Jay Inslee is the current Governor of Washington. He has a long history of political involvement on both the federal level and the state level in Washington. However, Inslee tends to be best-known in recent times because he is another one of the governors contending with the current COVID-19 crisis, which is in spite of the fact that he was one of the candidates for the Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidential election.
1. Has Deep Roots In His State
Inslee has deep roots in his state. For instance, he was born and raised in Seattle, where his father was a high school counselor who coached football while his mother was a sales clerk. Due to this, Inslee received his education in the state of Washington. On top of this, he can be considered a fifth-generation Washingtonian, which is impressive because the state didn't become a state until November 11 of 1889.
2. Wanted to Study Medicine
Initially, Inslee wanted to study medicine. In fact, he even managed to get into Stanford University for that precise purpose. Unfortunately, Inslee had to drop out after just a year's time because he wasn't able to secure a scholarship to cover his expenses. As a result, he returned home to his parents' basement for the purpose of studying economics at the University of Washington. After which, Inslee studied for a J.D. degree from the Williamette University School of Law.
3. Became Interested in Environmentalism At a Young Age
If people know anything about Inslee's political positions, chances are good that they know about his environmentalism. He became interested in environmentalism at a young age because his parents would lead entire groups of high school students to Mount Rainier for the purpose of clean-up. For those who are curious, it is a stratovolcano that is famous for being the highest mountain that can be found in the state of Washington. Besides that, Mount Rainier is considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes that can be found in the entire world, which is because it has enough glacial ice that it could produce mudflows big enough to threaten the entire Puyallup River valley in the event of an eruption.
4. Ran For Washington House of Representatives in 1988
In time, Inslee became interested in politics because of his support for the building of a new high school in Selah, WA where he was living. Due to this, he made the choice to run for the Washington House of Representatives in 1988, capitalizing upon the opportunity presented by the departure of an incumbent. He struggled to some extent because he was a progressive in conservative-leaning Central Washington, but he managed to win anyways by beating the front-runner. This is because Inslee was very energetic, thus enabling him to excel at retail politics.
5. Ran For U.S. House of Representatives in 1992
Later, Inslee went for the U.S. House of Representative when another incumbent decided against running for reelection. To secure said position, he had to secure not one but two hard-won victories because he had to become the Democratic nominee before running for the position in a conservative-leaning region. Having said that, Inslee didn't manage to remain too long in said position because he was one of the Democrats who lost their positions in the Republican Revolution of 1994.
6. Spent Some Time Outside of Politics
After the Republican Revolution, Inslee spent some time outside of politics by resuming his practice of law. However, it wasn't too long before he returned to it. First, Inslee ran for the Governor of Washington in 1996 but was eliminated in the blanket primary. Second, Inslee was named regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by President Bill Clinton.
7. Returned to the U.S. Congress
Soon enough, Inslee returned to the U.S. Congress where he would remain from 1999 to 2012, meaning that he was relected a total of six times. There, he became a vocal proponent of policies that combated climate change. Besides that, it is interesting to note that Inslee was an opponent of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 but a supporter of U.S. intervention in the Libyan Civil War in 2011. Eventually, Inslee departed from the U.S. Congress so that he could focus on a much more successful run for the Governor of Washington than his first try.
8. Has Supported Progressive Policies
Unsurprisingly, Inslee has supported progressive policies in his position as the Governor of Washington. For example, he supported a ballot measure to legalize gay marriage in his state, which happened well before the eventual Supreme Court decision. Likewise, he was one of the governors who sued to prevent President Donald Trump's ban on people from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States. In more recent times, Inslee has also implemented measures to make it easier for people convicted of small-time cannabis possession to receive pardons.
9. Ran For Democratic Nominee Because of Climate Change
Having said that, environmentalism remains very important to Inslee. This can be seen in how he ran for the position of the Democratic nominee for the upcoming U.S. presidential election with climate change being his most important motivation, which was spurred on by his opposition to the Trump administration's stance on the matter. Inslee recognized that he was a candidate with little name recognition outside of his state, but he decided to give it a shot anyways on the grounds that no one has a perfect understanding of what the nation wants.
10. Has Criticized the Federal Handling of the COVID-19 Crisis
Inslee is one of the governors who have criticized the Trump administration's handling of the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, he has taken aim at the lack of a national response because that means even if one state manages to get the situation under control, it can still see new cases because of another state's mishandling. Besides that, Inslee has also criticized everything from the lack of ventilators and the lack of testing kits to the federal refusal to order manufacturers to make the items needed to combat COVID-19.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson