Washington officials are bringing in some big business guns in their efforts to convince Boeing to build a new assembly plant in that state.
On Tuesday, the day N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue visited Kinston's Global TransPark, more than two dozen executives from Costco, Alaska Airlines and other large employers in Washington released a letter to Jim Albaugh. In the letter, they practically begged the head of Boeing's commercial aircraft unit not to abandon their state.
"We pledge our support to you and your entire company in working to ensure Washington remains the single best place for you to design, build and market commercial airplanes," they wrote.
Meanwhile, officials in North Carolina, which is reported to be a competitor for the new Boeing factory, remain mum. Unlike their vocal counterparts in Washington, Tar Heel leaders, economic development officials and others still won't even confirm that they are actively wooing Boeing.
This state has been burned by Boeing before. In 2003, North Carolina was in the running to win Boeing's first assembly line for its 787 airplane. North Carolina promised $534 million in economic incentives and a site at Kinston's Global TransPark, but Boeing chose Everett, Wash., for the plant after Washington officials offered $3.2 billion in incentives.
During her visit to the Global TransPark, which Washington officials have named as the likely spot if Boeing were to pick North Carolina this time, Perdue avoided mentioning the company's name -- at least publicly. She stuck mostly to praise for the park in general and for officials' efforts to attract Spirit AeroSystems as its first major tenant.
"I have believed in the TransPark for a lot of years," said Perdue, who was a state lawmaker who helped push through legislation that created the park in 1991.
Boeing officials are expected to pick a new site later this year. Washington officials have mentioned rival sites in Kinston, South Carolina, Kansas, Texas and California.
Officials with the Global TransPark and N.C. Commerce Department will only say that they are working to bring in more aerospace companies.
"The governor is very serious about growing the defense and aerospace clusters in North Carolina," Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said in an earlier interview. "We are always interested in attracting those companies."