Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer
On March 1, one of Washington’s own announced his campaign for presidency in the 2020 election. Governor Jay Inslee made the announcement via a 2 minute and 20-second video posted on Twitter. Jay Inslee is running on a platform centered on combating climate change. “I’m running for president because I am the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s number one priority,” he stated in the video.
An additional reason behind his decision to base his platform on such a topic is because “…we are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change. And we are the last that can do something about it. We can do this. Join our movement. This is our moment.” At the end of the announcement video, voters were seen showing their support by repeating, “Our moment.” Among those supporters was Bill Nye, popularly known as “Bill Nye the Science Guy” who became famous thanks to his science talks, which heavily discuss climate change. Inslee’s decision to focus on this central rationale of climate change stems from his personal history of environmental activism. According to The Atlantic, Inslee believes that his focus on climate change will “solve two existential threats to American opportunities right now: one being natural systems, and the other, economic systems”. Solving these two problems, he says, will enviably create job opportunities, and will help combat climate change to better our world for future generations.
Before his announcement of candidacy, Inslee has been a part of various political roles over the years. He started his political career in 1989, when he was elected into the Washington State House of Representatives. Just two years after, he was elected into the United States House of Representatives, but lost re-election because of the Republican Revolution at the time. In 1998, he ran for Congress, and held that position until he ran for Governor of Washington in 2012, which he has held since. He also served as the chairman for the Democratic Governors Association in 2018.
During his tenure as governor, Inslee has raised the minimum wage to $12 statewide. He also passed paid family leave law, and enacted a temporary ban on the death penalty in the state. In addition, he has also aimed to make Washington a more carbon neutral state. One of these efforts is “investing in a statewide fund that looks to help business’ go green in Washington,” said CNN Politics. Despite these efforts, Inslee failed to enact a statewide carbon tax in 2018, which was rejected by the voters, and would have made a tax of $15 per each metric ton of carbon emissions possible. It also would have “made Washington the first state in the nation to raise the cost of fossil-fuel-intensive activities,” said CNN Politics.
Will a focus on climate change be enough to win Inslee the presidency? If he were to be elected, Inslee told The Atlantic that his first priority is global warming. “I plan to focus on the threat that climate change poses to the environment and national security—the mega-storms and fires causing millions in damages, the weather changes that will cause mass migrations, the droughts that will devastate farmers in America and around the world.” We will have to see how this election turns out as the candidates keep racking up. Inslee is just one of 15 potential candidates, 12 of whom are fellow Democrats, and the list just keeps growing.