Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday that he will not be seeking a fourth term in office.
Inslee, who has served as governor since 2013, is the nation’s longest serving current governor.
He is the second Washington state governor to serve three consecutive terms; Republican Dan Evans was the first. Washington has no term limits for governor.
“Our last decade of Washington’s storied history is one of growth and innovation. I am proud to have played a role in our state’s leadership on so many fronts. We’ve passed the nation’s best climate policies, the most successful family leave benefits, the best college scholarship programs, a more fair legal justice system, and the most protective actions against gun violence. We’ve shown that diversity is a strength worth fighting for. This has been ten years of dynamic success,” he said.
“As governor, I have seen my role as inspiring our state ever forward and ever higher. I’m gratified to be able to say that this approach has worked to improve Washingtonians lives in many ways and many places,” Inslee said in a statement.
“Now is the time to intensely focus on all we can accomplish in the next year and a half, and I intend to do just that. I look forward to continued partnership with legislators and community leaders to address Washington’s homelessness crisis, speed our efforts to expand behavioral health services, continue our fight against climate change, and continue making Washington a beacon of progress for all,” he concluded.
In fact, Washington is right behind California when it comes to its number of residents living outside with no shelter — the second highest homeless population in the country by state.
Among cities, only New York City and the Los Angeles metro had more homeless people than Seattle and King County last year, when more than 250 people died on the streets and in the woods of King County, setting a record, according to KUOW. Hypothermia was the leading cause of those deaths.
Inslee highlighted what he sees as his achievements since 2013. In his words, they are:
- Passing nation-leading climate policies to drive down emissions and invest more equitably in overburdened communities.
- Establishing the state’s Clean Energy Fund to promote development and deployment of clean energy technologies.
- Passing the Clean Energy Transformation Act to achieve 100% clean power by 2045; Climate Commitment Act to establish a cap-and invest program with strong equity provisions; clean buildings policies to reduce emissions in homes and offices; and clean fuels and clean transportation policies to electrify the state’s ferries and promote electric vehicles.
- Establishing Washington state as a sub-national leader on climate by co-founding the U.S. Climate Alliance, Ocean Acidification Alliance, and America is All In, and helping lead the Pacific Coast Collaborative and Under2 Coalition.
- Improving equity across Washington’s legal justice system.
- Prioritizing more diverse judicial appointments.
- Establishing a Marijuana Justice Initiative to clear misdemeanor conviction records.
- Placing a moratorium on Washington’s death penalty – a position that was ultimately affirmed by the state Supreme Court due to its unequal and racially biased application, and subsequently struck from state law.
- Establishing a statewide effort to improve reentry services for people transitioning from incarceration into the community.
- Promoting policies that consistently rank Washington among the best states for business and for workers, thanks to the state’s strong economy and workforce as well as programs for working families such as paid family leave, a high minimum wage, and the new Working Families Tax Credit.
- Taking decisive measures to protect the health and safety of Washingtonians during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in one of the lowest death rates in the country.
- Fully funding Washington’s K-12 education system for the first time in over a decade as determined by the McCleary case, and expanding financial aid to make Washington’s program among the most generous in the nation.
- Enacting the nation’s most generous paid family and medical leave program, offering up to 16 weeks of paid leave for every working Washingtonian.
- Providing more affordable health care options to all Washingtonians by making Washington one of the 10 leading states for fully implementing the Affordable Care Act and expanding eligibility for Medicaid. Inslee continues to promote policies to strengthen access to health care such as requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, creating a low-cost “public option” style insurance plan known as Cascade Care, and capping insulin costs to $35 per month.
- Helping to establish Washington as a leader in gun violence prevention by banning bump stocks, high capacity magazines, “ghost guns,” and assault weapons sales, as well as requiring safety training and a 10-day waiting period prior to purchase and enhancing accountability for manufacturers and retailers.
- Pushing back on Republican efforts to roll back abortion rights and gender-affirming care by strengthening legal protections for providers and patients and expanding access.
- Promoting diversity and belonging as one of Washington’s strengths by welcoming refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine; holding the first-ever raising of the Juneteenth and Pride flags at the Capitol; and establishing a new statewide Office of Equity, as well as a new LGBTQ Commission and Women’s Commission.