We Need Inslee

Why The Democratic Candidate You Have Probably Never Heard of Matters

Climate change is the greatest existential threat this country and, indeed, the world has ever faced. Trillions of dollars in lost economic productivity, hundreds of millions of climate refugees, coastal cities underwater, islands wiped out; this is the future we face. I wish I were hyperbolizing, but I’m not – just read the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report. We need to mobilize a force unparalleled in human history to confront it, and right now the only person for the job is the Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee.

You have probably never heard of him. Mainstream news sources are ignoring him in favor of Buttigieg or Biden, liberal sources are focused on Bernie and Warren, and let’s be real, not many at Hotchkiss are reading Democracy Now! or The Nation. That and few people outside of the Pacific Northwest would know of him anyway. However, he’s served for 15 years in Congress representing the state of Washington, is currently serving his second term as Washington’s governor, and is running as a candidate in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary.

Since his earliest days in Congress, Governor Inslee has been a major advocate of the environment, recognizing the threat climate change poses to all of us. He lost his first reelection bid largely because of his vote for the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in 1994. Back in 2002, he called for massive investment on the scale of the Apollo program and Manhattan project to combat climate change – something many of us might now think of as a Green New Deal. During his tenure, he also opposed the Iraq War, opposed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and argued for the importance of net neutrality well before it was imperiled by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

His record as Governor is even more impressive. In 2014, he issued a moratorium on the death penalty, citing its disproportionate impact on minority communities, history of taking the lives of innocent people, and absurd costs. He was one of the first to challenge the Trump administration’s travel ban in Washington v. Trump, has enacted some of the nation’s strictest gun control legislation, supported the legalization of marijuana, expedited the pardon process for people with marijuana-related convictions, and, just recently, enacted what so many people desperately need – the first public healthcare option in the nation, allowing all Washingtonians to be covered by a state-sponsored plan with cheaper premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. Under his watch, Washington’s economy has flourished, growing faster than that of any other state in the union and being named the best state in America by U.S. News and World and Report. The Resistance against the Trump administration is alive and well in Washington, and it is showing the country that being liberal and prosperous are not mutually exclusive but intrinsically linked.

Governor Inslee challenging President Trump on arming teachers

If you are looking for someone who knows how to get things done, who knows what the American people need, Here. You. Go. President Trump has demonstrated quite elegantly that we need someone with experience in government to lead said government. While the Democratic field is dominated by senator upon senator, congressional representative upon congressional representative, the presidency is an executive office. Your constituency is not one small district but the entire nation; you do not get to simply stand up to power and then not follow through; you need to work with the legislative branch and actually work to better people’s lives. No one understands that better than a governor, and as of right now, Inslee is one of only three governors running in the entire Democratic field.

What truly separates him from the rest of the field, however, is the strength of his climate policies. His record on the environment speaks for itself; he has helped Washington’s renewable energy sector to explode in recent years, due to state’s Clean Energy Fund. His plans for the nation as a whole are even more robust, even more detailed, and exactly what we need. His Evergreen Economy Plan is a ten-year, nine trillion dollar public investment program that will create eight million new, clean-energy jobs in urban and rural America, strengthen unions, strengthen workers’ benefits, and transition the U.S.’s economy to being carbon-neutral in line with the IPCC’s recommendations.

We already know that government investment in infrastructure greatly boosts the economy, we know that climate change will end up wrecking tens of trillions of dollars in damages and lost economic productivity by the end of the century. No other candidate has a plan like his, and no one else will, because no one else is focusing on climate change like Governor Inslee. Climate change is already a top priority for Democratic voters, with a CNN poll finding that 82% of registered Democrats think it is very important, We just need to show them who Governor Jay Inslee is and that he is deserving of their vote.

Governor Jay Inslee touring the damage of the Woolsey fire in California


Some might say that we need a more well-known candidate to beat President Trump and that we should prioritize electability over ideology and policy. But when our world’s future hangs in the balance, we cannot settle for someone who will not dedicate every waking moment to combating climate change. President Carter and President Clinton, both governors from smaller states, both relatively unknown at the beginning of the Democratic primaries, won not only the nominations but the presidency because they had transformational visions of what the U.S. could become. Inslee’s victory is only unlikely if you convince yourself it is.

I simply ask that you give his candidacy a look and tell me if you do not want his vision of the U.S. to be the future we all share.