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April 1, 2019 - Gov. Jay Inslee declared, "If I'm given this high honor as president of the United States, I'm going to make defeating climate change the number one priority of the United States of America."
Jay Inslee—Transcript of Opening Remarks

Good afternoon, I'm Jay Inslee and I'm in love with We the People, because we the people is all about forming a more perfect union, right, that's what started the Constitution. And if we're going to have a more perfect union, we gotta get rid of a really imperfect president, that's what we got a new.

And I want to have a chance to talk with you on two things in my first comments. First, I want to talk to you about why I think this is a very unique moment in American history. And second, I want to talk to you about the real Washington where things actually get done. And that's Washington State.

Now I'd like to tell you why I think this is a unique moment.

It is a unique moment because we are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change. And we are the last generation that can do something about it.

And I'm telling you today, that if I'm given this high honor as president of the United States, I'm going to make defeating climate change the number one priority of the United States of America.

And the reason, the reason I'm going to do that is because we know this is an urgent matter. Our people's homes are burning down, our forests are burning down, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri is flooded, Miami is underwater, Houston is flooded; in Seattle, we had so much smoke from the fires last year, kids can't go outside because of unhealthy air quality.

And we know this, if we're going to do something about that. We got to get up every single morning, the next couple years, making sure that we deny a climate denier the right to have a second term. That's the single most important thing we've got to do.

Now we know about this peril; it is a matter of scientific certainty. And I believe that we need a president who believes in gravity and climate science both the same time. And I'm a candidate who has long believed that. I-co authored a book on this subject, 2007.

I helped form the U.S. Climate Alliance, which now has 21 states, with Jerry Brown. We got 21 states, that are dedicated to the Paris Agreement. And the reason we did that is we want the rest of the world to know there is intelligent life in United States of America.

And we have been successful. We have been successful in this regard, because the rest of world is not following Donald Trump off the climate change cliff. Now, we know this is a moment of great peril, but we also know it is a moment of great promise. And we should celebrate the fact that clean energy jobs today, across United States, are growing twice as fast as the rest of the U.S. economy.

Now Donald Trump doesn't understand this. We understand this. I got into a little bit of a tiff with Meghan McCain on "The View" last week when she was saying Democrats want to take away our planes and our railroads and our cars. And I pointed out that that day in my driveway was a shiny blue, new General Motors Volt all-electric car built by American workers in Orion, Michigan.

That is a destiny. That is the kind of job creation destiny that we know we can put the work across United States. The fastest growing job today in America: solar installer. Second: wind turbine technician. We're building wind turbines in Iowa, we're building electric cars in Michigan, we're building batteries for electric cars in Las Vegas. We're building carbon fiber bodies, carbon fiber to go into electric cars in my state, we're doing biofuels in Grays Harbor, Washington. The destiny of the United States is to lead the world in a clean energy revolution. I believe that is the destiny of the United States now.

Now why am I confident we get this done?

I'll tell you why I'm confident we get this done. It's because of the things I'm doing in my state. We get things done in my state we just don't talk about it.

We know that the main thing we got to do is raise people's wages in this country, so that people can feed their kids, and that's why I'm happy to stand as the governor with the highest minimum wage United States tied with Massachusetts.

I'm glad, I'm happy to stand with you as a governor when the Janus decision came out, attacking working people's union rights, I went to work with union leaders to make sure that people still had a right to organize in our state employees, and I'm happy to tell you in Washington State union employment is up 10% since the Janus decision came out.

I'm happy, I'm happy because it's not just wages, we gotta have people's ability to be with their families. We understand that value system in my state. So we went to work, and I'm happy to be the governor with the single best paid and family medical leave law in the United States of America.  Our people deserve this; our people deserve this.

Our people deserve—talk about families. You know reproductive freedom is a family issue. It is a liberty issue. It is a civil rights issue. And I'm glad to be a governor got what I believe is the best reproductive parity act in the United States so women truly have access to health care, so they can exercise their constitutional liberties. That's what we're doing in Washington State. Now, we know a few other things in Washington State.

Sometimes you need to stand up and be counted in times that are tough. I did that 1994 when I was a freshman congressman from a red Republican agricultural area. And we just needed a few more votes to pass the assault weapon bill.

People told me you might get beat if you do that, and I said, I don't care. No congressman's seat is more valuable than any kid's life. And I voted for that assault weapon bill.  And I lost my seat and I never regretted it. I never regretted it, and I'll tell you why. Because today I can stand in front of you in DC as governor of the state of Washington, that has passed three major gun safety measures. We are standing up to the NRA. We are beating the NRA. We are developing common sense gun safety in my state.

And another thing we believe in in our state is everybody gets a shot and diversity is a strength, not a weakness. Tolerance is a virtue, not a weakness. That's why we have started to do criminal justice reform, because we know the criminal justice system has had so much racial disparity in it. And I'm happy to tell you that I'm the first governor who has not only legalized marijuana, we need do that nationally, but I've offered pardons to 3,500 people so they can clear their records and get a job and feed their family.

And I'm glad we gotta, we're getting rid of the death penalty, I'm glad we ban the box, and I'm happy to tell you, I'm happy to tell you I was a first governor stand up against Donald Trump's Muslim ban. I'm proud of that. We've got to do some more work.

I'll just finish with this. I'll just finish with this. I cannot wait to get on the stage with Donald Trump, and I'll tell you why.

He does not reflect who we are as Americans; he is a pessimistic, insecure, non confident individual. We know America. We are optimists. We are can-do people; we invent, we build, we create.

We don't fear the world; we lead it.

We don't fear challenges we embrace them.

We don't fear the future; we go build it. That's what we're going to build. Next, 2020, to get a new president. I look forward to this discussion. Thanks a lot. Let's keep talking. Thank you.

Cherie Terhark, a single mom of three, who lives in Poplarville, Mississippi. She works at a federally-contracted call center in Bogalusa, Louisiana operated by a company called Maximus.  She is a key leader in CWA’s campaign to organize for justice at Maximus: "...As president will you ensure the federal government set a good example to all employers by ensuring all their contractors honor the democratic organizing right of their employees, so that we have a voice to negotiate family supporting wages?"

Alan Parry, a lawyer and father from Chapel Hill, North Carolina [Sierra Club]: "...If you're elected president, what will you do to preserve the legitimacy of our federal courts and the legitimacy of the judicial selection process and to ensure that progressive, fair-minded judges are added to the bench?"

Kareena Rios, a member of Casa in Action and of Center for Popular Democracy Action from Lancaster, Pennsylvania: "...What steps will you take to ensure the right to self-determination of the Puerto Rican people and a permanent, fair and transparent process to end 121 years of U.S. colonialism in  Puerto Rico?  Also, are you committed to passing a Marshall Plan to rebuild Puerto Rico that provides clear guidelines on community oversight and can ensure that Puerto Rican people have a voice in their government?"

Cherie Terhark.
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