Inslee formally kicks off governor campaign
Monday, June 27, 2011
Inslee plans Vancouver kickoff event
U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, a Bainbridge Island Democrat who announced his candidacy for governor Monday in Seattle, will hold a rally at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at Christensen Shipyard in Vancouver, according to Clark County Democratic Chair Kathy Lawrence.
Vancouver will be one of several stops on Inslee’s schedule as he kicks off his campaign with appearances around the state. He was the keynote speaker at the Clark County Democrats’ Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on June 11.
The shipyard is at 4400 S.E. Columbia Way, south of Highway 14.
SEATTLE (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee said Monday that he wants to serve as Washington's governor so that he can overhaul the state's economy by harnessing innovation and aspiring to develop new technologies.
Inslee said the state hasn't done enough to build research centers that could be a hub for future jobs, and he suggested using state pension dollars to invest in start-up firms. The Democrat said he understands the state workforce because he's done a range of jobs -- from driving bulldozers, to practicing law to teaching community college classes.
"It is time to build a working Washington," said Inslee, who has spent more than a decade in Congress serving a district that covers the northern suburbs of Seattle. "If we are going to do this, we need a leader who truly understands the economic challenges of the people of the state of Washington."
Like his prospective Republican opponent, Attorney General Rob McKenna, Inslee also suggested that state government can be streamlined. Without providing specifics, Inslee said he'd like to see a review of government operations to find out what can be improved.
Unlike McKenna, however, Inslee said he was open to the possibility of raising tax revenues by eliminating a tax deduction for out-of-state banks.
Inslee launched his campaign for governor from a biotech firm in Seattle that focuses on alternative energy -- an issue that Inslee has championed for years in Congress. He planned to campaign later Monday in the Yakima Valley before additional stops in Tacoma, Vancouver and Spokane on Tuesday.
One of Inslee's chief ideas to spur job growth was to open up resources for start-up companies who are currently starved for cash. He suggested using a small amount of state pension money to support these businesses -- an investment that is typically risky -- and grow new industries. He declined to say how much money he would commit to such a program.
Inslee also argued that he could reform the economy by establishing high-tech clusters that can partner research institutions with private industry -- something done in states like Texas and North Carolina.
"Frankly, we haven't done this very well in the state of Washington," Inslee said.
While Republicans have tried to paint Inslee as a too-liberal candidate, Inslee staked out a moderate position on one of the issues that could join him on the ballot in 2012: marijuana. Inslee said he wasn't ready to support the idea of marijuana decriminalization of marijuana, although he'd like to see law enforcement reprioritize away from it and change at the federal level to ensure that the state's medical marijuana a law isn't threatened.
Inslee, who lives on Bainbridge Island, has represented Washington's 1st Congressional District since 1999. He first entered state politics by serving four years in the Legislature and one term in Congress in the early 1990s before losing in a rematch to current 4th District Rep. Doc Hastings in the Republican wave of 1994.
This isn't Inslee's first gubernatorial run: He lost the Democratic nomination in 1996 to eventual winner Gary Locke.
Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire has said she will not seek a third term.
Although he's been in politics for much of his career, and Democrats have held on to the governor's mansion for more than a quarter of a century, Inslee used his speech to cast himself as an outsider. He said state government has too many levels and is slow to reform -- he used the term "ossified" -- and indicated that McKenna may be an insider who won't have the tools to reform.
"I think we need some new blood in Olympia, and I will be committed to bringing that new blood to Olympia," Inslee said. "Having not been there as part of Olympia, I think it will be a little easier for me to get that job done."