In 2019, Jay Inslee bet that Americans fed up with catastrophic disasters and a Republican administration axing virtually every regulation meant to curb planet-heating pollution might be ready to send a “climate candidate” to the White House.
The Washington governor authored a book-length stack of policy ideas to transform the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels, and pushed a crowded field of rivals to run on increasingly detailed and creative climate platforms. While his campaign failed to take off, Inslee made it to the debate stage that August, where he delivered some memorable jabs at the eventual winner, Joe Biden.
Almost exactly three years later, Biden on Tuesday signed legislation containing an unprecedented $369 billion in spending meant to vastly expand how much of the United States’ economy is powered with low-carbon energy sources.
Reached by phone Tuesday morning at his Bainbridge Island home, where the third-term governor recently installed new solar panels, Inslee, 71, was in a triumphal mood.
“I’m just happy as a clam at high tide here,” he said. “We’ve got a good climate bill. It’s a nice day in Washington state. My grandkids are available to play today, so I’m goofing off today. It’s a good day.”
He asked me how I was doing. New York City’s heat wave had broken, the air conditioner finally got a day off, and a breeze was coming through my open window. So, I said I couldn’t complain.
“Well, you can,” the governor said….
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