KCTS 9 Connects/Inslee's Run for Governor - March 23, 2012

CNX: Inslee for Governor 3/23/12
  • KCTS 9 Connects

Inslee's Run for Governor

Host Enrique Cerna talks with democrat Jay Inslee as he discusses his decision to leave Congress to focus full-time on his bid to be Washington state's next Governor.

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About the Episode

Democrat Jay Inslee joins us in the studio to discuss his decision to leave Congress to focus full-time on his bid to be Washington state's next Governor. Then University of Washington Election Eye 2012 team members join us with insight into how same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization, and social media will affect the Governor's race.

Chapter 1: Interview with Jay Inslee

Chapter 2: UW Election Eye 2012

Chapter 3: Insiders Roundtable

UW Election Eye 2012 Links:
Read blog post on same-sex marriage in Washington state
Read blog post on Ron Paul and youth in Washington state
Read blog post on young people and political engagement in Washington state
Read blog post on social issues in Washington state

Enrique Cerna:
Tuesday was Jay Inslee's last day as Washington state's first district congressman. After serving seven terms, the democrat announced recently that he would leave congress to concentrate on his run for Governor. And our former congressman is here to talk about that decision and other issues in his run for Governor. Welcome, good to have you here.

Jay Inslee:
Yeah, beautiful day.

Enrique:
Yeah, it is.

Inslee:
About time.

Enrique:
About time is right. Well, the decision to leave congress to focus now on the campaign full time, why did you decide to do it now? Why did you decide to do it, period?

Inslee:
Well, it was a hard decision, but it's the right decision and people are very excited about it. Because it allows me to be all into this race, to commit everything I've got, and I'm going to put everything on the field in this race. And it has allowed me to get around the state already to talk about our job creation plan for the state of Washington. I was down at Martinak ship building the other day. They're going to build hydro electric tugs. I was in south King County talking to the C&G company that our efforts to do clean transportation. They have a way to convert cars to natural gas and it's much cleaner this way. So this is very exciting. Because it allows me to get around the state, I want to listen to everyone's ideas. I want to know if people have a problem, I want to know it. If they run a business, I want to help them grow it. So this is allowing me to get around the state and really do this full time. And I'm all in this race.

Enrique:
So you know this already, you've gotten some criticism already about this decision and making this decision. Our friend, Joel Connelly, Seattlepi.com columnist said this. He said the democrat gubernatorial candidate is going out as Alaska Governor Sarah Palin did in 2009, seeking greener pastures, leaving an important office entrusted to him by the voters. Representing 600,000 people a month in the people's house of congress. How do you respond to that?

Inslee:
Well, I'm not in the job of selling newspapers. I'm in the job of helping people get jobs. And this is the best way to do that, which is really to have a Governor candidate focus full time across the state of Washington to help people get jobs. There's 285,000 people out of work. That's what's on my mind. And what was on my mind when I made this hard decision. It was a really hard decision, but it's not a stranger to me, it was a hard decision when I voted against the Iraq war. It was a hard decision when I voted against the deregulation of wall street, but time has proved those hard decisions correct. I think the same is true here. As far as the timing, we made the decision, we did want to avoid having to have voters pay a million dollars for an extra vote that would, election, that would not take place otherwise. So we thought that's probably what the voters would have wanted. But now, we are on a course for the future, to get a job creation program installed in this state. I'm confident that's what the people of this state want. And that's what I'm hearing on the street, frankly. People are very excited on this campaign trail. Down at Columbia City the other day talking to small business people about how our plan to help small business growth is really gonna help this development of this incredible little neighborhood down in Columbia City. So we're getting good reviews from the people that count, and that's the people that I represent.

Enrique:
You're getting obviously hit on this now, and kind of have been for the last two weeks, being criticized for this, do you think it will blow over?

Inslee:
Well, all I can report is what people are telling me. Look, when I was at Martinak shipping company, helping them create a hundred jobs, so that they can build more tugs for the navy, they were talking about the jobs I can help them get. Not some decision and folks in the newspapers. When I was, you know, Marysville up at the silicon energy company, where they make the world's most durable solar panels, which is something to be proud of, they were talking about how my plan can help them grow jobs in the clean energy system. Last night when I was at the biotechnology forum for the board of directors for the biotechnology, huge industry, we're going to grow it here in Washington state. We can really lead the world in biotechnologies. We talked for an hour and a half, this issue didn't come up. What came up is my plan, and frankly their joy in my plan, that I have a plan to help the university of Washington spin off new technologies, grow new biotechnology companies, that's what they were interested in. So I think this is going to do well for us and it's going to do well for the state, so we can grow jobs in the state.

Enrique:
Some of the recent polls have shown that you're trailing. There was one more democratic poll that showed you kind of neck and neck. Are you looking now for this to really boost your campaign, to give it a kick start so that you could make up ground if you have to make up ground.

Inslee:
No. Look, I entered a race that was competitive at the beginning, and it's competitive now, and it's going to probably be competitive right down to the end. But I'm comfortable with that. I'm a competitor. I'm used to being in competitive races. I've beat republicans in quite a number of occasions in competitive races. So I'm not daunted by that at all. I'm going to run full time. That's the right way to do it. And I'm going to go across the state from Starbuck to Sequim and Humptulips to Hoquiam. And I've already covered some ground last week. And we feel good about the position. And I think fundamentally, which candidate has the vision to create jobs in this state? Which candidate has the experience to help create jobs in this state? And all of my experience is going to be very attractive to people, helping win a contract for Boeing, my work for the biotechnology companies, helping companies grow right here, about a half mile from here at the south end of Lake Union. My experience of helping the clean energy companies grow and software. The fact that I've done well helping the software and computer industry growth. This ultimately is what's going to win this race, frankly. And I'm offering that vision to the state of Washington. And I feel very confident about that.

Enrique:
Do you feel like he's better known?

Inslee:
It could be. This other person is better known, statewide office. Better known, starts with that advantage. Look, I've overcome a lot of advantages. In Yakima, I beat a republican, and a republican when I ran in Yakima in 1992, I beat a republican in 1998, it was an incumbent. I'm used to being in competitive races. And as I said, that brings out the juices and that will be good for the state of Washington.

Enrique:
Rob McKenna has indicated that he's not so sure that light rail on I 90 is actually, it's something that he wasn't so sure of before, but he kind of reiterated again that it is a workable thing. He's also concerned about the accountability of sound transit. Where are you on these issues?

Inslee:
Look, if we're going to grow jobs in this state, if we are going to grow our economy, and that's the fundamental need to have a Governor who understands the necessity of that fundamental growth, the next Governor, we have to have, one, both the vision, and the ability to move forward on transportation. There's no other option. And this ability to grow a light rail system across lake Washington is absolutely fundamental to economic growth in western and Washington and the entire state. It's actually a state wide issue to reduce congestion in this region. If we're going to grow jobs, we have to have a better transportation system. And we have to move in this direction, which is forward. And I am flabbergasted, frankly, that the other person running for this office has basically said he's opposed to moving light rail across Lake Washington. This has been embraced by huge majorities of our voters. People know that we have to make progress by increasing access to public education. And I am the candidate in this race and the only candidate in this race who's committed to doing that. And that is fundamental to economic growth. So we'll be talking about that more this afternoon with many leaders, including people on the east side of Lake Washington, and Bellevue, and Redmond, who know how necessary this is. We need a Governor who's going to provide the leadership on transportation.

Enrique:
Two quick questions and then we're out of time here almost. And that is two hot button initiatives, or two hot button issues going to be on the ballot. One for sure, that is I-502, marijuana legalization. How are you going to vote on that?

Inslee:
Well, I'm in favor of medical marijuana, I've been actually resisting the Obama administration who's not allowing us to move forward. So I'm in favor of making sure people have access to medical marijuana, not comfortable voting for that initiative. That's my position.

Enrique:
And Referendum 74, which still needs to gather the signatures, which is aiming to repeal the same sex marriage legislation that was signed into law. Where do you stand on that?

Inslee:
I've been fully supportive of marriage equality. And the reason is I've been in a great 39 year marriage, and it is my fundamental belief that no politician of any party should be able to prevent any of my fellow citizens from making their own decisions about who they love and who they marry. And that marriage equality issue I think is very, very consistent with our state values of openness and tolerance, and respect for one another and privacy. So I'm supporting that all the way. Back the first time I ran for Governor of the state of Washington, I have supported marriage equality. This is a state that moves forward. We move forward on transportation, we move forward on technology, we move forward on our value of openness and acceptance of one another. And I'm proud to be the candidate offering that position.

Enrique:
Thank you for being here.

Inslee:
Thank you.

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