Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Inslee's State Of The State Highlights Partisan Split In Legislature

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
ashington Gov. Jay Inslee gives his annual State of the State speech Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, to a joint session of the Washington legislature in Olympia, Wash.


Washington state is at a crossroads, according to Gov. Jay Inslee.

Those were key themes Tuesday as Inslee delivered his State of the State address before a joint session of the state legislature.

Before Inslee spoke, Chaplain Joel Johnson of the Oso Fire Department offered an opening prayer. He said the deadly landslide that struck his community last March brought people together.

“My hope and my prayer for the rest of the year and for the years to come is that we can continue this sense of unity,” Johnson said.

But once Inslee stepped to the microphone, the political disunity in the chamber was apparent. Republicans mostly did not applaud as Inslee called for more funding for early learning, a transportation package and a new fee on carbon emissions to pay for it.

He also trumpeted his proposed new capital gains tax.

“We can work toward a fairer tax system and we should this session,” the governor said.

That line drew a standing ovation from several Democrats.

Republicans, in their response, said Inslee’s proposed policies threaten economic recovery.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.