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Jay Inslee Governor's Summit
Washington Governor Jay Inslee speaking at the 2016 Governor’s Life Sciences Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane)

Washington state’s life sciences sector experienced a huge boom in the early 2000s, even thriving during the great recession. But in recent past years, that growth has been waning. Some in the industry have called for more government support for biotech and other life science industries, and today Washington Gov. Jay Inslee threw full support behind those efforts.

“I envision Washington state emerging as a global leader in life science innovation by 2025,” he said, speaking at the 2016 Governor’s Life Sciences Summit in Bellevue, Wash. “We know state policy plays a central role in the development of this industry.”

Inslee cited his support for measures such as renewing the R&D tax credit that expired in 2015, working with developers to build more wet lab space in the Seattle area, and increasing investment in STEM education to boost the life sciences talent pipeline.

But he said his support alone won’t be enough, and encouraged industry leaders to target legislators, who have shown less enthusiasm about these measures. “I want to ask you to double down on your efforts to get to know these legislators, to tell them your stories,” he said, even joking that the people in the audience should “shanghai them in the grocery store.”

“I’m serious about this, because we have a story to tell — that for one reason or another legislators have not yet understood the job-creating opportunity of this sector,” he said.

Inslee is running for re-election against Republican challenger Bill Bryant in November’s election.

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