Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday he’s running for president, saying he will emphasize attempts to combat climate change during his bid for the Democratic nomination.
“I’m Jay Inslee and I’m running for president because I’m the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s Number 1 priority,” the 68-year-old governor said in a video announcing his candidacy. “We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we’re the last that can do something about it. Our country’s next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time: defeating climate change.”
A book Inslee wrote on the topic some 10 years ago, “Apollo’s Fire, ” argued for a clean energy program on the scale of President John F. Kennedy’s moon shot. He’s still pushing that message.
In the video released Friday, Inslee said combating climate change would create job growth.
“We have an opportunity to transform our economy, run on 100 percent clean energy,” he said. “That will bring millions of jobs to every community across America, and create a more just future for everyone.”
He has some reason to be optimistic that it will resonate. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from December found that 66 percent of Americans now say action is warranted on climate change, up from 51 percent two decades ago.
But it’s far from clear that voters will make the environment a priority on Election Day. Inslee lost a 2018 ballot initiative in his home state that would have imposed the nation’s first carbon fee on large polluters.
Climate change is not his only calling card for primary voters. As chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, he helped his party flip seven states blue in the 2018 midterms. Inslee has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump — Washington state brought suit against Trump’s initial travel ban, winning an injunction. He was also critical of President George W. Bush’s Iraq war when he served in Congress.