Snohomish County is making important gains because of the partnerships we have forged with the private sector and all levels of government...

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Snohomish County is making important gains because of the partnerships we have forged with the private sector and all levels of government. There are many examples of how local partnerships are paving the way for a brighter future for the county.

The latest example of local and regional leaders successfully working together was last week’s announcement that Naval Station Everett would not be on the Pentagon’s base closure list.

Our team of federal, state and local leaders worked together seamlessly during the base realignment and closure process. The teamwork paid off when Defense Department officials announced Friday that Naval Station Everett was indeed safe.

We must continue to seek opportunities for the county to partner with our congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., Gov. Christine Gregoire’s office, local legislators and community leaders. Securing Naval Station Everett’s 6,700 military and civilian jobs is an important part of the foundation we are building to create jobs and improve our local economy.

As Snohomish County executive, I have been committed to working with local and regional leaders to lay the groundwork for economic development. Last year, I brought together business and civic leaders from across Snohomish County to form my Citizens Cabinet on Economic Development. Working together, we released “A Blueprint for the Economic Future of Snohomish County” in August of 2004. Today, we are focused on turning those recommendations into new jobs and creating greater opportunity for success in Snohomish County.

In my recent State of the County address, I highlighted several other key areas where we are working with our public- and private-sector partners to meet our goals and achieve success:

Aerospace — We are working to build upon the existing local aerospace economy and create hundreds of new, high-paying jobs. Subcontractors that will supply component parts for the new Boeing 787 — firms such as Rolls Royce, General Electric and Messier Dowty — are deciding where to locate production facilities. We are working with our private-sector partners to bring these jobs to Snohomish County.

Biotech — Canyon Park is home to 24 percent of the state’s biotech community. By partnering with the Snohomish County Economic Development Council and engaging in active recruiting, our county can be the state leader in biotech manufacturing. We have achieved recent successes, including the addition to Snohomish County of drug manufacturer Berlex, which will establish a $60 million facility and family-wage jobs.

City centers and downtowns — The county has been working closely with local cities to revitalize their downtowns and spur economic development. We recently gave Monroe’s effort to redevelop its downtown a solid boost when we sold 16 acres that will be the home of a new town center. The sale allows the county to free up additional land in neighboring Snohomish that may soon be used for community redevelopment.

This effort is a win for the county and the cities of Monroe and Snohomish — and more are on the way.

Higher education — By partnering with local lawmakers, we secured $500,000 in seed money that will be used to write a plan to establish a four-year university in Snohomish County. This is a priority for my Citizens Cabinet, which recognizes that a four-year university will allow Snohomish County to provide the workforce necessary to compete for future jobs.

As Snohomish County moves forward, we will continue to form partnerships that will directly benefit our citizens and the economy. Working together, we are making Snohomish County a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Aaron Reardon is Snohomish County executive.