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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.