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Jay Inslee on the issues, in under 500 words

Gov. Jay Inslee holding a microphone
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, is a Democratic 2020 presidential candidate who plans to make climate change the key issue of his campaign. He released a $9 trillion plan in May largely centered on greening the economy with job incentives.

Key facts about Jay Inslee:

  • Current position: Governor of Washington — 9 years served. Chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
  • Age: 68
  • Born: Seattle, Washington
  • Undergraduate: Stanford University, University of Washington
  • Date candidacy announced: March 1, 2019
  • Previous roles: House of Representatives (1993-1995, 1999-2012), Washington House of Representatives (1989-1993)

Jay Inslee's stance on key issues:

  • Climate change: In early May, Inslee revealed his sweeping "100 Percent Clean Energy for American Plan," a $9 trillion collection of climate-change policies ranging from the closure of all coal-fired power plants within 10 years; requirement that all electricity be "carbon neutral" by 2030; mandates for all new car and light trucks to be "emissions-free by 2030"; and a "Zero-Carbon Building Standard," to be implemented by 2030.
  • Green New Deal: Inslee places more emphasis on the role of the private sector than some GND advocates, although he praises the concept. Inslee told the Washington Post he "welcomes" the GND, but says it's not endorsable since it's not yet an actual policy.
  • Capitalism: Inslee is signaling the ways in which he's closer to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's reformist view of capitalism than to the democratic socialism of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
  • Gun control: In 1994, Inslee voted in favor of federal legislation that banned the manufacture, sale and possession of combat-style assault weapons, a stance that probably cost him his House seat in 1995, CNBC reports. Today, he still has strong views on gun control — touting that his state stands up for "common sense gun safety reforms."
  • Senate filibuster: "I don't believe you can really be serious about saying you are going to defeat climate change unless you realize that we need to have the filibuster go the way of history,” he told reporters.
  • Vaccinations: Inslee declared a state of emergency in January after the anti-vaccination wave contributed to cases of measles, causing what he called a "public disaster."
  • Immigration: Inslee proposes "restoring foreign assistance aid to Northern Triangle countries," in hopes of "achieving historic levels of refugee admissions to the United States" by "exceeding the target of 110,000 refugee resettlements" set by the Obama administration, and ending Trump's border wall and the Muslim travel ban.

Key criticisms of Jay Inslee:

  • Anonymity: Inslee isn't a nationally recognized name in a very crowded Democratic field.
  • Age: A recent poll found 43 of Iowa's 76 Democratic county party leaders say they want a young candidate to be their nominee.

1 fun thing about Jay Inslee:

  • In 2009, Inslee played in a series of basketball games at the White House against President Obama and members of his administration.

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