‘We need action’: Gov. Inslee’s State of the State address highlights lengthy to-do list in 2022

Jan 11, 2022, 12:21 PM
Gov. Jay Inslee, State of the State...
Gov. Jay Inslee delivering his 2022 State of the State address. (TVW)

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his annual “State of the State” address on Tuesday, covering a broad swathe of goals for 2022.

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Inslee pointed to the shorter legislative session that convened this week, where lawmakers will have a lengthy to-do list ahead of them. Among the legislation he’s prioritizing is a proposal to reduce Washington’s emissions through a multi-pronged approach.

“It is our state’s legal obligation to reduce emissions – but it is also practical, and most importantly it is a moral obligation,” he said, outlining to a plan to modernize building regulations for clean energy projects, make electric vehicles more affordable, and decarbonize homes and workplaces.

Gov. Inslee also pushed for urgent action on homelessness and housing affordability, pointing to $815 million on his supplemental budget to invest in “safe housing and to create more options for those struggling with housing availability.”

As a means to address housing affordability, he spoke to his proposed bill to allow the construction of townhomes, duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes — know more colloquially as “middle housing” — in areas within a half mile of transit stops in cities with populations over 20,000.

“We also have to realize we need more opportunities for everyone when it comes to housing,” he described. “We can’t get more housing if there’s nowhere to build it.”

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“We must pass legislation that removes antiquated barriers to middle housing options in our cities and provides more housing supply to make it available to all income levels,” he continued. “Look, we cannot tell our constituents we are fighting homelessness and yet not provide ways to build more housing. That means we must allow housing that meets the realities of our tremendous population and economic growth this century.”

Other key issues highlighted by Gov. Inslee in his address include the need to continue providing resources for schools amid rising COVID-19 cases, setting aside money and resources for the state’s salmon recovery efforts, and working on a transportation package focused on low-emission vehicles.

The overarching theme, though, boiled down to three words.

“We need action,” Inslee said. “We can wake up every morning the next 60 days understanding we need ‘action, this day,’ which was Churchill’s first order at the beginning of World War II, but it serves to focus on the many tasks before us.”

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‘We need action’: Gov. Inslee’s State of the State address highlights lengthy to-do list in 2022