Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was the first governor to declare a 2020 run for the White House. Early on, Inslee pledged to make climate change his central focus.
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Out of the running: On Aug. 21, he announced on MSNBC that he was dropping out of the race, saying, “It’s become clear that I’m not going to be carrying the ball, but we’re going to make sure somebody is.”
Name: Jay Robert Inslee
Date of birth: Feb. 9, 1951
Family: Married to Trudi Inslee, father to three sons
Education: He earned a degree in economics at the University of Washington and attended law school at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
What he does now: He was elected Washington governor in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.
What he used to do: After graduating from law school, he worked as a city prosecutor in Selah, Washington, for 10 years. In 1988 he was elected to the Washington House of Representatives, where he served two terms. 1998-2012. He served in Congress from 1992 to 1994 and then again from 1998 to 2012, representing Washington’s 1st Congressional District.
Key life/career moments:
In 1996, Inslee made a failed bid for governor. After he lost in the primary, former President Bill Clinton chose him to serve as regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times/AP
Former President Bill Clinton and gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee speak at a fundraiser, Sept. 15, 2012, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
After losing his reelection bid, Inslee made his way back to Capitol Hill in 1998, representing Washington’s 1st Congressional District. He served on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and was re-elected to Congress six times before winning the 2012 governor’s race back in his home state.
During the 2018 election cycle, he served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
Where he stands on some of the issues:
Inslee emphasized the “existential threat” of climate change to the safety of the United States when he officially announced his candidacy for president.
“We went to the moon, and created technologies that have changed the world,” Inslee said in his announcement video. “Our country’s next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time: defeating climate change.”
Inslee made combatting climate change the singular issue of his campaign.
“We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it,” Inslee said. “This is the 11th hour to defeat climate change.”
(MORE: With a focus on climate change, Washington Gov. Inslee enters 2020 presidential race)
Inslee isn’t just betting on support from environmentalists or climate hawks. He is making the argument that climate change is connected to a host of policy challenges facing the country, from health care to national security to racial justice.
“We know climate change is as much a matter of equity as it is a matter of ecology,” Inslee said during his announcement speech. “It is the communities of color that suffer from climate change first and worst.”
(MORE: Enter headline of content here)
Phase three of his climate agenda focused on the global stage — and is looking to reimagine American foreign policy through the lens of combating climate change. He detailed his policy during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, on World Environment Day, also timed close to the anniversary of President Donald Trump pulling America out of the Paris Climate Accord.
This phase of his plan focuses on rejoining and expanding several commitments the U.S. has previously made in the international arena, including the Paris Accord – additionally, phasing out coal, and advancing international efforts to slash super pollutants like methane and black carbon.
Inslee also emphasizes studying the impact and treating the cause of climate migration including pledging to increase the number of refugees resettled by the U.S.; including enforceable climate and labor standards for new trade agreements; doubling the investment the U.S. will make in the Global Climate fund previously pledged by the Obama Administration, which President Trump’s pulled out of; cutting fossil fuel subsidies as well as considering targeting climate deniers overseas with anti-corruption laws.
(MORE: 2020 Democratic candidates move to the left, become more progressive as climate change emerges as campaign issue)
Rachel La Corte/AP
Gov. Jay Inslee talks to reporters about ongoing budget negotiations, in Olympia, Wash., June 27, 2017.
Inslee, who was the only governor to reach the individual contributor threshold to qualify for the first debate in June, again outraised other governors in the race, according to the campaign. He brought in more than $3 million in the second quarter of this year. Inslee’s second quarter haul came from 96,000 donations with an average of $32, the campaign announced.
“Governor Inslee’s grassroots campaign for climate action is building momentum at the right time,” Inslee’s deputy campaign manager Ben Unger said in a statement to ABC News.
Inslee raised $2.25 million in the first quarter of this year.
(More: 5 major takeaways from recent 2020 fundraising figures)
(More: 5 takeaways from the 1st major fundraising reports of the 2020 presidential race)
What you may not know about him:
He writes and illustrates books for his three grandchildren.
Inslee met his wife, Trudi Inslee, in high school. They’ve been married since 1972.
Jim Bennett/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures
Former Vice President Al Gore and Governor of Washington Jay Inslee attend a special screening of "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" at SIFF Cinema, July 30, 2017, in Seattle.
Before attending the University of Washington, Inslee dropped out of Stanford University because he was unable to obtain a scholarship.
He’s friends with former Vice President and fellow climate change activist Al Gore. The two met in the 1990s. Gore told The Atlantic, he’s “eager to see Inslee’s candidacy.”
He was one of the few Democrats who chose to run televised advertisements during the 1998 election cycle against the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
While in Congress, his net worth ranked 302nd in the House of Representatives, according to OpenSecrets.
He has said he supports getting rid of the filibuster if elected president.