• Join your peers at SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference!

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and to register today.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Tech Talkin’ Govs: Energy, Workforce Initiatives Prominently Featured in Gubernatorial Addresses

January 15, 2015

SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene the 2015 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses.

The second installment of this year’s series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Read last week’s installment featuring speeches in California, Kentucky and Vermont here.


Gov. Doug Ducey, State of the State Address, Jan. 12, 2015
“… Last week, I signed an order placing a moratorium on new regulations in the executive branch. It was a good beginning, but only a beginning.

“There is also the matter of many state regulations already in place, often for reasons that nobody even remembers. Our small businesses have to deal with all these little rules all the time, just because they’re on the books and nobody’s bothered to change them. I’m instructing the directors of every agency to conduct a top-to-bottom review of regulations, and then to send me a list of all the ones we can do without. It’s likely to be a long list. Wherever we find any regulation that is outdated, irrational, unfair, or destructive to free and honest enterprise in Arizona – that regulation will be gone.

While they’re at it, agency directors will also be reducing timeframes for permits and licenses. Our government needs to operate at the speed of business. And we have a Regulatory Review Council that’s stacked with lobbyists? Who’s advocating for the small business person, the startup, the entrepreneur who can’t afford an attorney to navigate the endless maze of bureaucracy? I ask that you pass a bill requiring a small business owner on that Council and I’ll sign it.”


Gov. Butch Otter, State of the State and Budget Address, Jan. 12, 2015
“… I’m also pleased to report some good news from the efforts of our Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission or LINE Commission and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies—CAES. As you will recall, that group did an outstanding job highlighting the strengths and capabilities of our National Lab – and one of their key recommendations focused on “regionalizing CAES” by including other state partners.

“This past fall my good friend Governor Mead and the University of Wyoming agreed to join as equal partners in the CAES consortium of our state universities.

“This is but the first step in a continuing effort to fulfill the promise of the INL and CAES. …”

“We now expect to outpace the national employment growth rate with 15,000 job opportunities a year being created for Idaho workers through 2022 – many of them in the healthcare and construction fields.

“That’s why Director Ken Edmunds and his team at Labor have developed a plan for retaining, recruiting and returning employees to Idaho to help meet the demand for skilled workers.

“The idea behind the “Choose Idaho” initiative is to bridge the coming labor shortage by keeping Idaho’s best and brightest right here at home, encouraging former Idahoans to come home, and welcoming people with new skills to our communities.

“To help build on that effort, my budget recommendation for fiscal 2016 includes a transfer of $5 million for Industry Sector Grants. …”

“… One of the most crucial parts of making Idaho a better place to do business and create jobs is improving our infrastructure. My budget recommendation includes an additional $3 million infusion for the Idaho Opportunity Fund at the Department of Commerce. That money is used for strategic grants to help Idaho communities provide the water, power, wastewater treatment, roads and other infrastructure necessary for new or expanding businesses.”


Gov. Mike Pence, State of the State, Jan. 13, 2015
“To remain the crossroads of America, let’s invest another $300 million in new funding for roads and give our cities and towns new resources to plan regional strategies for growth. …”

“… We’ve distributed millions in grants and seen innovation in schools across our state. Like up in LaPorte County, where the high schools and the local utility are working together preparing students for careers in electronics and energy by creating an Energy Academy. …”

“…By providing $20 million a year to create more career and vocational opportunities and improving the way we fund those courses, we will dramatically increase the number of students who graduate career-ready, and increase—by fivefold—the number of students who graduate with an industry-recognized credential by 2020.”


South Dakota
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, State of the State Address, Jan. 13, 2015
“… For most of the past year, South Dakota has had the second lowest unemployment rate in the nation. We can be proud of that, but it's a double-edged sword. Many business owners struggle to find qualified workers, and this shortage makes it difficult for businesses to expand. …”

“…  Last month, I announced another new approach – an exciting partnership between the state and Denny Sanford toward addressing this need.

“The Build Dakota scholarship program will be funded by a $25 million donation from Denny Sanford, which will be matched over five years by state Future Funds.

“This program will offer full scholarships to students entering high-need workforce programs at in-state technical institutes, in exchange for a commitment to work in South Dakota for three years. We expect to provide approximately 300 full scholarships annually in each of the first five years, beginning this fall. From 2020 on, an endowment will continue to award approximately 50 scholarships per year. …”

“… Last spring, I worked with local leaders to convene six workforce summits, to inform local leaders about state efforts, learn from them about their needs, and discuss ideas for cooperation. We analyzed the information from these summits, and returned to all six cities to offer a report of our findings.

“Following the summits, I made a financial commitment of $1 million in matching funds to help communities address workforce shortages. Last week, I announced 14 grants to match local commitments – with ideas ranging from providing affordable housing to providing access to career and technical education in remote areas. …”



Gov. Terry McAuliffe, State of the Commonwealth Address, Jan. 15, 2015
“… I am also proposing legislation to strengthen management and oversight of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification Fund, so that we can maximize return on investment and preserve this important driver of economic development in the tobacco region for years to come. …”

 “… Right now, employers across Virginia have thousands of high-tech jobs that they cannot find trained workers to fill.

“If we are going to keep those companies here, and bring new ones in, we must build a world-class workforce system that better aligns our training programs with the needs of employers.

“This session, I am introducing a bipartisan workforce development package that increases state funding for workforce programs, devotes greater state attention to apprenticeships and training in much-needed areas, and increases accountability and transparency for the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on a broken system. …”

“… My budget proposal makes key investments in Virginia’s research and technology infrastructure.

“I have included $4.2 million so that we can compete for a new Electron Ion Collider at the Jefferson Lab in Newport News.

“That new $618 million facility would create more than 4,900 jobs within a decade and add $708 million to the commonwealth’s economy.

“It will also make Virginia a world leader in high energy physics. …“

“… This session we will advocate for legislation to increase the diversity of our fuel mix through increased utilization of zero-carbon emitting sources such as solar, wind, and nuclear. These growing technologies will not only help Virginia create new jobs, they will also reduce our emissions as we work to mitigate the impacts of global warming.

“We will work to increase renewable development through public-private partnerships by creating the Virginia Solar Development Authority.

“And we will introduce legislation to create an energy economic development fund to provide Virginia with yet another tool to attract new, large job creating businesses and help existing businesses grow. “


Gov. Jay Inslee, State of the State, Jan. 13, 2015
“… Investing in STEM and workforce training pays off in attracting the most innovative companies on the planet. Today we can celebrate Elon Musk's announced plans to open a Space X engineering center in Washington with the potential to hire up to 1,000 people. …”

“… By next year, countries and states that are responsible for half the world's carbon pollution will have instituted limits on those emissions. And when we act together with other states and nations, we can do something even bigger. By locking arms with Oregon, California and British Columbia through the Pacific Coast Collaborative, we become a region of 53 million people comprising the world's fifth-largest economy. Won't it be great when the West Coast leads, while Washington DC is stymied by gridlock?

“I am pleased there is a growing consensus that it is time to act. We must meet the carbon pollution limits enacted by this body in 2008. I have proposed a comprehensive solution that caps carbon emissions, creates incentives for clean technology and transportation, invests in energy efficiency and makes our own government operations more efficient.”


Gov. Scott Walker, State of the State Address, Jan. 13, 2015
“… Currently, the state has two different entities directly involved with economic development.  One, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), was created four years ago to replace the old Department of Commerce.  The other, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) was created more than four decades ago.

“Tonight, I ask the members of the state Legislature to pass legislation combining these two into one, so resources can be shifted from overhead into economic development.  Our plan will put an even greater emphasis on working at the grassroots level with local, regional, and private sector partners on economic development”


West Virginia
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, State of the State Address, Jan. 14, 2015
“… As we compete in today’s global economy, we must start with our middle school and high school students by providing them with the high-tech skills they need. In 2013, business and industry in West Virginia identified a critical need for workers with strong math, technical, computer and mechanical skills. 

“That’s why this year I’ve set aside funding to establish a STEM network to review current STEM-related education initiatives and refine and expand local programs to better serve our students. As we increase and improve STEM-education opportunities, there will be a need for more certified chemistry, robotics and advanced math teachers in our classrooms.”



Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, West Virginiatech talkin govs