State representative talks about attracting tech jobs at forum

Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor, speaks about his first term in Olympia at a public forum

Staff writerApril 9, 2014 

State Rep. Jesse Young had to learn the ropes in Olympia pretty quickly this session. He was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, one week into the session.

Young, R-Gig Harbor, spoke on Thursday during the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Public Affairs Forum at Cottesemore of Life Care. His wife, Jennifer, was on hand to record her husband’s comments.

Young said his private-sector experience as an information technology consultant was helpful in his new role. As he jumped into the session so quickly, he didn’t get an orientation until the week before the 60-day period ended.

One thing Young stressed is to make sure public infrastructure is maintained and used responsibly.

“I should be able to show you we’re getting a return on our investment,” he said.

Young sat on four committees and said “the wheels are in motion” to put him on the technology and economic development committee next time around, should he be elected this fall.

His main focus is to make the south Puget Sound attractive for IT jobs. Young often works in Silicon Valley, but he took a sabbatical to work in Olympia.

“I believe our district is uniquely positioned to attract (high-tech jobs),” he said.

The 26th Legislative District’s location between Seattle and Tacoma, as well as fiberoptic infrastructure, is an asset Young said needs to be developed. He talked about work-from-home, high-wage technology jobs that could be brought to the area.

“Really, if you think about it, the Puget Sound area is Silicon Valley Two,” he said.

Right now, he said most jobs in his field are being outsourced to places like India or China, and he added it makes sense because those countries are investing in those types of jobs.

Young said he benefitted from speaking at town halls with Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor. Seaquist is on the higher education committee, and Young is interested in skilled jobs. The two team up, Young said, because education leads to those jobs he wants to see in the district.

Young is the third of the three 26th District legislators to speak at the forum. Angel and Seaquist spoke previously.

Deb Wallace, the airports and ferries administrator for Pierce County, is scheduled to speak at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Cottesmore, 2909 14th Ave. NW.

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