Breaking News
More () »

Washington Gov. Inslee to make climate change top priority in presidential campaign

As he announced that he is running for president, Jay Inslee said we are in the 'eleventh hour' in the fight against climate change.

Governor Jay Inslee is running for president. 

The two-term Washington governor announced his 2020 presidential bid on Friday, becoming the first person from Washington to run for president in over 40 years.

Inslee had hinted for months about a possible run before announcing his 2020 presidential bid on Friday.

An advocate for fighting climate change, he has pushed for a switch to a clean energy economy.

In a campaign video released Friday morning, Inslee said, "I'm running for president because I'm the only candidate that will make defeating climate change our nation's number one priority."

He continued that message later in the day, saying the country has a "short period of time to act," and that this is the "eleventh hour." 

Inslee said the country's reliance on fossil fuels is holding it back. As a candidate, he said he will not take "one dime" from fossil fuel companies. If he is elected president, not "one nickel" would subsidize oil and gas. 

RELATED: Washington Democratic chair: Inslee has a few months to prove candidacy

Following his official announcement, Inslee will head to Iowa Tuesday for a series of stops all focused on climate change solutions. 

Inslee joins a crowded field of Democratic candidates looking to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. More than 10 candidates had entered the 2020 race by Friday, with a long list of potentials yet to be announced. 

The Democratic National Committee plans to hold 12 debates, the first of which will be in June. To get on the debate stage in June, Inslee would need to reach certain thresholds in grassroots funding or at the polls due to a new set of rules put together by Democratic officials.

Caleb Heimlich, chair of the Washington State Republican Party, criticized Inslee's tenure as governor in a statement released Thursday:

“After a 7 year record of mismanagement and misplaced priorities, Governor Inslee is announcing his longshot bid for the Presidency. Inslee’s tenure as Governor has been marked by scandals at the Department of Corrections, Western State Hospital, a rapid rise in homelessness, and worsening traffic congestion. Governor Inslee’s signature efforts have been rejected by the voters of Washington State, including his most recent energy tax scheme that was voted down with more than 56% of the vote.

“Governor Inslee has said that ‘Senators orate and Governors govern,’ which is ironic given that Inslee prefers pontificating to governing.

“Taxpayers are plagued by real issues that Inslee and his administration refuse to address. Governor Inslee should do the people of Washington State a favor and resign while he pursues his vanity run for the White House. That way, we can have a governor who actually cares about the needs of the people in this Washington."

With grassroots funding, Inslee would need to collect at least 65,000 discreet donations from individuals, including at least 200 donations from 20 different states. To go the polling route, Inslee would need to earn at least 1 percent in the polls at the national level or in the four early primary states: New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina.

Inslee previously served in the Washington State House, representing Yakima Valley, and then spent 14 years in Congress.

The last Washington politician who ran for president was Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson in 1976.

Before You Leave, Check This Out