The Washington Story

Governor Jay Inslee has made Washington state
a progressive beacon for the nation.

Governor Jay Inslee has made Washington state a progressive beacon for the nation.

Washington has raised the minimum wage, provided paid sick leave for every worker and a best-in-the-nation paid family leave program, protected net neutrality and passed some of the best voting rights laws in the nation.

Jay’s efforts to protect Washington’s clean air and water, invest in people’s economic security and stand up for the values of inclusivity and diversity has made Washington state “the epicenter of resistance to Trump’s agenda.”

Under Jay’s leadership, Washington created thousands of clean energy jobs, dramatically expanded voter rights, protected LGBTQI Americans from discrimination, provided affordable health care to 800,000 more Washingtonians, passed Reproductive Parity for all women, became the first state to stand up to Trump’s Muslim ban, and passed historic investments in public schools, teacher pay and infrastructure. 

Governor Jay Inslee talking with workers

These progressive policies have propelled Washington’s economy to the best in the nation and the only state that ranks as the best place to work and the best place to do business. Since Jay became governor in 2013, Washington state is number one in job growth, wage growth, and GDP growth. Washington’s story shows the economic power of progressive action.

In sum, the Washington story under Governor Inslee’s leadership is one of optimism and innovation. Washington creates, invents, and builds. Jay’s Washington welcomes those in search of refuge and aims to dismantle unequal systems of justice. Washington respects the rights of all, regardless of their gender, faith, orientation or place of birth. It respects the sovereignty of our tribal neighbors and gives honor to their ancestral lands. Today, the Washington story means access to opportunity, access to clean air, land and water, access to education, access to health care, access to voting rights, and access to an unfettered internet.

Workers and the economy

  • Under Jay’s leadership Washington state consistently ranks as a top state to do business and the top state for workers.
  • Jay led an effort to create the best-in-the-nation paid family leave program that provides workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or ailing family member or manage a serious health condition.  
  • The birthplace of the Fight for $15, Washington passed and has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation.
  • To help protect the sick and the healthy, Jay helped create paid sick leave for all workers.
  • Washington passed the Equal Pay Opportunity Act to strengthen the ability of workers to ensure transparency and accountability in providing equal pay and promotion opportunities.
  • Washington is one of the top three states for union membership thanks to strong collective bargaining protections for public and private sector workers.
  • Jay launched a nation-leading initiative to provide more career-training pathways for students through expanded apprenticeships, internships and other credential programs. Career Connect Washington is crucial for preparing students for the majority of new jobs that require more than a high school diploma but not necessarily a college degree.

Clean energy and climate action

  • Washington is among the top states for use of renewable energy thanks to significant expansion of solar and wind energy.
  • Jay's Clean Energy Fund established in 2013 has supported more than $100 million in clean energy and grid modernization projects.
  • Washington has one of the most expansive electric vehicle and charging station initiatives in the nation, making it one of the top three states for electric vehicle adoption.
  • Jay, who co-founded and co-chairs the bipartisan 21-state U.S. Climate Alliance, has met with leaders around the world to ensure that despite the Trump Administration’s intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, the U.S. is still in on defeating climate change. 

Health care

  • Washington is one of the top 10 states for health care access thanks to full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. The state achieved a record-low uninsured rate with nearly 800,000 Washingtonians gaining access to health insurance, and 90,000 Washingtonians gaining access to opioid treatments and behavioral health care.
  • We have protected and expanded access to reproductive health care through policies such as Washington’s Reproductive Parity Act which requires health insurers that cover maternity services to also cover the entire range of reproductive health services.

Civil rights and justice reform

  • Washington passed the Equal Pay Opportunity Act which makes it easier to hold employers accountable for providing equal pay and promotion opportunities to all employees.
  • Our bipartisan DREAM Act gives every aspiring young Washingtonian a chance to go to college regardless of where they were born.
  • We passed one of the nation’s most comprehensive Access to Democracy packages that makes it easier to register and vote including a state Voting Rights Act, automatic voter registration and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds.
  • We continue to promote the rights of the LGBTQI community through policies that ban conversion therapy, provide a way for non-binary individuals to change their gender on their birth certificates, ensure transgender individuals are not discriminated against for health coverage, and more.
  • Jay enacted a death penalty moratorium based on the unequal application of capital punishment.
  • We have led the country in our implementation of Washington’s recreational marijuana market, including the launch of Jay’s Marijuana Justice Initiative that offers pardons to thousands of individuals with misdemeanor marijuana convictions.

Education

  • Jay worked with educators to develop a historic expansion of education funding to increase teacher pay, lower class sizes, provide all-day kindergarten to all students and more.
  • Washington is one of the top five states for increased higher education funding. We prioritized the first-in-the-nation tuition cut in 2015 and give one of the most generous financial aid programs in the nation.

Standing up to Trump

  • Jay was the first governor to say he would welcome Syrian refugees to Washington state, and filed the first lawsuit challenging the president’s Muslim travel ban.
  • Washington state has fought back against efforts to curb states’ authority to enforce clean air and water laws.
  • As a state, we have opposed efforts to target immigrant communities and separate families by cracking down on data-sharing with federal authorities, providing additional resources to bolster access to legal services for refugees and immigrants, and more.
  • Jay supported and helped pass net neutrality legislation that made Washington the first to pass a bill protecting Washingtonians’ access to the internet.

Gun safety

  • We are one of the top 10 states for gun safety laws, including a first-in-the-nation initiative requiring universal background checks, additional measures to help prevent suicide, protection orders that keep guns out of the hands of those in crisis, and a ban on bump stocks.

Transportation

  • Governor Inslee modernized Washington’s infrastructure by helping lead efforts to pass the largest and greenest transportation package in Washington state history.
  • Washington’s 16-year $16 billion infrastructure package supports more than 200,000 jobs and authorized expansion of light rail and transit in the Puget Sound area, the state’s fastest-growing and most congested region.
Seattle Times

Praise for Jay Inslee

“Inslee is a passionate and persistent advocate for the environment who should play an important role making this a top priority in the 2020 presidential race.”

New York Times

Praise for Jay Inslee

“...I also find myself excited by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement that he’s considering a presidential run centered on the battle against climate change. Perhaps this is naïve, but his entry could encourage a substantive argument about progressive priorities, one that transcends facile theater criticism, ideological purity tests or horse-race handicapping.”

- Michelle Goldberg
The Atlantic

Praise for Jay Inslee

“On his watch, the state has boosted health care, increased access to early-childhood education and college, raised the minimum wage, expanded paid family leave, invested in infrastructure, and established in-state net neutrality, all while leading the country in job growth, overall personal-income growth, and GDP.”

Washington Post

Praise for Jay Inslee

“That seems to be his greatest selling point — creating a progressive haven while growing the economy, raising wages and saving the planet. If Inslee can articulate a vision entirely at odds with Trump’s and evidenced by his successful stewardship, he could be onto something.”

- Jennifer Rubin