Jay Robert Inslee (//; born February 9, 1951) is an American politician, author, and attorney serving as the 23rd governor of Washington. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Before being elected governor, Inslee served as a member of the United States House of Representatives and the Washington House of Representatives. Inslee is formally exploring a run for the Democratic nomination for President in the 2020 election.
|23rd Governor of Washington|
|Assumed office |
January 16, 2013
|Preceded by||Christine Gregoire|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Washington's 1st district
January 3, 1999 – March 20, 2012
|Preceded by||Rick White|
|Succeeded by||Suzan DelBene|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Washington's 4th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Sid Morrison|
|Succeeded by||Doc Hastings|
|Member of the Washington House of Representatives|
from the 14th legislative district
January 9, 1989 – January 11, 1993
|Preceded by||Jim Lewis|
|Succeeded by||Dave Lemmon|
Jay Robert Inslee
February 9, 1951
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Trudi Inslee (m. 1972)
University of Washington (BA)
Willamette University (JD)
Raised in Seattle, Inslee graduated from the University of Washington and Willamette University College of Law. A politically active student, he became a criminal prosecutor after graduation. He served in the Washington House of Representatives from 1989 to 1993. In 1992, Inslee was elected to represent Washington's 4th congressional district, based around Central Washington, in the United States House of Representatives. Defeated for reelection in 1994, Inslee briefly returned to private legal practice. He made his first run for governor of Washington in 1996, coming in fifth in the blanket primary ahead of the general election, which was won by Democrat Gary Locke. Inslee then served as regional director for the United States Department of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton.
Inslee returned to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999, this time for Washington's 1st congressional district. The new district included Seattle's northern suburbs in King County, Snohomish County and Kitsap County. He was reelected six times before announcing that he would make another run for governor in the 2012 election. He resigned from Congress to focus on his campaign. He defeated Republican Rob McKenna, the Attorney General of Washington. Inslee was reelected to a second term in 2016, defeating Republican Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant, 54% to 46%. Inslee served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association for the 2018 election cycle.
As governor, Inslee has emphasized climate change, education and drug policy reform. He garnered national attention for his critiques of President Donald Trump. Inslee, State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and State Solicitor General Noah Purcell sued the Trump Administration over Executive Order 13769, which halted travel for 90 days from seven Muslim-majority countries and imposed a total ban on Syrian refugees entering the United States. The case led to the order being blocked by the courts and it was later superseded by other executive orders. His outspokenness on climate change issues and public opposition to Trump have led to speculation he would run for president in 2020.
Early life, education, and legal careerEdit
Jay Robert Inslee was born February 9, 1951 in Seattle, Washington, the oldest of three sons of Adele A. (née Brown; d. 2007) and Frank E. Inslee (1926-2014). His mother worked as a sales clerk at Sears. His father was a well-known high school counselor and football coach, teaching at Tenino High School, Garfield High School and Chief Sealth High School. Frank Inslee later became the athletic director for Seattle Public Schools. Jay is a fifth-generation Washingtonian.
In 1969 Inslee graduated from Seattle's Ingraham High School, where he was an honor-roll student and star athlete. He led his high school basketball team to a state championship title his senior year, and also played football. Inslee's interest in environmental issues originated at an early age, with his parents leading groups of high school students on trips cleaning Mount Rainier. He met his future wife, Trudi, at Ingraham during his sophomore year. Graduating at the height of the Vietnam War, Inslee received student deferments from the draft.
Inslee's collegiate career began at Stanford University, where he initially intended to study medicine. After a year he was forced to drop out because he was unable to get a scholarship. He returned home and, living in his parents' basement, attended the University of Washington. He graduated with a B.A. in economics in 1973. He then attended Willamette University School of Law, graduating in 1976.
Jay and Trudi were married on August 27, 1972, and have three sons. After Inslee finished law school, they moved to Selah, Washington. Inslee joined the law firm Peters, Schmalz, Leadon & Fowler, working as a city prosecutor. He practiced in Selah for 10 years. He first became politically active in 1985, while advocating for the construction of a new high school. That experience sparked Inslee's interest in politics, emboldening him to run for political office.
Washington House of Representatives (1989–1993)Edit
Inslee ran for the Washington House of Representatives in 1988 after incumbent Republican State Representative Jim Lewis resigned to become a political commentator at a Yakima television station. Inslee's campaign faced an uphill battle because of his ideology and his opponent's strength. Lynn Carmichael, the former mayor of Yakima, was considered the front-runner. Inslee also struggled to balance his more progressive ideology with the conservative leanings of Central Washington. He emphasized his legal experience supporting local average people, farms and businesses. The Washington State Trial Lawyers Association became Inslee's biggest contributor. Inslee attempted to appeal to voters by emphasizing his rural upbringing.
When presented with a potential state budget surplus, Inslee called for a tax cut for the middle class, which Carmichael called irresponsible. Inslee claimed Carmichael had supported a sales tax, which she denied. Inslee was an energetic and active campaigner, benefiting from retail politics.
In the blanket primary, Carmichael ranked first with 43% and Inslee ranked second with 40%. Republican Glen Blomgren ranked third with 17%. In the general election, Inslee defeated Carmichael 52%-48%. In 1990, Inslee was reelected with 62% of the vote.
In the Washington state legislature, Inslee pursued a bill to provide initial funding to build five branch campuses of the Washington State University system. Although the bill failed, Inslee's tenacity made an impression on House Speaker Joe King, who said: "He's not afraid to incur the wrath of the speaker or the caucus." In 1991, Inslee voted for a state energy policy that required the state to devise a cost-effective energy strategy and state agencies and school districts to pursue and maintain energy-efficient operation of their facilities.
U.S. House of Representatives (1993–1995)Edit
- In 1992, Inslee was elected to the United States Congress representing Washington's 4th congressional district in the central-eastern part of the state. His home area of the district, anchored by Yakima, is relatively rural and agriculture-based, while the southeastern part of his district is more focused on research and nuclear waste disposal, anchored by the Tri-Cities.
- He lost his bid for reelection in the Republican Revolution of 1994 in a rematch against his 1992 opponent, Doc Hastings. Inslee attributed his 1994 defeat in large part to his vote for the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.
In Congress Inslee passed the Yakima River Enhancement Act, a bill long held up in Congress, by brokering a breakthrough with irrigators and wildlife advocates. He also helped to open Japanese markets to American apples and to fund and oversee the nation's biggest nuclear waste site at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Washington.
Inter-congressional years (1995–1999)Edit
1996 gubernatorial electionEdit
He ran for governor of Washington in 1996 and lost in the blanket primary. Democratic King County Executive and former State Representative Gary Locke ranked first with 24% of the vote. Democratic Mayor of Seattle Norm Rice ranked second with 18%, but didn't qualify for the general election. Republican State Senator Ellen Craswell ranked third with 15%, and became the Republican candidate in the general election. Republican State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Dale Foreman ranked fourth with 13%. Inslee ranked fifth with 10%. No other candidate on the ballot received double digits.
After Inslee's failed 1996 bid for governor of Washington, President of the United States Bill Clinton appointed him regional director for the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
U.S. House of Representatives (1999–2012)Edit
Inslee ran again for Congress in 1998, this time in the 1st congressional district against two-term incumbent Rick White. His campaign attracted national attention when he became the first Democratic candidate to air television ads attacking his opponent and the Republican congressional leadership for the Lewinsky scandal. Inslee won with 49.8% of the vote to White's 44.1%; he had an unintentional assist in his successful return by the conservative third-party candidacy of Bruce Craswell, husband of 1996 GOP gubernatorial nominee Ellen Craswell.
The 1st was a swing district for most of the 1990s; Inslee's win marked the third time the district had changed hands in four elections. But Inslee was a major beneficiary of the recent Democratic trend in the Seattle area. He defeated Washington Senate Minority Leader Dan McDonald in 2000 with 54.6% of the vote. In 2002 Inslee defeated former state representative Joe Marine with 55.6% of the vote after the district was made more Democratic by redistricting. He never faced another contest that close, and was reelected three more times with over 60 percent of the vote.
During the 2009-10 campaign cycle, Inslee raised $1,140,025. In data compiled for the period 2005 to 2007 and excluding individual contributions of less than $200, 64 percent of Inslee's donations were from outside the state of Washington and 86 percent came from outside his district (compared to 79 percent for the average House member). 43 percent of Inslee's donations came from Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. The largest interests funding Inslee's campaign were pharmaceutical and health-related companies, lawyers and law firms, and high-tech companies.
Inslee was awarded a "Friend of the National Parks" award by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) in 2001 for his support of legislation protecting the integrity and quality of the National Park System.
Inslee was "one of Congress's most ardent advocates of strong action to combat global warming," according to The New York Times. He was the first public figure to propose an Apollo-like energy program, in an opinion editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on December 19, 2002, and in a series of similar pieces in other publications. Inslee co-authored Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy, in which he argues that through improved federal policies the United States can wean itself off foreign oil and fossil fuel, create millions of green-collar jobs, and stop global warming. He has been a prominent supporter of the Apollo Alliance. Inslee strongly believes the Environmental Protection Agency should remain authorized to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In a 2011 House hearing on the Energy Tax Prevention Act, he said Republicans have "an allergy to science and scientists" during a discussion of whether the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act should remain in place following a controversial court finding on the issue.
Inslee was an outspoken critic of the George W. Bush administration's 2003 invasion of Iraq. On July 31, 2007, he introduced legislation calling for an inquiry to determine whether then United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be impeached. Gonzales eventually resigned.
Still an avid basketball player and fan, Inslee identified a member of "Hoopaholics", a charity group dedicated to "treatment of old guys addicted to basketball and who can no longer jump", as Inslee has often joked. In October 2009, he played basketball at the White House in a series of games featuring members of Congress on one team and members of the administration, including President Obama, on the other.
In 2011, Inslee voted in favor of authorizing the use of U.S. armed forces in the 2011 Libyan civil war and against limiting the use of funds to support NATO's 2011 military intervention in Libya.
On March 20, 2012, Inslee left Congress to focus on his campaign for governor of Washington.
- United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Congressional Friends of Animals Caucus
- Congressional Internet Caucus
- House Medicare and Medicaid Fairness Caucus
- House Oceans Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- Congressional Arts Caucus
- Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition
Governor of Washington (2013–present)Edit
2012 gubernatorial electionEdit
On June 27, 2011, Inslee announced his candidacy for governor of Washington. His campaign focused on job creation, outlining dozens of proposals to increase job growth in clean energy, the aerospace industry, and biotechnology. He also supported a ballot measure to legalize gay marriage, which passed, and opposed tax increases. He won election by a three-point margin over his Republican opponent, Rob McKenna, with 51% of the vote.
2016 gubernatorial electionEdit
On November 8, 2016, Inslee was reelected governor of Washington, defeating Republican former Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant, 54–46%.
First term: 2013–2017Edit
During the 2013 session, the legislature failed to create a fiscal budget plan during the initial session, and Inslee was forced to call two special sessions in order to give time for a budget to be created. The Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House each passed its own budget and could not agree on one. Finally, in June 2013, Inslee signed a $33.6 billion budget to which both houses had agreed as a compromise.
In January 2014, Inslee gave a speech commending machinists who voted to renew Boeing's contract with Seattle, allowing the company to build its Boeing 777x aircraft in Seattle. Inslee said the contract would bring Washington to a new industrial plateau and be a turning point for Washington jobs:
These jobs are in the thousands and it is not only on the 777X, the first model of the 777X, but all the subsequent derivative models as well.
There have been too many doubts raised about capital punishment, there are too many flaws in this system today. There is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system.
Second term: 2017–presentEdit
Inslee began his second term in January 2017, proposing full funding of state education (in compliance with the McCleary decision) and addressing mental health needs while also raising worker pay. After newly inaugurated President Donald Trump on January 27 signed an executive order to ban entry from seven Muslim-majority countries, Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced their intention to sue Trump, alleging his order was unconstitutional. The civil action, Washington v. Trump, was filed on January 30 and on February 3 successfully earned a temporary restraining order to forbid federal enforcement of certain provisions of the order. An appeal and request to stay filed by the federal government was subsequently denied by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Inslee and Ferguson declared their victory over Trump on February 16, after his administration announced it would revise the travel ban to comply with the court decisions. Inslee garnered national media attention during the lawsuit.
During the 2017 legislative session, the Washington State Legislature failed to pass a state operating budget by the conclusion of their regular session on April 25. Therefore, Inslee called for a 30-day special session. The legislature failed to pass a budget during that session, forcing Inslee to call a third session, beginning June 22, 2017. As the state's financial year ends on June 30, there was fear of a partial government shutdown. Conflict over resource allocation between rural areas and urban areas was a major source of the conflict. The State Senate passed a budget at approximately 6:45pm on June 30 and Inslee signed the $43.7 into law shortly after 11:00pm. Specifics included in the budget were still being released several hours after it was signed into law. Lawmakers critiqued the haste at which the budget was considered and passed, having only received the 616-page document earlier that day. By the end of the third session on July 20, the legislature had still failed to pass a capital budget concerning long-term goals and improvements. This was the third time during Inslee's tenure the state's budget was passed within the last week of the legislative session.
In December 2017 Inslee awarded $6.4 million in grant funding for apprenticeships and career connections for 29,000 youth in 11 communities. He called this initiative Career Connect Washington. It includes a Task Force and several prominent stakeholder groups including Alaska Airline, Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, and Kaiser Permanente. As a result of Career Connect Washington, new apprenticeship opportunities have been established including the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee's registered Youth Apprenticeship program for high school students.
In December 2018, Inslee announced new legislation aimed at reducing the state's carbon emissions over a period of approximately two decades. It would require Washington utilities to effectively end the use of fossil fuels altogether by mid-century. It would make Washington "adopt a clean fuel standard", "promote electric and low-emission vehicles", and "provide incentives to renovate existing buildings to reduce" emissions.
In January 2019, Inslee said he would provide an expedited process for approximately 3,500 people convicted of small-time cannabis possession to apply for and receive pardons.
Potential 2020 presidential campaignEdit
Throughout 2018, speculation rose that Inslee was considering a run for President of the United States in the 2020 election. He garnered national attention because of Washington v. Trump, a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's order to ban entry from seven Muslim-majority countries. While serving as chair of the Democratic Governors Association during the 2018 gubernatorial elections, Inslee oversaw Democrats gaining seven net governorships nationwide, further propelling him into the national spotlight and fueling speculation that he would run. Inslee cited climate change as his primary motivation for running, strongly criticizing the Trump Administration's policies.
On January 2, 2019, it was reported that Inslee was beginning to form an exploratory committee, the first step in a campaign. Inslee would be a dark horse candidate; he has rarely been included in polling for the primary, is still not well known outside Washington and has made few trips to early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. But Inslee has pointed to former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, calling them "pretty much unknown governors of small states" and adding, "this is a wide-open field. No one has a lock on this. No one has a total crystal ball as to what the nation wants."
|Date||Position||Status||Opponent||Result||Vote share||Opponent vote share|
|1988||WA Representative||Open seat||Elected|
|1992||U.S. Representative||Open seat||Doc Hastings (R)||Elected||51%||49%|
|1994||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Doc Hastings (R)||Defeated||47%||53%|
|1996||WA Governor||Open seat primary||Gary Locke (D), others||Defeated||10%|
|1998||U.S. Representative||Challenger||Rick White (R)||Elected||50%||44%|
|2000||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Dan McDonald (R)||Re-elected||55%||43%|
|2002||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Joe Marine (R)||Re-elected||56%||41%|
|2004||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Randy Eastwood (R)||Re-elected||62%||36%|
|2006||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Larry W. Ishmael (R)||Re-elected||68%||32%|
|2008||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Larry W. Ishmael (R)||Re-elected||68%||32%|
|2010||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||James Watkins (R)||Re-elected||57%||43%|
|2012||WA Governor||Open seat||Rob McKenna (R)||Elected||51%||49%|
|2016||WA Governor||Incumbent||Bill Bryant (R)||Re-elected||54%||46%|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jay Inslee.|
- Governor Jay Inslee official government site
- Jay Inslee at Curlie
- Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN