Politics & Government

Lt. Gov. Owen heading to China for brief trade mission; schools chief Dorn also going to Shantou

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is leaving Olympia early Thursday for a six-day trade trip to Shantou, China, that includes participation by state schools chief Randy Dorn and a few other state educators.

“This mission continues our state’s efforts to build stronger business, friendship and cultural ties with the Pacific Rim,” Owen said in his travel blog. He said his costs are being covered by the Seattle-based Washington State Day in Shantou Committee.

The trip is the third such “Washington Day” event in China since 2005 to promote Washington exports, according to the lieutenant governor’s office. The event is co-organized by Jeffrey Pang, who is a former chairman of the Kent-Yangzhou Sister City Committee, and May Wan, a Seattle-area businesswoman. Shantou is a city in southeastern China.

Owen is scheduled to give opening remarks for the weekend event in Shantou along with Shantou Mayor Zhen Renhao. Also participating are Tan Tho Tien, president of the Seattle-Shantou Chamber of Commerce, and Paul Baldwin, described as chief of the outreach unit of the U.S. Consulate in Shantou.

Two representatives of the Washington State School Directors Association are also going, executive director Allen Burke and president Mari Taylor, along Washington Association of School Administrators’ executive director Bill Keim. Burke is to present an overview of Washington’s education system. The group plans tours of local schools and Shantou University.

Kailee Dunn, who is Miss Washington, also is attending and speaking about Washington agricultural products on Sunday,

Owen, a Democrat in his fifth term, is making his third international trip this year and 29th trade or good will mission since taking office in 1997, according to his web site. He starts on his way home Tuesday.