Washington Governor Jay Inslee is the featured speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame celebration dinner tomorrow night. Nearly every national Democrat coming to Iowa is automatically assumed to be a potential 2020 presidential candidate. However, Inslee as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), is focusing on electing Democratic Governors in 2018.
In a recent interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Inslee answered a question about his presidential aspirations.
“Well, I am interested in winning in 2018,” Inslee said. “We can’t wait till 2020 to rein in this train of abuses.”
As the chair of DGA, Inslee will play an essential role in fundraising to elect Democratic gubernatorial candidates. Perhaps more importantly, Inslee will be a key national Democratic spokesman in countering the Trump regime’s dishonest narrative.
Inslee immediately raised his national profile following Trump’s election by challenging one of Trump’s executive orders. Inslee and his Washington State Attorney General successfully blocked one of Trump’s first racist executive orders, the Muslim travel ban.
Recall Trump’s tweet threat to Inslee when Washington State filed suit to bar the travel ban. Trump tweeted he would, “SEE YOU IN COURT.”
Inslee won in court and thwarted Trump’s travel ban. The Governor told CNN, “He got thumped … We just saw him in court. He lost.”
Inslee’s passionate response and win over Trump’s travel ban is just the fiery action Democrats desperately want in their leaders in 2018 and beyond.
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, described Inslee as “a smart and articulate voice against Trump… his profile is definitely getting raised in the party … Anyone leading the resistance is going to be a household name.”
Inslee’s home state media continues to speculate about his 2020 presidential ambitions as he increases his national visibility by taking on Trump. A May 3rd Seattle Times headline quotes a 2017 CNN ranking placing Inslee among 22 potential Democratic presidential candidates.
Inslee, as head of the DGA, will likely be judged by his success in electing Democratic Governors. If Fred Hubbell is successful in ousting Reynolds and other Democratic governors win, Inslee’s stature will likely rise. With 36 national gubernatorial races at stake, his success or failure will determine his viability for future office. Democrats currently hold the governor’s office in only 16 states.
The 2020 nationwide 10-year census will determine if states receive proper representation in Congress and their fair share of federal funding for health care, education, transportation and foster care. Having a Democratic governor and Democratic-controlled legislature in 2020 will determine whether states have fair redistricting and prevent further gerrymandering. The pressure will be on Inslee to flip as many Republican Governors as possible.
Governor Inslee was chosen to chair the DGA for 2018 after serving as vice-chair and fundraising chair in 2014. He was elected to his second term as governor last year but he has a long and distinguished record of political experience. He served in the Washington state legislature as well as 14 years in the U.S. Congress.
Inslee has established an outstanding record on progressive issues. The IDP highlighted a number in their Hall of Fame press release.
“Under Governor Jay Inslee’s leadership, Washington state has been a beacon of progress for the nation, expanding access to voting rights, taking steps to reduce gun violence, providing paid sick and the best paid family leave policies in the nation and raising the minimum wage, all while having the strongest state economy in the nation.”
One issue the IDP didn’t mention is Inslee’s leadership as a warrior on climate change. Under Inslee, Washington State joined the national Climate Alliance along with 16 other states. The mission of the Climate Alliance is to support the climate goals of the Paris Climate Agreement which Trump trashed. Inslee has championed the game changing carbon tax and nearly passed it in Washington in 2018.
“Climate change used to be an abstraction. It used to be a graph,” Inslee said. “Now we’re seeing biblical events play out on the 6 o’clock evening news … I believe it is a successful and winning issue.”
Welcome, Governor, to the IDP Hall of Fame celebration.
by Rick Smith