Asking for a Chance jay inslee - running on green

Governor Jay Inslee of Washington believes saving the environment is a winning issue. The one issue in the current presidential campaign with the currency to touch every aspect of the U.S. economy and therefore every voter.

Before there was a litmus test among the Democratic candidates on the Green New Deal, Inslee was promoting the reduction of carbon pollution and protecting the environment as the key to a bright economic future, job creation, and American leadership in the world.

It is a difficult argument to make, because the connection between the environment and jobs is not apparent to everyone and even if it were the payoff is not immediate. While the news media is always enthralled with long term plans, voters tend to seek candidates promising immediate action and immediate results.

Inslee - a former state legislator, congressman and now governor serving his second term - is finding it difficult to get the attention he needs to attract supporters and the money to deliver his message.

On a Sunday evening in early April, in the small community of Hollis, New Hampshire, he did manage to find about 150 people willing to listen and engage.

As usual, the New Hampshire crowd was both respectful and skeptical. How do you win? How do we beat President Trump? How do you convince Congress to make a huge investment in the green economy? These are some of the questions Inslee graciously answered, but the true measure of the current standing of his campaign came at the end of his hour long discussion.

When asked to provide final thoughts Inslee asked for financial support and for support when pollsters contact Democratic voters over the next few weeks. His first goal is to win a place on the primary debate stage in June and to do so he needs at least 1% of the vote in three public opinion polls or at least 65,000 individual donations.

"If you want to see these issues [climate change] discussed by all the candidates, I need to be on that stage," he told his audience. They seemed inclined to help.

Hollis has a strong local farm economy. If there is one place in New Hampshire where protecting the environment works as a political issues this would be it.

Scenes from Hollis, New Hampshire.

Inslee made clear he stands firmly on the left side of the political spectrum having once lost an election, because of his stand on gun safety issues. He began his remarks by saying the first goal of 2020 is to remove President Trump from office - briefly putting that objective above his own ambition.

More than some of the other candidates, in an unspoken way, Inslee acknowledges his long shot status. But like other candidates who have run through Iowa and New Hampshire in the past he has an issue he wants put on the agenda and this is the best way to do it.

Inslee joked he thinks any of the other candidates would make fine vice presidents, but in fact branding himself as a protector of the environment with a job creation policy approach, might set him up well to serve as energy secretary or environmental protection administrator if Democrats succeed in taking back the White House.

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© Dean Pagani 2019


© Dean Pagani 2019

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