Gregoire's Final State of the State Address

<p>Gov. Chris Gregoire</p>

Gov. Chris Gregoire

Governor Christine Gregoire says Washington state has made major progress during her last eight years in office, and the state of the state is strong going into the future.

The outgoing governor spoke to legislators and people across the state during her final state of the state speech this morning.

The governor told residents the future of Washington is bright, and our state is the envy of states across the country.

She praised the legislature for making tough decisions and for moving the state out of a major recession.

But at the end of her speech, she was mostly grateful for the opportunity to serve the public.

Outgoing governor Christine Gregoire entered the state capital to cheering and applause before giving her final state of the state speech this morning.

"I think everybody in this chamber would agree, history will reflect that this was not just any eight years" said Gregoire (D).

The governor says during her two terms, the state has made progress in education, public safety, health care and business growth - not to mention climbing out of the worst recession since the great depression.

"And despite the challenges ahead, I can say today the state of the state is strong" said Gregoire.

Gregoire says lawmakers have stepped up together to make difficult decisions that are now paying off.

And many residents in the Tri-Cities agree the future of Washington is bright.

"I think she's probably right. I think we are making progress" said Jerry Decker, Kennewick resident.

"I think we've held up pretty well considering all the country in general has been through in the last eight years" said Alan Steen, Prosser resident.

However, not everyone believes the governor made enough of an impact.

"She just didn't get the job done as far as I'm concerned" said Ed Kenealy, Kennewick resident.

The governor admits there is work left to be done.

At the end of her speech, as a final request, she urged legislators to put more money into transportation and education.

"Today is the day, now is the time. We must invest in our children and their future" said Gregoire.

Now, as she prepares to leave office, Gregoire leaves with a message of excitement and gratitude.

"On my last day as governor, I can speak with experience and say we still live in the greatest state in the nation, in the greatest country in the world. Thank you to the people of Washington for the pleasure of serving you" said Gregoire.

State legislators have a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall to fix this legislative session.

They also must fund education with another $1.5 billion dollars because of the McCleary decision, where the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the state isn't properly funding education.

Governor-elect Jay Inslee will be sworn in tomorrow before giving his inaugural speech.