Luke Timmerman wrote:
Gov. Chris Gregoire has been in the thick of the health care reform talks in the other Washington. To hear her tell the story, she has been talking with President Obama’s top health policy aide, Nancy Ann DeParle, U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and one of the leading Senators on health reform, Senator Max Baucus of Montana.
Gregoire has been so busy with the DC power elite, and dealing with a recent economic report that said the state’s economy has hit “rock bottom,” that I heard some scuttle she might try to phone it in at her own annual Governor’s Life Sciences Summit in Seattle this morning.
But there she was at McCaw Hall in Seattle at 8 am, letting a crowd of at least 100 people brought to together by the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association know she’s still a believer in their work to build up the state’s cluster of companies that develop new drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics.
“We ought to remain committed to the Life Sciences Discovery Fund and what it can do for the public,” Gregoire said.
I was at the summit yesterday, as I have the last few years. There was a real change in mood, though. The businessmen in attendance were much more subdued than usual. There was only one question during the panel Q & A. In fact, a very large percentage left well before the end of the summit.
In contrast, the speakers were much more animated and seemed to have a better focus than in years past. There were several stories about therapies that had changed lives and how we needed to do more to make sure more drugs made it to the clinic.
Whether that can be accomplished will be the question but it certainly was different than a few years ago when the justification was more jobs. The thing is, more jobs can be used as a justification for almost anything or any type of industry. Only one industry can create new approaches to human disease.
That should be the focus for support.