Governor Inslee delivers the 2020 State of the State Address
Governor Inslee delivers the 2020 State of the State Address at the rostrum of the Washington State House of Representatives (Photo: Andrew VIlleneuve/NPI)

Could out­go­ing Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s next job be in the oth­er Washington? 

There’s a good chance of it, if Pres­i­dent Joe Biden wins reelec­tion to a sec­ond term.

Biden promised today at a cam­paign fundrais­er in Med­i­na — the sec­ond of two on the Seat­tle leg of a West Coast spring fundrais­ing jaunt — that he would be mak­ing an effort to recruit Inslee to join his team after he fin­ish­es his third and final term as Wash­ing­ton State’s chief exec­u­tive. Speak­ing to a small crowd of afflu­ent sup­port­ers and elect­ed offi­cials, Biden hailed Inslee’s pub­lic ser­vice and spoke to the future almost right after being intro­duced, describ­ing him as “the best gov­er­nor in Amer­i­ca on envi­ron­ment and one of the best gov­er­nors in Amer­i­ca overall.”

“I warn you all, if you like see­ing him around Wash­ing­ton State, don’t elect me,” Biden con­tin­ued. “But if you want to see him — if you don’t mind leav­ing him — hav­ing him leave this state a lit­tle bit, elect me, because I’m going to try to grab him to get him to Wash­ing­ton [D.C.]. You think I’m kid­ding. I’m not.” 

Laugh­ter and applause fol­lowed those comments.

Biden was sim­i­lar­ly effu­sive in his praise for Inslee last night, when he head­lined a recep­tion at the Lotte Hotel in Seat­tle and said: “Gov­er­nor Inslee, Jay, you are the leader in the coun­try on cli­mate [action]. You real­ly are. You’ve done more as a gov­er­nor in your state than any gov­er­nor has in any­where in America.”

That’s a sen­ti­ment that many peo­ple work­ing to tack­le the cli­mate cri­sis would agree with. Very few states have passed strong cli­mate action laws — Wash­ing­ton is one of the few, along with Cal­i­for­nia. Gov­er­nor Inslee has been a true cham­pi­on, and he’s got­ten results. Repub­li­cans are try­ing to undo his sig­na­ture cli­mate action law, the Cli­mate Com­mit­ment Act, but we’re well on our way to defeat­ing them, hav­ing assem­bled a broad and diverse coali­tion to defeat Jim Walsh and Bri­an Hey­wood’s Ini­tia­tive 2117. 

While we don’t know what the future holds, Biden’s remarks this week­end pro­vide rea­son to believe that if Democ­rats keep the White House, Inslee could be offered a posi­tion in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment after the cur­rent elec­tion cycle ends. 

Four years ago, there was talk of Inslee join­ing the Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion, but it was chat­ter com­ing from rumor­mon­gers who were base­less­ly pre­dict­ing that Jay Inslee would resign as Gov­er­nor to take a Cab­i­net posi­tion if the Demo­c­ra­t­ic tick­et pre­vailed in the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. This time around, it’s Joe Biden rais­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty. And there’s no more author­i­ta­tive source on future fed­er­al job offers than the President!

In addi­tion to mak­ing his enthu­si­asm for recruit­ing Inslee known, Biden also:

  • Warm­ly rec­og­nized Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell as “a great friend” and “sig­nif­i­cant leader,” say­ing: “When you think of Maria, you think of one thing: integri­ty. No one ever doubts that what­ev­er she says, she means and she’s telling you the truth.”
  • Cheered Suzan Del­Bene’s lead­er­ship of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, say­ing Del­Bene is “work­ing like hell to make every­thing work. No, I’m seri­ous. She’s putting togeth­er a real, real effort run­ning the [DCCC].”
  • Described Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal as “a woman who has more courage and hutz­pah and sta­mi­na than any­body I know.” 
  • Briefly spoke to the con­flict in Gaza, say­ing: “You know, there would be a cease­fire tomor­row if… Hamas would release the hostages: the women and the elder­ly and the wound­ed. Israel said it’s up to Hamas; if they want­ed to do it, we could end it tomor­row. And the cease­fire would begin tomor­row. It all has to do — you know, we’ve not — any­way, I don’t want to — I guess I shouldn’t get into all this about Israel. But, you know — well, I don’t want to get going, I guess.”
  • Salut­ed Microsoft, in Pres­i­dent Brad Smith’s pres­ence, for “invest­ing $3 bil­lion to build a data cen­ter in Racine to pow­er their arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence sys­tem” — some­thing Biden went to Wis­con­sin to celebrate.
  • Offered some analy­sis of the lat­est cred­i­ble polls, say­ing: “The last four nation­al polls have me ahead in two, him ahead in one, tied in — for anoth­er. In the bat­tle­ground states, most of the polls released this week are with­in the mar­gin of error. We just had the very strong Wis­con­sin poll up six points.” He added: “[W]e run strongest among like­ly vot­ers in the polling data. That’s a good sign. And while the nation­al polls basi­cal­ly have us reg­is­tered vot­ers up by four, like­ly vot­ers we’re up by more.”
  • Not­ed that many Repub­li­can vot­ers are still vot­ing for Nik­ki Haley even though she end­ed her cam­paign months ago, observ­ing: “Just this last week, over 120,000 peo­ple vot­ed for a woman who dropped out of the race, Nik­ki Haley, in the Indi­ana pri­ma­ry — a hun­dred twen­ty thou- — in Penn­syl­va­nia pri­ma­ry, she was already out of the race and over 150,000 peo­ple vot­ed for her in that race. In the Penn­syl­va­nia pri­ma­ry, I got over 100,000 more votes in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry than Trump did in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry. I got 900,000 votes. Trump, a lit­tle under 800,000.”
  • Tout­ed his cam­paign’s fundrais­ing suc­cess, say­ing: “1.6 mil­lion indi­vid­u­als have con­tributed to our cam­paign — 1.6 mil­lion indi­vid­u­als. We’ve raised more mon­ey than any can­di­date has at this spot in the cam­paign. And of those 1.6 mil­lion, over 97 per­cent con­tributed less than $200. They’re on pay­ment plans of $5, $10, $20, $30, $50 a month. That’s how we’re rais­ing that mon­ey. And as the can­di­dates know here, if you want to know what’s hap­pen­ing in the street, see what ordi­nary peo­ple are doing with their money.” 
  • Point­ed out the dis­par­i­ty between his oper­a­tion and Trump’s with respect to cam­paign infra­struc­ture: “The bat­tle­ground states, we’ve opened up more than 150 field offices, while Trump has not opened a sin­gle, soli­tary one. We’re orga­niz­ing, and we’re ready. Trump MAGA Repub­li­cans are in sig­nif­i­cant disarray.” 
  • Assailed Trump for his recent inter­view with Time and his plans to destroy our democ­ra­cy at the expense of Amer­i­cans’ well-being, declar­ing: “You can’t build a future on revenge. You can’t build bet­ter lives for peo­ple on revenge. That’s why I’m not run­ning on revenge, I’m run­ning to lead Amer­i­ca into the future.” 

Biden end­ed his remarks with these words: 

The world’s look­ing at us. I’m going to try my best not to let you down, because we have the great­est democ­ra­cy in his­to­ry of the world. We’re the only democ­ra­cy — we’re the only coun­try in the whole world that’s built on an idea.

Every oth­er nation in the world was built on geog­ra­phy, eth­nic­i­ty, reli­gion, some­thing that unites them. But we’re the only one built on an idea. And the idea — and it’s not hyper­bole — the idea is, “We hold these truths to be self-evi­dent, that all women and men are cre­at­ed equal, endowed by” — we’ve nev­er lived up to it, but we’ve nev­er walked away from it.

This guy is ready to walk away from it. It’s not who we are. Not only does the Amer­i­can pub­lic need us to do the right thing, but the world needs us to do the right thing. And I’ll try my best not to dis­ap­point you. Thank you.

Though this was a pri­vate fundrais­ing event in an inti­mate set­ting with only major donors and key elect­ed offi­cials present, we at least know what Pres­i­dent Biden said to the room because of the cur­rent White House­’s pol­i­cy of allow­ing edi­to­r­i­al pool cov­er­age at these events and sub­se­quent­ly releas­ing tran­scripts. It’s impor­tant to know that dur­ing the Trump regime, there was no such transparency. 

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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