Governor Jay Inslee said he would focus on creating jobs, and he's done that. Since the day he was sworn in, over 250,000 jobs have been created, we've seen the lowest unemployment rate since 2008, and Business Insider ranked Washington state the number one economy in the nation. To make college more affordable, Governor Inslee signed a bill to lower tuition for every Washington student, including for those attending community college or career and technical schools.
Today, Washington is also one of the top trade hubs in the world with major seaports, airports, and railways. Governor Inslee has led trade missions with Washington delegates to Japan, Korea, and China to help expand trade and export opportunities. Over the past couple of years, Washington exports have grown by nearly 20 percent, more than any other state. In 2014 alone, Washington businesses brought home more than $214 million in new export sales.
But Governor Jay Inslee knows there is more to do to build a stronger economy and better future for every Washington family. That's why he supports efforts to raise the minimum wage and ensure paid sick leave for every Washington worker, and passed a transportation package that will put 200,000 people to work repairing our aging infrastructure.
Under Governor Inslee’s leadership, Washington’s key industries—agriculture, aerospace, military, life sciences, maritime, clean energy, and information technology—have thrived, creating good-paying jobs for Washingtonians in every corner of our state.
To ensure we continue creating good-paying jobs for Washington workers now and into the future, the governor also established the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness. This office recruits new companies and helps current companies thrive by providing resources and support to businesses in Washington.
In his next term, Governor Inslee will continue to invest in Washington state employees and work to expand opportunities for young people through STEM education, training and apprenticeship programs, and by making college more affordable. This will ensure that Washington students and workers can compete for the good-paying, high-skill jobs that are coming to our state.
Our state’s growing economy has made Washington a destination for workers and innovative companies from all over the United States. For years, our state has experienced tremendous growth, which means every year there are more people using our highways and ferries. Since taking office, Governor Inslee has worked diligently to accommodate that growth and ensure that commuters have safe and reliable roads, bridges, and waterways.
After the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in 2013, Governor Inslee and WSDOT acted quickly to erect a temporary replacement bridge in just 27 days. A permanent replacement for this major Interstate-5 bridge was erected just 66 days later.
In 2015, after a decade of inaction in the legislature, Governor Jay Inslee adamantly fought for and passed a bipartisan transportation package that will create 200,000 jobs, rebuild and repair our aging infrastructure, and provide much needed congestion relief across the state for commuters.
The package provides critical investments in: road and safety projects, highway preservation, and maintenance for bike paths, trails, bridges, and rail. This investment package greatly strengthens our economic prospects into the future, and makes historic investments in transit and other multi-modal improvements that will provide reliable options for commuters across the state.
The governor also instructed Washington State Ferries to develop a “Ferry Reliability Plan” with the mission of eliminating all missed sailings due to lack of available crew. Since then, ferry cancellations due to crew shortages have dropped by half and in 2015 summer ridership hit its rate highest in 12 years.
Governor Inslee knows there is more to be done to reduce bottlenecks and congestion, and is focused on continuing to improve Washington's transportation system.
Governor Jay Inslee got his start in public life fighting for a new high school in Selah. He understands the transformative power of education, and has been fighting to improve Washington's education system.
Every child deserves access to a high-quality education and opportunities that prepare them for success—from early learning, to K-12, to college and beyond, no matter their zip code. Since taking office, Governor Jay Inslee has made significant progress on expanding opportunity for all students.
In 2015, he signed the Early Start Act into law, making historic investments in high quality early learning for our state’s children, especially in our most diverse and vulnerable communities. Thanks to Governor Inslee, Washington now has better paid and better trained teachers, smaller class sizes in kindergarten through 3rd grade, and every child will have access to all-day kindergarten. A recent national report even named Washington state’s preschool program for low-income families one of the best in the country.
After years of skyrocketing tuition, Governor Inslee put an end to the state’s disinvestment in the higher education system and prioritized affordability and access for all Washington students. He signed a budget that included cuts in tuition for both 2-year and 4-year college students.
The previous year, the governor also signed the Washington DREAM Act, which extends state need grant eligibility to thousands of college students—removing barriers to education for undocumented students.
Energy and Environment
Governor Jay Inslee is a national leader on climate and clean energy and wrote a book about the economic opportunities of a clean energy future. As governor, he jump-started a revolution in the clean economy in Washington—incentivizing clean energy projects, using the Clean Air Act to hold big polluters accountable, and establishing the Clean Energy Fund.
The Clean Energy Fund includes $80 million that the Department of Commerce is using to provide matching grants all over the state for projects to create more efficient hydropower, great energy storage for utilities, and innovative composite recycling technology.
Protecting Washington's air, land, and water isn’t just about creating jobs, which it will. It's also about the legacy we leave our children. That’s why Governor Inslee is fighting to protect the clean air, beautiful waters, and lush natural spaces that make Washington one of the most special places to raise a family.
That’s why when the legislature refused to take action to fight climate change, Governor Inslee directed the Department of Ecology to develop Washington’s first-ever limit on carbon pollution. The Clean Air Rule will cover about 60 percent of carbon pollution in Washington by requiring organizations that are the largest contributors—responsible for 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases—to reduce their emissions each year.
Governor Inslee also fought to save our state parks and improve outdoor recreation for all Washingtonians by putting an end to the cuts in the parks’ budget and securing an additional $20 million investment to provide more staff for maintenance of our facilities.
Governor Inslee has, and will continue to, work to protect the beauty and natural resources that make Washington famous by protecting our communities and waterways from the dangers of oil transport. He championed and signed oil train safety legislation to improve safety, spill response, and preparedness for oil transportation in our state, and called for increased inspection on oil train lines.
At the same time, he has worked to establish more transparency in our health care system. In 2015, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill to create an all-payer claims database for patients and providers. The database gives providers and consumers access to cost and quality information about health care services, so they have a clearer picture of where money is being spent.
The governor also launched an initiative aimed at helping youth make healthy choices early on. The Healthiest Next Generation initiative helps children to eat well, maintain a healthy weight, and enjoy active lives by promoting healthier choices in early learning settings, schools and communities. This is done by upgrading the physical education guidelines to national standards, and providing schools $5 million in grants for PE, playground, garden, and scratch cooking equipment among other things.
Our nation’s veterans and their families have sacrificed to protect the freedoms we hold dear. Washington alone is home to more than 600,000 veterans and 60,000 active duty troops. The best way to honor their service is to keep the promises we made to them. During his time in office, Governor Inslee has remained committed to veterans and providing them with the benefits they have earned.
In 2013, Governor Inslee signed his first executive order, directing the state and the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish strategies to help veterans gain full-time employment, and transition from active duty to civilian life. The executive order also called for the creation of the Washington State Veteran Employee Resource Group, which helped increase newly state hired veterans by 40 percent in 2014. The Washington State Transition Model was recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for success and excellence in providing support to Washington state veterans.
In 2014, the governor signed into law a bill that helps strengthen economic protections for military personnel. And in 2015, Governor Inslee signed a veteran’s tuition bill that enables veterans, their spouses, and their children to become eligible to attend Washington’s public colleges and universities and pay resident tuition rates.
The governor’s office also worked to pass a bill that allows developmentally disabled children of military service members to continue to qualify for home and community-based services while the service member and family are out of state due to military assignment. Washington is the first state in the nation to pass legislation like this.
This is a good start, but it is only a start. The governor will continue to work tirelessly until every veteran has housing, health care, and the resources they need.
Governor Inslee has been a strong advocate for equality for our LGBTQ friends and family, and continues to fight against efforts to weaken equal rights in Washington and other states.
In 2012, Governor Inslee was the only gubernatorial candidate who fought for marriage equality, taking time out of his own campaign to call voters and raise support for this initiative, which is now Washington state law. This year, he stood with communities, businesses, and faith leaders to oppose an initiative that would have weakened Washington's landmark anti-discrimination law.
Most recently he announced a “safe spaces” initiative and issued a directive to all state agencies that will institute best practices for creating a safe and inclusive work environment. It will also build a Safe Place WA program for public state agencies to serve as safe and secure spaces for members of the LGBTQ community to turn to if they feel they are in danger.
Washington has always been a forward moving state where we embrace compassion, empathy, diversity, and inclusion. Governor Jay Inslee will continue to be a champion for Washington’s LGBTQ community.
Caring for our state’s seniors is critically important for Washington families. During his first year in office, working with AARP, Governor Inslee hosted the first ever Summit on Aging to discuss issues important to seniors and their loved ones, including: health care, long-term care services and support, financial security, and livable communities. The summit inspired a vision and strategic plan for our state.
Governor Inslee implemented a priority recommendation from the summit to develop Washington’s state first plan to address Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementias. This plan has key provisions like ensuring people have informed choice and dignity with regard to planning and palliative care. He also invested in a study to explore improvements and alternatives for long-term care insurance, which can be a large financial strain on families.
Governor Inslee also expanded Medicaid and dental coverage for adults. Washington state suffered from a nearly 15 percent uninsured rate, around 1 million people, in 2012. Today the uninsured rate is around 7.3 percent. Many pre-Medicare seniors have signed up and now also receive dental care.
Last year, Governor Inslee also signed into law a bill to help small businesses and employees with more affordable quality retirement options.
From health care to retirement, Governor Inslee will continue to work toward ensuring that seniors have the assistance they need to have a dignified retirement and support in staying independent as long as possible.
Women’s Health Care
Governor Inslee believes strongly that women should have the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions. He has consistently fought to protect and defend women’s health care and constitutional rights—from preserving the right to choose, to blocking Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, to championing increased access to family planning and reproductive health care services for all women.
Through the governor’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion, hundreds of thousands of women in Washington now have access to quality, affordable health care and access to family planning and preventive services. The law requires well-woman visits and full coverage of FDA-approved birth control, all at no cost to women. It also requires women’s health plans to cover pregnancy and newborn care. At the same time, women can no longer be denied health coverage due to a preexisting condition or be charged more than men for the same plan.
Governor Inslee has stood up against Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood time and time again, and has remained an advocate for a full range of reproductive health care services. He is committed to continuing the fight to protect Washington women’s right to choose, expand access to reproductive care and family planning services, and defeat ideologically driven attempts to block access for women.
When Governor Inslee took office, he began an aggressive effort to build a lean culture of state government. The governor launched Results Washington, an initiative between state leaders, partners, and customers with a mission to make government more efficient and better serve Washingtonians.
Under the governor’s Results Washington initiative the Department of Licensing has saved Washingtonians more than 1 million hours of wait-time at driver licensing offices.
The Department of Revenue also cut the average number of days to review tax assessments from 33 days to 7 days, saving our state more than $200,000 in interest as taxpayers received refunds faster.
With over 200 goals and objectives, Results Washington is working to make government more efficient and effective for Washingtonians.