Jay Inslee Is Running as “The Climate Guy”

June 11, 2019 by TWN Staff
Democratic presidential candidate and Governor of Washington Jay Inslee speaks about climate change at the Council on Foreign Relations, June 5, 2019 in New York City. Inslee has made the issue of combatting climate change the central platform of his campaign and has sharply criticized the Trump administration's lack of action on climate issues. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS) *FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY*

Candidate: Jay Inslee

State of Residence: Washington

Campaign Website: https://www.jayinslee.com

Democratic presidential candidate and Governor of Washington Jay Inslee speaks about climate change at the Council on Foreign Relations, June 5, 2019 in New York City. Inslee has made the issue of combatting climate change the central platform of his campaign and has sharply criticized the Trump administration’s lack of action on climate issues. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

Short Bio: Jay Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who has lived and worked in urban and rural communities on both sides of the state. He grew up in the Seattle area where his father, Frank, was a high school teacher and coach. His mother, Adele, worked as a sales clerk at Sears & Roebuck. Jay worked his way through college and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in economics before earning his law degree at Willamette University. He and his wife, Trudi, then moved to Selah, a small town near Yakima where they raised their three sons. Jay worked as an attorney and prosecutor.

Jay and Trudi are now the proud grandparents of three active grandchildren. Besides writing and illustrating books for his grandchildren and sketching scenes from around Washington, Jay is an avid cyclist and charter member of Hoopaholics, a youth basketball academy.

Jay first became involved in public service in 1985 when he and Trudi helped lead the effort to build a new public high school in Selah. Motivated to fight against proposed funding cuts for rural schools, Jay went on to represent the 14th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives. He continued serving communities in the Yakima Valley when he was elected to Congress in 1992. The Inslees later moved back to the Puget Sound area where Jay was elected to Congress in 1998, serving until 2012 when he was elected governor. He was re-elected in 2016.

During his time in Congress, Jay became known as a forward-thinking leader, especially on issues of clean energy and the environment. He co-wrote a book, “Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean-Energy Economy,” about a national program to fight climate change through clean energy innovation and job-creation.

As governor, Jay’s top priority is growing Washington’s innovative industries such as clean energy, information technology and life sciences, and strengthening existing industries such as aerospace, agriculture, maritime and the military. Since 2013, Washington has experienced a 30-year low in unemployment rates and record exports.

Under his leadership, Washington is consistently the only state that ranks as the best place to work and the best place to do business. Washington has one of the nation’s highest minimum wages, paid sick leave for all workers, a best-in-the-nation paid family leave program, some of the nation’s most rigorous clean air and water standards, and one of the highest union membership rates in the U.S.

Since Jay became governor in 2013, Washington state has expanded voter rights, provided affordable health care to 800,000 more Washingtonians, passed the Reproductive Parity Act, stood up to the president’s Muslim ban, protected LGBT Americans from discrimination, raised the minimum wage, passed historic investments in public schools and infrastructure, and created one of the best clean-energy economies in America. [Official Governor Bio]

Fun Fact: Inslee was the starting quarterback at Seattle’s Ingraham High School. [CNN]

On the Issues

Health Care: Move towards universal health care. Inslee backed the Affordable Care Act when it was up for a vote during his time in Congress. In 2013, as governor, he expanded Medicaid under the ACA in his state. Recently he introduced a public option health care plan to help stabilize the state’s health insurance exchange. Inslee said it would be an initial step toward creating universal health care in the state. [PBS]

Trade & Agriculture: Inslee opposes the Trump administration’s trade policies. He has said that “any punitive tariffs to the Asian markets are felt deeply” in the state of Washington. Inslee believes in a positive working relationship with trade partners and open access to foreign trade markets. [PBS]

Jobs/Economy/Taxes: Inslee supports increasing the minimum wage, which is currently $12 in Washington state and will rise to $13.50 in 2020. Inslee signed into law a guaranteed paid family leave plan in 2017, granting eligible parents 12 weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for a serious medical condition. He also signed an Equal Pay Opportunity Act that requires employees receive equal pay and work opportunities regardless of gender. [PBS]

Climate Change: Reverse climate change, lower carbon emissions, 100 percent clean energy. Inslee has long been a champion of climate change action and is making the issue the centerpiece of his presidential run. As a member of Congress, Inslee backed the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the House but ultimately failed in the Senate. As governor, Inslee pushed unsuccessfully for the nation’s first state-level carbon tax. He has also proposed lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035 and converting state ferries into electric hybrids, among other initiatives. “We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we’re the last who can do something about it,” Inslee said in his 2020 announcement video. [PBS]

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