MacEwen appointed to 777X Legislative Task Force

Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, this week was appointed to serve on the 777X Legislative Task Force aimed at addressing Boeing’s need to expand their operations in Washington state to keep up with growing demand for the high-tech, fuel-efficient Boeing 777X airliner. Currently, Boeing assembles approximately 8.3 777s per month, or 100 airplanes per year, at its factory in Everett. The company would like to bump production up to 10 to 12 777s per month, which would require expansion of the current facility.

“Washington is the home state for Boeing and the hundreds of aerospace companies that supply the company. Finding ways to help Boeing expand here, and not look elsewhere to create jobs and build the airliners of today and tomorrow, we must find ways to streamline regulations and permitting and ensure state government is a partner with industry to make our state prosperous,” said MacEwen, who is a small-business owner. “I’m excited to work with my legislative colleagues and the governor to find common-sense solutions to ensure Boeing’s current and future operations stay right where they belong – in Washington state.”

The initial meeting of the task force will take place Wednesday, October 2, following the Aerospace Futures Alliance’s Governor’s Aerospace Summit taking place 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Executive Conference Room on the first floor of Comcast Arena in Everett.

At the first meeting, the group will discuss organization and operation of the task force, receive background on the 777X, and hear from the Washington Aerospace Partnership’s consultant team that has been conducting an analysis of the state’s competitiveness and its high level recommendations. Stakeholders in the outcome of the 777X siting decision have been invited to attend the first task force meeting, which will include representatives from the Washington Aerospace Partnership, Aerospace Futures Alliance, International Association of Machinists (IAM) 751 and Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).

“As a small-business owner, I understand that turning over every stone to ensure the success of your business is paramount,” MacEwen said. “I applaud the governor for taking the first step of speeding up the permitting process for Boeing to expand into new space to assemble enough planes to meet demand. I’m sure aerospace workers were encouraged by this as well. But we can do more, and must do more, to firmly plant this home-grown company here for the long haul.”

MacEwen added that he is excited to hear some new ideas to make Washington state more competitive to both retain and grow good jobs. The questions the Legislature must ask, he said, are where will Boeing fabricate the composite wing and where will the company assemble the 777X? Until now, Boeing officials have announced they are considering Everett for the expansion, but that the company is also exploring options in other states.

“The Legislature knows that confronting the high cost of workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance as well as addressing the long delays in project permitting are keys to keeping employers in the state. I believe we can come to a middle ground on these and many other recommendations from consultants studying competitiveness at the state level. I look forward to supporting legislation that comes out of this task force to encourage the creation of jobs that will come with some reforms to how the state does business,” MacEwen said.