Governor Jay Inslee listens to the national anthem ahead of the 2023 State of the State Address (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

This morn­ing, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee announced he would not be seek­ing a fourth term as Wash­ing­ton State’s chief exec­u­tive and will “pass the torch” to a new leader when his cur­rent term ends in Jan­u­ary 2025.

Here’s a roundup of state­ments we’ve received com­ment­ing on the gov­er­nor’s announce­ment from oth­er state offi­cials and par­ty leaders.

Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray:

Con­grat­u­la­tions to my friend Gov­er­nor Inslee. You’ve made his­toric progress for Wash­ing­ton State — whether it was lead­ing the nation on cli­mate, get­ting us through COVID, or build­ing a stronger econ­o­my for every­one. Your lead­er­ship has made life bet­ter for so many peo­ple in our state.

House Speak­er Lau­rie Jinkins:

Under Gov­er­nor Inslee’s tenure, Wash­ing­ton has con­sis­tent­ly been a nation­al leader in for­ward-think­ing poli­cies cham­pi­oning cli­mate action and clean ener­gy, civ­il rights, gun vio­lence pre­ven­tion, and an econ­o­my that works bet­ter for every­one. Our state fared bet­ter than almost any oth­er dur­ing the pan­dem­ic thanks to tough deci­sions he made that saved thou­sands of lives and helped our econ­o­my bounce back faster and more equi­tably. As Speak­er I have appre­ci­at­ed work­ing with him and his admin­is­tra­tion on some of the most chal­leng­ing issues fac­ing our state, includ­ing our con­tin­ued work to find a statewide solu­tion in response to the Blake decision.

Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Andy Billig:

Gov­er­nor Inslee has guid­ed Wash­ing­ton on a path to achieve remark­able progress over the past decade.

He will be the first to tell you there are many chal­lenges that remain, and I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our work togeth­er over the next year and a half. But today is a day to cel­e­brate a lega­cy and a part­ner­ship that pro­duced his­toric leg­is­la­tion to com­bat cli­mate change and gun vio­lence, and to expand vot­ing rights and make our tax sys­tem more sta­ble and fair. We’ve seen Washington’s econ­o­my reach new heights under his watch, and his lead­er­ship was crit­i­cal in times of cri­sis such as the Oso mud­slide, the I‑5 bridge col­lapse in Skag­it Coun­ty, and espe­cial­ly dur­ing the COVID pan­dem­ic when he imple­ment­ed crit­i­cal safe­ty mea­sures to save thou­sands of lives.

In tough times and in great times, Gov­er­nor Inslee has led our state with integri­ty, com­pas­sion, and vision.

Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Shasti Conrad:

“Gov­er­nor Inslee’s stead­fast lead­er­ship has guid­ed Wash­ing­ton through both times of his­toric pros­per­i­ty and unprece­dent­ed cri­sis. He kept us safe and secure through the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, and deliv­ered trans­for­ma­tion­al poli­cies on cli­mate change, eco­nom­ic jus­tice, and gun vio­lence pre­ven­tion. Wash­ing­ton has become a bea­con of hope in a divid­ed Amer­i­ca under his watch, and the Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats stand ready to defend his lega­cy at the bal­lot box next year.”

In the past three statewide elec­tions, Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats’ staff have orga­nized thou­sands of vol­un­teers to make mil­lions of phone calls to vot­ers and knock on hun­dreds of thou­sands of doors to get out the vote for the Demo­c­rat lead­ing the top of the tick­et. As a result of those unprece­dent­ed orga­niz­ing efforts, Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, and Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray each trounced their Repub­li­can oppo­nents in the gen­er­al elec­tion by dou­ble digits.

Ever­green Action co-founders Jamal Raad, Sam Rick­etts, Ais­ling Kerins, Tra­cy New­man, Jared Leopold and Brack­en Hendricks:

Gov­er­nor Inslee has been one of the most impact­ful gov­er­nors on cli­mate action in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. Dur­ing the eleven years he has so far served as gov­er­nor, trans­formed Wash­ing­ton state’s cli­mate pol­i­cy, and made the Ever­green State the mod­el for a thriv­ing and just clean ener­gy econ­o­my. Gov­er­nor Inslee passed nation-lead­ing one hun­dred per­cent clean elec­tric­i­ty and econ­o­my-wide car­bon reduc­tion laws, as well as land­mark clean fuels and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice legislation.

Through his lead­er­ship in Con­gress, as gov­er­nor, and his vision­ary cam­paign for pres­i­dent, Gov­er­nor Inslee has been an inspi­ra­tion for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans that we can defeat cli­mate change, advance envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, and cre­ate mil­lions of clean ener­gy jobs.

His cam­paign for pres­i­dent set the bar for cli­mate pol­i­cy and cre­at­ed an open-source gold stan­dard cli­mate plan that became a mod­el for Pres­i­dent Biden’s plan and is reflect­ed through­out the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act. In his cli­mate plan and his lead­er­ship as gov­er­nor, Gov­er­nor Inslee laid out a clear vision for a clean ener­gy future built on stan­dards, invest­ment and jus­tice, which con­tin­ues to shape cli­mate poli­cies at the fed­er­al, state, and local level.

Gov­er­nor Inslee’s vision and detailed plans also inspired the cre­ation of Ever­green Action and count­less oth­er cli­mate lead­ers across the nation and the world. We look for­ward to see­ing his con­tin­ued lead­er­ship in Wash­ing­ton state over the next eigh­teen months, his ongo­ing nation­al and inter­na­tion­al lead­er­ship on cli­mate, and the impact of his work for gen­er­a­tions to come. Gov­er­nor Inslee is right: This is our moment to defeat cli­mate change.

Ore­gon Gov­er­nor Tina Kotek:

Thank you, Gov­er­nor Inslee, for your years of pub­lic ser­vice and strong lead­er­ship. Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon are great part­ners, and I’m ready to keep our momen­tum going for the next year and half!

British Colum­bia Pre­mier David Eby:

Thank you, Gov­er­nor Inslee, for all the work you have done, espe­cial­ly your lead­er­ship on cli­mate change. It has been a priv­i­lege to work with you to make BC and Wash­ing­ton bet­ter places for every­one. All your friends in BC wish you well, and I look for­ward to con­tin­ue strength­en­ing our rela­tion­ship with Wash­ing­ton state.

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Ferguson:

It has been a priv­i­lege to work with you to stand up to the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion, pro­tect women’s repro­duc­tive free­dom, defend immi­grants, get assault weapons off our streets, pro­tect our air and water, elim­i­nate the death penal­ty, and advo­cate for our vet­er­ans. I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing that part­ner­ship tak­ing on the tough­est fights on behalf of every Wash­ing­ton­ian for the next eigh­teen months!

Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz:

When it comes to fight­ing the cli­mate cri­sis, Gov­er­nor Inslee
has been a pow­er­ful force for change. I’m grate­ful for the steps he’s tak­en to help us pre­serve Washington’s lands and waters.

King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine:

Gov­er­nor Inslee has done great work for the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton, and has led the nation in the fight against the cli­mate cri­sis. I look for­ward to work­ing with the Gov­er­nor and his team over the next year as we con­tin­ue to build a coun­ty and state where every per­son can thrive.

Seat­tle May­or Bruce Har­rell:

Thank you Gov­er­nor Inslee for your years of ded­i­cat­ed ser­vice to Wash­ing­ton and its residents.

From bold action on the cli­mate cri­sis, cham­pi­oning com­mon­sense gun leg­is­la­tion, and sup­port­ing an ever inno­v­a­tive econ­o­my, your lead­er­ship has helped build a stronger state for us all.

Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton Pres­i­dent Ana Marie Cauce:

Thank you, Gov­er­nor Inslee, for your ser­vice to Wash­ing­ton and your lead­er­ship through the pan­dem­ic, strong sup­port for cli­mate and clean ener­gy, invest­ments in behav­ioral health and cham­pi­oning of high­er edu­ca­tion. We are so proud to call you a Husky alum.

U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­i­lyn Strick­land:

I’m so grate­ful to Gov­er­nor Inslee for his years of pub­lic ser­vice. He has been a cham­pi­on for grow­ing our econ­o­my, cre­at­ing good jobs, and address­ing the cli­mate cri­sis. I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work with him dur­ing the remain­der of his term to deliv­er for the South Sound.

Mean­while, Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Caleb Heim­lich — who was unable to defeat Inslee — had noth­ing to offer but bit­ter­ness and scorn:

It’s time to turn the page on the dis­as­trous Inslee era in Wash­ing­ton State. For over a decade, Gov­er­nor Inslee has tak­en our state in the wrong direc­tion. His deci­sion to not seek a fourth term presents an oppor­tu­ni­ty to elect a Repub­li­can gov­er­nor who will put Wash­ing­to­ni­ans first and pri­or­i­tize the needs of our communities.

Of course, had Inslee decid­ed dif­fer­ent­ly, Heim­lich would have prob­a­bly said about the same thing. Just get rid of the word “not” from that sec­ond sentence:

His deci­sion to seek a fourth term presents an oppor­tu­ni­ty to elect a Repub­li­can gov­er­nor who will put Wash­ing­to­ni­ans first and pri­or­i­tize the needs of our communities.

Heads there’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty, tails there’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty… a slim opportunity.

The last Repub­li­can gov­er­nor to be elect­ed in Wash­ing­ton State was John Spell­man in 1980, more than forty years ago. Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­cans own the longest guber­na­to­r­i­al los­ing streak in the coun­try, and that’s not like­ly to change in 2024, no mat­ter how fer­vent­ly they pre­tend otherwise.

Desir­able recruits like Pierce Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Bruce Dammeier aren’t even inter­est­ed in run­ning — they don’t want to have to deal with the rabid, right wing, Don­ald Trump wor­ship­ing Repub­li­can base. Repub­li­cans have no statewide elect­ed offi­cials and only two seats in Con­gress, so their bench is incred­i­bly thin.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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