New Washington Gov Talks Gun Violence, Climate Change In Address

By Austin Jenkins

In his inaugural address, Washington Governor Jay Inslee talked about gun violence, climate change and school funding. But the new governor’s speechWednesday offered few specific policy proposals.  Before the speech, Inslee was sworn in as Washington’s 23rd governor.

The ceremony took place in the Capitol rotunda. It was emceed by Earth Day founder Denis Hayes who managed references to Hugh Hefner and Lindsay Lohan, but focused on global climate change.

Denis Hayes: “Jay Inslee is the first political chief executive in American history to be elected principally on a platform of combating climate disruption.”

Governor Inslee Is Sworn In As Washington’s 23rd Governor.Inslee picked up on that theme in his inaugural speech. He said the “scientific controversy” surrounding global warming is settled and called for clean energy jobs. The new governor repeated a campaign pledge to bring what he calls “disruptive change” to Olympia. And called for Lean management to improve government efficiency. But he also hit on some controversial social issues. He called on lawmakers to pass a bill to require health insurers that cover maternity services to also cover abortion. He said he would work with the legislature to address the issue of gun violence.

Jay Inslee: “And commonsense tells us that this solution will involve mental health and will involve keeping guns out of the wrong hands while respecting the right of my son to hunt and my uncle to defend his home.”

On schools, Inslee pledged more money but also innovation and reform. There was no talk of taxes or specific dollar amounts. Afterwards some Republicans said they didn’t appreciate the focus on social issues. State Representative JT Wilcox said he was encouraged by the new governor’s talk of jobs and government reform. But is wary of an economic development strategy that revolves around clean energy.

JT Wilcox: “This is sort of like betting the state in one very narrow direction and as a strategy I’m not attracted to that.”

After his speech, Governor Inslee sent out a tweet that said “Now let’s get to work.” But first he had an afternoon game of basketball planned at the Governor’s mansion.

Governor Jay Inslee official portrait.  Photo from governor's website
Governor Inslee Is Sworn In As Washington’s 23rd Governor. By Austin Jenkins.

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