Jay Robert Inslee (/ˈɪnzliː/; born February 9, 1951) is an American politician, author, and attorney currently serving as the 23rd Governor of Washington, a position he has held since 2013. Inslee is a member of the Democratic Party.
Born in Seattle, Inslee graduated from the University of Washington and Willamette University College of Law. He served in the Washington House of Representatives from 1989 to 1993. Inslee represented Washington's 4th congressional district, which included parts of the state around Yakima, in the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995. Defeated for re-election in 1994, Inslee returned to private practice and then ran for Washington Governor in the 1996 election, coming in fifth in the blanket primary ahead of the general election, which was won by Democrat Gary Locke. Inslee then served as regional director for the United States Department of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton.
Inslee was elected back to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998, this time for Washington's 1st congressional district, which included Seattle's northern suburbs in King County, Snohomish County and Kitsap County. He was reelected six times before announcing that he was running for Governor of Washington again on June 27, 2011. He resigned from Congress on March 20, 2012, to focus on his campaign. He defeated Republican Rob McKenna, the Attorney General of Washington, in the general election, 52% to 48%. Inslee was reelected to a second term in 2016, defeating Republican Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant, 54% to 46%.
Inslee has emerged as one of the most recognized critics of the administration of President Donald Trump. Alongside State Solicitor General Noah Purcell and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Inslee played a major role in the opposition to Trump's Executive Order 13769, in which a restriction halted travel for 90 days from seven Muslim-majority countries, and a total ban on Syrian refugees entering the United States. The Order was blocked by the Courts and later superseded by other Executive Orders.
|23rd Governor of Washington|
Assumed office |
January 16, 2013
|Preceded by||Christine Gregoire|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Washington's 1st district
January 3, 1999 – March 20, 2012
|Preceded by||Rick White|
|Succeeded by||Suzan DelBene|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Washington's 4th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Sid Morrison|
|Succeeded by||Doc Hastings|
|Member of the Washington House of Representatives|
from the 14th legislative district
January 9, 1989 – January 11, 1993
|Preceded by||Jim Lewis|
|Succeeded by||Dave Lemmon|
Jay Robert Inslee|
February 9, 1951
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Trudi Inslee (m. 1972)
University of Washington (BA)|
Willamette University (JD)
Inslee was born in Seattle, the son of Adele A. (née Brown), a sales clerk, and Frank E. Inslee, a teacher and coach. He graduated from Seattle's Ingraham High School, the University of Washington (Bachelor of Arts, Economics), and Willamette University College of Law (Juris Doctor).
Inslee has attributed his interest in the outdoors to the years his parents spent leading student groups on wilderness conservation trips in cooperation with the SCA in Mount Rainier in the 1960s and 1970s. He practiced law for 10 years in Selah, Washington, a city just north of Yakima.
Inslee ran for the Washington House of Representatives in 1988 after incumbent Republican State Representative Jim Lewis resigned to become political commentator of a Yakima television station. He was inspired to run after the state legislature undermined a school bond that he had worked to pass after years of failure. In the blanket primary, Republican Lynn Carmichael ranked first with 43% and Inslee ranked second with 40%. Republican Glen Blomgren ranked third with 17%. In the general election, Inslee defeated Carmichael 52%-48%. In 1990, Inslee won re-election with 62% of the vote.
In the Washington state legislature, Inslee pursued a bill to provide initial funding to build five branch campuses of the Washington State University system. Although the bill failed, Inslee's tenacity made an impression on House Speaker Joe King, who said: "He's not afraid to incur the wrath of the speaker or the caucus." In 1991, Inslee voted for a state energy policy which required the state to devise a cost-effective energy strategy, and also that state agencies and school districts must pursue and maintain energy-efficient operation of their facilities.
In Congress Inslee passed the Yakima River Enhancement Act, a bill long held up in Congress by brokering a breakthrough with irrigators and wildlife advocates. He also helped to open Japanese markets to American apples, and fund and oversee the nation's biggest nuclear waste site at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Washington.
In his first congressional tenure, he was placed on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture to protect the district's rural areas and the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to protect the Hanford Reservation.
He ran for Governor of Washington in 1996 and lost in the blanket primary. Democratic King County Executive and former State Representative Gary Locke ranked first with 24% of the vote. Democratic Mayor of Seattle Norm Rice ranked second with 18%, but didn't qualify for the general election. Republican State Senator Ellen Craswell ranked third with 15%, and became the Republican candidate to qualify for the general election. Republican State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Dale Foreman ranked fourth with 13%. Inslee ranked fifth with 10%. No other candidate on the ballot received double digits.
After Inslee's failed 1996 bid for Governor of Washington, President of the United States Bill Clinton appointed him regional director for the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Inslee ran again for Congress in 1998, this time in the 1st congressional district against two-term incumbent Rick White. His campaign attracted national attention when he became the first Democratic candidate to air television ads attacking his opponent and the Republican congressional leadership for the Lewinsky scandal. Inslee won with 49.8% of the vote to White's 44.1%; he had an unintentional assist in his successful return by the conservative third political party candidacy of Bruce Craswell, husband of 1996 GOP gubernatorial nominee Ellen Craswell.
The 1st was a swing district for most of the 1990s; Inslee's win marked the third time the district had changed hands in four elections. However, Inslee was a major beneficiary of the recent Democratic trend in the Seattle area. Inslee defeated Washington Senate Minority Leader Dan McDonald in 2000, taking 54.6% of the vote. Inslee defeated former state representative Joe Marine in 2002, taking 55.6% of the vote after the district was made more Democratic in the 2000s round of redistricting. He would never face another contest nearly that close, and was reelected three more times with over 60 percent of the vote.
During the 2009-10 campaign cycle, Inslee raised $1,140,025. In data compiled for the period 2005 to 2007 and excluding individual contributions of less than $200, 64 percent of Inslee's donations were from outside the state of Washington and 86 percent came from outside his district (compared to 79 percent for the average House member). A total of 43 percent of Inslee's donations came from Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. The largest interests funding Inslee's campaign were pharmaceutical and health related companies, lawyers and law firms, and high tech companies.
Inslee was awarded a "Friend of the National Parks" award by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) in 2001 for his support of legislation protecting the integrity and quality of the National Park System.
Inslee was "...one of Congress's most ardent advocates of strong action to combat global warming," according to The New York Times. Inslee was the first public figure to propose an Apollo-like energy program with an opinion editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, on December 19, 2002, and in a series of similar pieces in other publications. Inslee co-authored Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy, in which he argues that through improved Federal policies the United States can wean itself off of its dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuel, create millions of Green-collar worker jobs, and stop global warming. He has been a prominent supporter of the Apollo Alliance. Inslee strongly believes the Environmental Protection Agency should remain authorized to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In a 2011 House hearing on the Energy Tax Prevention Act, Inslee said Republicans have "an allergy to science and scientists," during a discussion of whether the Regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act should remain in place following a controversial court finding on the issue.
He has been an outspoken critic of the George W. Bush administration's decision to 2003 invasion of Iraq. On July 31, 2007, Inslee introduced legislation that called for an inquiry to determine whether then United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be impeached. Gonzales eventually resigned.
In 2011, Inslee voted in favor of authorizing the use of U.S. armed forces in the 2011 Libyan civil war and voted against limiting the use of funds to support NATO's 2011 military intervention in Libya.
On March 20, 2012, Inslee left Congress to focus on his campaign for Governor of Washington.
On June 27, 2011, Inslee announced his candidacy for Governor of Washington in 2012. His campaign focused on job creation, outlining dozens of proposals to increase job growth in clean energy, the aerospace industry, and biotechnology. He also supported a ballot measure to legalize gay marriage, which passed, and opposed tax increases. He won election by a relatively slim three-point margin over his Republican opponent, Rob McKenna, with 51% of the vote. McKenna did not immediately concede, waiting until all votes had been counted.
On November 8, 2016, Inslee won re-election as Governor of Washington, defeating Republican former Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant. Bryant officially conceded the office to Inslee on November 10, after more votes had been counted.
During the 2013 session, the legislature failed to create a fiscal budget plan during the initial session, and Inslee was forced to call two special sessions in order to give time for a budget to be created. The Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House each passed their own budgets, but could not agree with one. Finally, in June 2013, Inslee was able to sign a US$33.6 billion budget upon which both houses had agreed as a compromise, albeit hesitantly.
In January 2014, Inslee gave a speech commending machinists who voted to renew Boeing's contract with Seattle, allowing the company to build its Boeing 777x aircraft in Seattle. Inslee said the contract would bring Washington to a new industrial plateau and be a turning point for Washington jobs:
These jobs are in the thousands and it is not only on the 777X, the first model of the 777X but all the subsequent derivative models as well.
The plan was to prevent Boeing from building part of the aircraft in Washington and part of it somewhere else, as they had done with the Boeing 787, which had been partially constructed in South Carolina.
There have been too many doubts raised about capital punishment, there are too many flaws in this system today. There is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system.
Inslee began his second term in January 2017, proposing full funding of state education (in compliance with the McCleary decision) and addressing mental health needs, while also raising worker pay. After newly inaugurated President Donald Trump on January 27 signed an executive order to ban entry from Muslim countries, Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced their intention to sue Trump, alleging his order was unconstitutional. The civil action, Washington v. Trump, was filed on January 30 and on February 3 successfully earned a temporary restraining order to forbid federal enforcement of certain provisions of the order. An appeal and request to stay filed by the federal government was subsequently denied by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Inslee and Ferguson declared their victory over President Trump on February 16, after his administration announced they would revise their travel ban to comply with the court decisions. Inslee garnered national media attention during the lawsuit, fueling speculation from The Seattle Times that he might run for president during the 2020 election.
|Date||Position||Status||Opponent||Result||Vote share||Opponent vote share|
|1992||U.S. Representative||Open seat||Doc Hastings (R)||Elected||51%||49%|
|1994||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Doc Hastings (R)||Defeated||47%||53%|
|1996||WA Governor||Open seat primary||Gary Locke (D), others||Defeated|
|1998||U.S. Representative||Challenger||Rick White (R)||Elected||50%||44%|
|2000||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Dan McDonald (R)||Re-elected||55%||43%|
|2002||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Joe Marine (R)||Re-elected||56%||41%|
|2004||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Randy Eastwood (R)||Re-elected||62%||36%|
|2006||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Larry W. Ishmael (R)||Re-elected||68%||32%|
|2008||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||Larry W. Ishmael (R)||Re-elected||68%||32%|
|2010||U.S. Representative||Incumbent||James Watkins (R)||Re-elected||57%||43%|
|2012||WA Governor||Open seat||Rob McKenna (R)||Elected||51%||49%|
|2016||WA Governor||Incumbent||Bill Bryant (R)||Re-elected||54%||46%|
Inslee is an avid basketball player and a member of "Hoopaholics", a charity group dedicated to "treatment of old guys addicted to basketball and who can no longer jump" as Inslee has often joked. In October 2009, he played basketball at the White House in a series of games featuring members of Congress on one team and members of the administration, including President Obama, on the other.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 4th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Governor of Washington
| Chair of the Democratic Governors Association
| Governor of Washington
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Vice President
| Order of Precedence of the United States
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Otherwise Paul Ryan
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
as Governor of Montana
| Order of Precedence of the United States
as Governor of Idaho