Gov. Jay Inslee is in New Hampshire today, testing the waters in the early primary state for a potential run for president in 2020. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins is covering the trip, and talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick from across the country at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.
Jenkins said the stop on his East Coast stay is a vital one.
“I’m sitting in the ballroom here, and all of the walls are adorned with candidates who have stopped in Manchester over the many decades,” Jenkins said. “This is a must-stop for candidates who are pondering or actively pursuing a presidential candidacy.”
The Democratic governor arrived at the institute around 8:30 a.m. New Hampshire time, speaking to a group of about 40 students for about 45 minutes. Much of the talk centered on climate change, “setting up the problem as he sees it,” Jenkins said.
“He really believes the country is at a tipping point, the world is at a tipping point, with this issue,” he said, adding that Inslee believes the solution can lead to jobs and opportunity.
“For all the things you do, and no matter how long you live, if you look back today and think this is how I started on my mission to defeat climate change, you’re gonna feel really good about yourself,” Inslee told the crowd. “Because there’s really nothing better we can do for our society right now.”
Jenkins noted that the governor spent most of his time talking climate change, and not a lot of time talking about a potential run for president.
That’s because it’s his main issue.
“It’s his signature issue, it has been for decades,” Jenkins said. “He really thinks it can distinguish him from a very crowded Democratic field.”
Many of the students said after the speech said they’d never heard of him before. One student told Jenkins she could see herself voting for him because of his record on climate change action. Another suggested the Washington governor could be a “one-trick pony.”
Listen to the full conversation above.