Monday, December 9, 2019
Dec. 9, 2019

Linkedin Pinterest

In Our View: No doubt, we’re No. 1 — but we’re hardly perfect

The Columbian
Published: May 19, 2019, 6:03am

Even we are impressed.

Sure, we already knew Washington is the best state in the union. We didn’t need U.S. News & World Report to confirm it by placing our home atop its “Best States” list for 2019. But the glowing report that accompanies the ranking has us puffing out our chests and walking a little taller.

From a booming economy to innovative industries to investments in green energy, Washington is lapping the field in preparing for the future. According to U.S. News, the state has the third-best economy and ranks second in infrastructure, fourth in health care and fourth in education.

“That Washington state boasts a booming economy is hardly a shock,” writes reporter Levi Pulkkinen. “The state is home to, after all, and a mature tech sector led by Microsoft. Washington apples, wheat, hops and grapes feed and inebriate the world. Boeing Co. aircraft circle it. But Washington has a supercharger: power.”

Yes, cheap, reliable, renewable power in the form of hydroelectricity has driven Washington to the top of the heap. And the article goes to great lengths to point out how our state is among the leaders in developing wind energy and solar energy, taking a proactive approach to changing energy needs. That approach helps attract innovative companies and innovative employees while addressing the problems created by climate change.

“Washington state is an example of how climate action and a strong economy go hand in hand,” Gov. Jay Inslee is quoted as saying.

Innovation is nothing new for our state. We gave birth to Boeing, after all, and then Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon. Even Costco, which is headquartered in Issaquah, deserves credit for changing how Americans go about their daily lives.

But while we can drone on endlessly about Washington’s accomplishments and the things that make it the No. 1 state in the nation, we also must acknowledge some shortcomings; no state is perfect. So, in order to maintain that top ranking, we recommend some ways Washington can improve — even as we avoid lengthy discussions about the state’s regressive tax structure or the need for a new Interstate 5 Bridge or the ongoing problem with homelessness:

• Reacquiring a National Basketball Association team. Why should Oregon have all the fun? Seattle, not Portland, is the emerald of the Northwest.

• Insisting that gas stations provide clean water and a working squeegee. Streaky windshields are an existential problem in this state.

• Convincing Washington, D.C., to change its name. It’s confusing to outsiders when we say we are from “Washington.”

The Columbian is becoming a rare example of a news organization with local, family ownership. Subscribe today to support local journalism and help us to build a stronger community.

• Convincing Vancouver, British Columbia, to change its name. Our city was the original Vancouver. Plus, it’s confusing to outsiders when we say we live in “Vancouver.”

• Requiring elementary students to learn the correct pronunciation of Sequim, a city of about 7,000 in Clallam County. It’s “Squim,” as any good Washingtonian should know.

• Helping Jeff Bezos colonize the moon with Amazon warehouses.

• Opening even more brewpubs. Definitely more brewpubs. As somebody once said, “You can never have enough brewpubs.” We think it was Ben Franklin.

• And developing flying cars that run on clean energy. Weren’t we supposed to have those by now?

Of course, these represent relatively minor shortcomings for our state. When you’re already No. 1, you don’t have a lot of areas for improvement.