Reps. Smith, MacEwen express disappointment with governor’s continued disparagement of Boeing

During a one-hour town hall on CNN Wednesday night, Gov. Jay Inslee made the following remarks about the state’s largest employer, Boeing:

“Boeing should not have been able to threaten the state of Washington to move 20,000 jobs out of our community. We’re the best place to make airplanes and have been for many decades. But they threatened my state and 20,000 jobs unless they got certain tax benefits. I liken that as kind of extortion in a sense.”

Gov. Inslee made similar remarks on The Daily Show on March 18, stating:

“If you’ve ever been mugged, you understand what it feels like … These corporations put a gun to your ribs and say you’re going to lose 20,000 jobs unless you get [them] a tax break … no local community should be blackmailed by any corporation in America.”

Following his appearance on The Daily Show, Republican Reps. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, and Drew MacEwen, R-Union, wrote a letter to the governor asking him to explain his comments. They received no response.

The lawmakers issued the following statement Thursday:

“Throughout his tenure as governor, Mr. Inslee has failed the people of Washington state time and time again. And now, as he makes a bid for the presidency, he is failing them again by publicly disparaging the state’s largest employer with claims of ‘mugging,’ ‘blackmail,’ and ‘extortion.’ Late last month, we wrote a letter to the governor with four simple questions:

  1. Did you feel you were being ‘blackmailed?’ when you called for a special session, personally pushed for these tax incentives, and hosted a bill-signing ceremony taking credit for the legislation? If so, why did you not share your beliefs with state lawmakers, or the public, at the time?
  2. If you did not harbor these feelings at the time, when exactly did you arrive at the conclusion you were being ‘blackmailed?’
  3. Why did you choose to reveal these feelings publicly on a national television show?
  4. Finally, it is unclear to us and Washingtonians where exactly you stand on these tax incentives today. Could you clearly explain your position. Are you advocating for their repeal?

Instead of addressing our concerns about his comments, the governor has doubled down by repeating them—this time to an even larger televised audience. We are extremely disappointed by his continued mischaracterization of a deal he lauded in 2013 when he said, ‘This is a great day for everyone in Washington.’ We again request he takes a few moments away from the bright lights and cameras to answer our reasonable and sincere questions.”

To view the PDF of Smith’s and MacEwen’s letter to the governor, click on the image below:


Washington State House Republican Communications