in Washington state.”