WASHINGTON — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he joined the 2020 presidential race so he would be able to tell his grandchildren he did “everything humanly possible to defeat climate change.”
In an interview with BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM on Tuesday, Inslee said he still hopes for a full debate on climate change. The Democratic National Committee has told him it is not planning on dedicating a debate to climate change, but Inslee said hundreds of thousands of voices are calling for the debate.
“I’m the only candidate in the race who is saying that [climate change] has to be the first priority of the new president. If it’s not job one, it won’t get done,” Inslee said.
Inslee said “I suppose” when asked if he is willing to be arrested for climate change activism, but said being elected president would likely be more successful. He added that people are stepping up to make change, including young leaders of Friday climate strikes.
“We know this is our last chance to literally save this little blue planet from this catastrophe, and the Democratic Party is the only party who can produce a candidate to do that,” Inslee said.
When asked if he would give up beer if it helped the environment, Inslee said we need both beer and a healthy planet. “Climate change is a problem, but when breweries are drowned out, that’s a crisis, and we have a crisis right now,” he said.
BuzzFeed News previously asked all of the presidential candidates whether they support decriminalizing sex work. At the time, Inslee’s campaign did not respond. But on Tuesday he told AM to DM that “the federal government should not intrude” on sex work, arguing it should be left up to the states. (New York just introduced legislation to decriminalize sex work statewide.) “I’m not proposing any federal changes in law,” Inslee said.
Inslee focused instead on health care — saying sex workers “and everybody else” need access to quality health care — and human trafficking.
“The women, and they are principally women who are involved in this, need to be treated as victims rather than perpetrators,” Inslee said. “And I do believe the law enforcement community needs to change the orientation where the real perpetrators, which frankly are 90% men, those need to be the people involved in the law enforcement activity, not the women who are victimized, very frequently, including in slavery and trafficking.
“I will maintain, today, yesterday, and tomorrow, I’m going to be fighting for the rights of women,” Inslee added.
Inslee said he wants to bring the successes he has achieved as governor of Washington to the people of America, mentioning environment, health care, and reproductive rights as areas of change.
“I believe we need to change our health care laws [to] where everyone has access to health care,” Inslee said.
He said his state is expanding health care and moving toward making it a universal right, which is something he would like to bring to the federal level. Inslee also said the right to abortion should be a civil right and part of a statute instead of relying on a Supreme Court decision.