Governor visiting Hood River December 8

December 3, 2011

Gov. John Kitzhaber visits Hood River Thursday for the first time since his election last year.

The governor will start his visit with a 10:30 a.m. tour of economic development works in progress at the Port of Hood River, then meet in a "round table discussion" with local business and government leaders at the port office.

Kitzhaber will be guest of honor and speaker at Hood River Rotary at noon, meeting at the Gorge Room at Best Western Hood River Inn.

Kitzhaber's spokeswoman, Amy Wojcicki, said the visit came at the suggestion of Rep. Mark Johnson, a Hood River Republican who is in his first term serving Dist. 52.

"Rep. Johnson invited the governor out, and he accepted. The governor is trying to get around the state, and it worked out well to come out now," Wojcicki said.

She said the governor's talk to Rotary will be "a forward look to the next legislative session and includes topics such as education, jobs and health care."

Wojcicki added that the subjects could change, after talking with local leaders before lunch.

"He'll be listening to them about what's going on, getting a feeling for things in Hood River," she said.

The round table session will include Irene Firmat, CEO of Full Sail, Jean Godfrey of Columbia Gorge Growers-Shippers and local business owners and developers Jeff Pickerd, Seth Tibbets, Dave Ryan and Andy von Flotow.

Government leaders present will include Mayor Arthur Babitz and County Board Chairman Ron Rivers and administrator David Meriwether.

"This is a terrific opportunity for the governor to hear from businesses in Hood River County and understand the progress we're making and understand the challenges," said Michael McElwee, port executive director, who will host the round table.

"It's a short visit, but it's the governor, and we're appreciative of it," McElwee said.

The governor is scheduled for a short press conference following the Rotary meeting.

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