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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Jay Inslee, the two-term governor of Washington State, has thrown his hat into the increasingly crowded field of hopefuls vying for the Democratic nomination for president.
Unlike most of his competitors, however, Inslee is staking his presidential campaign on a single issue: climate change.
It is certainly an area where Inslee can draw a bright line with incumbent Donald Trump.
Trump has denied the importance of climate change, at one point calling it a “Chinese hoax.”
He also has begun taking the steps to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, which are aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change.
Although, according to scientific consensus, climate change clearly is a significant issue for the United States to face, the question is whether voters will respond to a candidate, like Inslee, who makes it a campaign centerpiece.
“The science on this is abundantly clear. We have a very short period of time to act,” Inslee says. “Whether we shrink from this challenge or rise to it is the vital question of our time. And we know it is the 11th hour, but as we have shown time and time again throughout our nation’s history, this is our nation’s hour to shine. And I believe we will because of the urgency of the moment, the scope of the challenge. Because the economic growth opportunities inherent in clean energy are clear. And because no other issue touches so much of what we as a nation care most deeply about. And I am confident that we can do it.
“Climate change is no longer just a chart or a graph. It is right now, not in some distant future,” he adds.
Inslee is no stranger to living and dying, politically, on a single issue. In the 1990s, he was a freshman member of Congress. He voted for the Clinton-era assault weapons ban, knowing that it would likely cost him his seat.
It did. He regrouped in another area of Washington State and relaunched his political career.