Washington Governor Jay Inslee visits with Students
By Ryan Heath '22 | January 25, 2019
“We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last to be able to do something about it,” Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, said as he addressed students at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on Tuesday.
Inslee visited the Institute to discuss what he sees as both an urgent and unifying issue. He believes there is a window of about ten to twelve years in which humanity can act before it’s too late to stop a climate disaster.
According to Inslee, uniting around and defeating the issue of climate change is an opportunity to increase both environmental and economic justice, with the first victims of climate change likely to be the poor. Inslee often emphasized the work he’d done to create green jobs in his home state, in urban as well as rural areas.
The governor sees the climate change fight as the “greatest economic opportunity our country has in the next decades.” He hopes for a new, clean energy economy to provide an economic future for families.
Inslee expressed optimism at the ability of America to rally and succeed, citing the “can-do spirit” that allowed the nation to land a man on the moon within ten years of setting the goal. Between the 75% drop in solar energy prices and the increasing availability of electric cars within the last decade, Inslee sees plenty to be optimistic about, but believes there is still a long way to go. He has promised a 100% clean energy grid for his state this year and plans to increase incentives for purchasing electric cars and expand access to low-carbon public transportation.
“Victory is not optional...without victory, there is no survival,” the governor warned.
Inslee said he is committed to the marriage of environmental and economic justice, and believes the country is nearing a tipping point on the issue, just as his state has on the issues of paid family leave, minimum wage increases, and voting rights in the last few years.
When asked from whom he draws inspiration in his climate change fight, Inslee answered that he wants his grandchildren to have the chance to experience clean air and a great life.
The final question Inslee answered involved the 2020 presidential election. Though he said he’s not yet decided on whether to run himself, he promised to take the fight to the election regardless, whether as a candidate or as a citizen demanding that the fight be taken up by the eventual Democratic nominee.
Inslee said he expects to make his final decision on a presidential run within the next few weeks.