About Governor's Messages
Governor's messages give researchers information about issues facing state government over more than 150 years along with the governor's plans for dealing with those issues. They include transcriptions of inaugural addresses and biennial messages to the legislature by the governor dating from 1844 to 2001. The messages are available from each governor's page on the governor's list and are searchable.
The topics include government finances, education, and public welfare, transportation, state buildings and the environment. For example, an 1880 message from Governor Thayer includes an appeal for providing a "hatchery" house for salmon along the Columbia River. Some subjects, such as recurring debates over prison labor, started in the 1800s and continue today. Taxation, with all of its attendant forms and frustrations, figures prominently in the messages over the decades.
The messages also include comments or observations on major national and regional events, such as the various Indian wars, the Civil War,
and economic conditions. They are particularly useful for researchers tracing the development of many state institutions and programs. Some of the biennial messages contain reports of work completed or accomplishments since the previous biennium.