Governor Jay Inslee said his campaign received “the biggest by far surge in donations” yet following the Democratic presidential debates last week. He believes it’s because his message about climate change is resonating with the American people.
Leading up to a speech at Des Moines’ Tower Park on Friday evening, Inslee told Starting Line he was glad to be in the agriculture state because it is “an epicenter to the peril of the climate crisis,” both in terms of the recent floods and farmers’ inability to get crops planted.
He also called the state an “epicenter of economic promise” because of the “tremendous opportunity for wind energy and biofuel energy.”
Inslee went on to spend a good portion of his hour-long event at Tower Park talking about issues related to the climate crisis, but that’s not necessarily what earned him applause from the crowd. Many appreciated his list of accomplishments while serving as the Governor of Washington State and in Congress.
For example, when Inslee was in the House in 1994, he voted to ban assault weapons.
“I knew if I voted to ban assault weapons I would probably lose my seat,” Inslee said. “I lost my seat, but I have never regretted that vote for one second. It was the right vote then, it’s the right vote now.”
He said he was very happy to go to the White House last February to “look Donald Trump in the eye and say your idea of arming teachers with glocks is idiotic. You need to do less tweeting and more listening to educators so we can make our kids happy to go to school again.”
The crowd also applauded for Inslee when he said he’s the governor of the state that has “the highest minimum wage in the United States,” and when he said he worked “to get the best teacher educator pay increase in the United States.”
He said Washington State has some “radical beliefs” in that “we believe women should be paid the same as men. We have the best gender equity laws in the United States.”
Inslee later noted the law he helped pass is one of the few in the nation that makes sure insurance companies cannot deny insurance coverage for reproductive health.
“We need to make this a federal law,” Inslee said.
Another line Democrats in Des Moines seemed to like was about automatically restoring felon voter rights, which is something Democrats and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds have been trying to accomplish here.
“I have not proposed a universal voting law on people in custody, but I do believe we should make it essentially automatic if you’re keeping your nose clean to restore voting rights before you leave custody,” Inslee said. “We want to get these people back into society, back into a job, back into their families. That’s important to reduce crime.”
The state of Washington has also “banned the box” in employment forms, making it easier for people with a criminal record to obtain a job and reintegrate into society.
Inslee did take the time to outline some of the finer points of his plan to combat climate change, which include:
- Phasing out coal-based electricity in the next ten years, which he said he believes is possible because solar energy costs have come down by 80 percent in the last decade
- Putting 8 million people to work by creating more energy efficient homes and businesses and by building new wind towers and installing solar panels.
- Stopping the sale of diesel and gasoline powered cars by 2031 because zero diesel and gasoline powered cars will be cost competitive.
- Eliminating fossil fuels from the electrical grid system by the middle of the next decade.
Inslee emphasized that these all have to be “legally binding requirements.”
by Paige Godden