Watch: Gov. Inslee officially announces presidential run
Along with a video and a media blitz, Governor Jay Inslee announced his campaign for president Friday morning.
“Now it is time for a nation to set a new priority so I am announcing today that I’m a candidate to become the next President of the United States,” Inslee said.
Friday morning began with a campaign announcement video, followed by a press conference at A&R Solar in Seattle. Inslee was introduced by Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby, Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, and Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. As expected, Inslee is making climate change the core focus of his campaign.
“Rather than divide us, as the president is want to do, let’s unite as Americans in this moment … we are going to win this because I know something about the American people and their character,” he said. “We are optimists. We are ‘can do’ people. We invent, we create, we build. Defeating climate change is just as much a matter of character as it is about science. Here’s what we know: Americans do not fear the world, we lead it; we do not fear a challenge, we embrace it; we do not fear the future, we build it.”
— Hanna Scott (@HannaKIROFM) March 1, 2019
Inslee joins 10 other Democrats in the 2020 primaries and becomes the first sitting governor to enter the race. As expected, he is making climate change a core focus of his campaign with the tag line “This is our moment.”
“America that can do big things, we put a man on the moon, we created the digital economy, now I am calling on America to engage in a new national mission,” Inslee said. “A mission to the fight climate change …. We have led the world to the Industrial Revolution, we have led the world in the information age, and we can do it again starting in 2020.”
Inslee’s video announcement earlier that morning ends with a collage of faces saying “This is our moment” — most notably and prominently placed in this collage is Bill Nye the Science Guy.
His website is already asking for donations and stating that he will not accept fossil fuel or corporate PAC money.
Inslee touched upon a range of issues other than climate change at his Friday morning event at A&R Solar. He said that marijuana should be legalized nationwide. He mentioned making education more affordable, giving raises to teachers, and providing paid family medical leave. Inslee also mentioned raising the minimum wage, investing in infrastructure, and protecting net neutrality.
“We’ve taken on the NRA (in Washington state),” Inslee said. “We’ve expanded background checks, we’ve protected victims of abuse, we’ve banned bump stocks and we’re not done, let’s ban assault weapons and take weapons of war off of our streets.”
But his climate change mission was the main message Friday, saying the mission will have four goals, including:
- Power the U.S. economy with 100 percent clean, renewable, and carbon-free energy; achieve net zero greenhouse gas pollution.
- Create millions of good-paying jobs in every community while investing in clean energy. Inslee said, “we are going to build electric cars in Michigan, we are going to build and install wind turbines in Iowa, and we are going to install solar right here in Washington state.
- Focus on justice and inclusion as a centerpiece of this economic transformation.
- End giveaways and billions in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
At Inslee’s event, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that he thinks
“I think Governor Inslee has a legitimate shot at this thing,” Ferguson said. “….He’s a governor, he’s the first governor in (the primary race), he leads a great state, so I think there’s a real possibility for him.”
Within minutes of Inslee’s video going live, social media began to respond.
The 2020 election will decide whether or not the US will lead the world in overcoming climate catastrophe. It’s good to know that a climate champion like @GovInslee will be in the race, pushing the country to recognize what is at stake.
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) March 1, 2019
A media blitz also hit within minutes of the announcement. Rolling Stone published a lengthy profile on Inslee and his climate change mission. Vox did the same with an interview on why he is running for president.
Washington Republicans criticized Inslee’s presidential ambitions on Thursday. Head of the Washington state GOP Caleb Heimlich said the governor should resign.
“Inslee should do the people of Washington a favor and resign, while he pursues this vanity run for the White House,” Heimlich said. “That way we can have a governor who actually cares about the needs of the people of this Washington.”
Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers questions Inslee’s record on environmental issues.
“Governor Inslee is trying to tear out dams along our Columbia-Snake River system,”she said. “The very dams that produce clean, renewable, reliable, affordable, hydro power.”
Inslee’s presidential ambitions
Rumors and hints of such a campaign have lingered over the past few months, but the governor has avoided giving a firm yes or no. KIRO 7’s Essex Porter reported Wednesday that Gov. Jay Insee plans to announce his run for presidency in 2020 on Friday in Seattle. An earlier report from The Seattle Times Wednesday cited rumblings from “multiple sources” that the governor will announce his campaign before the week is out.
The video announcement comes just two days after the governor appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports Monday, coming close to acknowledging he is running for president. Monday’s statement also wasn’t firm, but it was certainly more of an indication than in previous exchanges.
The Times’s own report references “multiple sources in Washington politics,” with his aides angling to have his focus on climate change help him stand out in what’s already a crowded field of Democratic candidates.
“I think you will see some announcement shortly about our intentions,” Inslee told MSNBC on Monday. “And I do believe this moment is ripe. The American people understand that the fires that burned down Paradise, California, the floods, it’s time for action.”