2020 candidate Gov. Jay Inslee: The country is ready for a climate change president

Jul 30, 2019 | Salon.com, Vice President Biden

Is Governor Jay Inslee the only Democrat running for president who has the right ideas and experience to fight man-made climate change? His challenge now is getting people to forget about Amy Klobuchar’s memorable put-down at his expense during the last debate — and Salon spoke with him at length about both of those subjects.

The viral moment occurred after the Washington governor bragged about being the “only” candidate on the stage who had “passed a law protecting a woman’s right of reproductive health and health insurance.” Visibly laughing, Klobuchar shot back that “I just want to say, there’s three women up here [including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii] that have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose. So I’ll start with that.” The crowd went wild, not surprisingly, and Inslee seemed to have been humbled.

During our interview, he insisted that the Minnesota senator had wrongly interpreted his position.

“She misconstrued what I said. I said that I was singular in having passed the Reproductive Parity Act and that’s a truthful statement,” Inslee told Salon. After delving into his record on women’s health issues, he added that “there are a lot of people on that stage who have been super-champions for right of choice. Sen. Klobuchar is not one of them. She actually has taken some votes that are frankly not adequate to protecting a woman’s right of choice, and if you look at her record you will find that out.”

His campaign later told Salon that Klobuchar had opposed so-called “partial-birth abortions” except when the mother’s health or life is at risk, supported a Minnesota law requiring parents or a judge to give consent before a minor has an abortion, supported a ban on federal funding for abortions and supported the controversial Hyde Amendment.

It is important to note that Inslee’s campaign isn’t focused on reproductive rights but another issue, one that will literally impact the fate of the world — climate change. He has released a number of documents describing what he will do to address global warming, offering substantial detail, and argued that his willingness to offer concrete policies on this existential topic distinguishes him from every other Democrat in the race.

“I do believe that we need to get down to brass tacks and find out who’s got both the gumption and the vision and the willingness to take on the fossil fuel industry, and a plan that will actually do it,” Inslee told Salon. “And I think I’m unique in offering that to the Democratic Party. And I am willing to have that debate with any Democrat who falls short. And frankly I think there’s a lot of people who fall short in this.”

He argued that when it comes to climate change “we’ve got one first place winner and everybody else is tied for second. And we’ll talk more about that in the debate.”