Updated Aug 22, 2019

Jay Inslee on the issues, in under 500 words

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

Editor's note: Inslee dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination on Aug. 21, 2019. Below is our original article on his candidacy.

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, is a Democrat who has made climate change the key issue of his 2020 campaign. He released a $9 trillion climate 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 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: Inslee wants to wean the U.S. off its reliance on coal, oil and gas. In May, Inslee revealed his "100 Percent Clean Energy for American Plan," a $9 trillion collection of climate-change policies including the closure of coal-fired power plants within 10 years; requirement that all electricity be "carbon neutral" by 2030; all new cars and light trucks be "emissions-free by 2030"; and a "Zero-Carbon Building Standard," by 2030.
  • Green New Deal: Inslee emphasizes the private sector over 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 signals he's closer to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's reformist view of capitalism than the democratic socialism of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
  • Gun control: In 1994, Inslee voted in favor of federal legislation banning the manufacture, sale and possession of combat-style assault weapons, a stance that likely cost him his House seat in 1995, CNBC reports. He said 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,” Inslee said.
  • Vaccinations: 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: Proposes "restoring foreign assistance aid to Northern Triangle countries" to "achiev[e] historic levels of refugee admissions to the United States" by "exceeding the target of 110,000 refugee resettlements" set by the Obama administration. Also wants to stop Trump's border wall and end the Muslim travel ban.
  • Education: Would use education to help combat climate change, boostin efforts in STEM in hopes of reaching clean energy goals, according to The Hill.
  • Environment: Signed a bill into law that makes Washington the first in state to legalize human composting.
Key criticisms of Jay Inslee:
  • Anonymity: Inslee isn't a nationally recognized name in a very crowded Democratic field.
  • Age: A 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.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

Go deeper

Jay Inslee withdraws from 2020 presidential race

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks with reporters at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 10 in Des Moines. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday that he is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race.

Why it matters: Inslee was a longshot for the Democratic nomination, but his focus on climate change has helped elevate the issue to a degree unseen in prior cycles. He was the driving force behind what’s now a wider — though still unsuccessful — campaign for the Democratic National Committee to hold a debate on the topic. Inslee hit the donor threshold to qualify for September's Democratic debates, but did not meet the minimum polling requirements.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 22, 2019

Jay Inslee seeks third term as Washington governor

Gov. Jay Inslee. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Just 1 day after dropping out of the 2020 presidential race, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that he will be seeking a third term as Washington's governor.

What he's saying: "I want to continue to stand with you in opposing Donald Trump and rejecting his hurtful and divisive agenda, while strengthening and enhancing Washington state's role as a progressive beacon for the nation," Inslee wrote in a statement.

Go deeperArrowAug 22, 2019

Bernie Sanders launches $16 trillion climate change plan

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a news conference on climate legislation on Capitol Hill in April. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders is going big on Thursday with the announcement of a $16.3 trillion energy and climate change plan.

Why it matters: The Vermont senator is battling Elizabeth Warren for 2nd place in the Democratic race behind Joe Biden, and polls show global warming is among the top priorities for the party's primary voters.

Meanwhile, the news comes as Jay Inslee, who offered a lot of climate and energy policy ideas that could be mined by other presidential hopefuls, is ending his White House run.

Go deeperArrowAug 22, 2019