About Jay

Governor Inslee

Jay Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who grew up in the Seattle area. His father, Frank, was a high school teacher and coach. His mother worked as a sales clerk at Sears & Roebuck. Jay worked his way through college and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in economics before earning his law degree at Willamette University. He and his wife, Trudi, then moved to Selah where Jay worked as a prosecutor and they raised their three sons.

Jay first became involved in public service in 1985 when he and Trudi helped lead the effort to build a new public high school in Selah. Motivated to fight against proposed funding cuts for rural schools, Jay went on to represent the 14th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives. He continued serving communities in the Yakima Valley when he was elected to Congress in 1992. The Inslees later moved back to the Puget Sound area where Jay was elected to Congress in 1998, serving until 2012.

Jay and Trudi are proud grandparents of three. Besides writing and illustrating books for his grandchildren and sketching scenes from around Washington, Jay is an avid cyclist and charter member of Hoopaholics.

During his time in Congress, Jay became known as a forward-thinking leader, especially on issues of clean energy and the environment. He co-wrote a book, "Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean-Energy Economy," about the job-creating potential of the clean tech industry. As governor, Jay's top priority is growing Washington's innovative industries such as clean energy, IT and life sciences, and strengthening existing industries such as aerospace, agriculture, maritime and military. Since 2013, Washington has experienced a seven-year low in unemployment rates, record exports and notable growth in Washington’s key industries.

To continue growing these industries, Jay knows we must strengthen our schools so we can better equip our children to compete for these good-paying jobs. And we must bring a new culture of efficiency and performance to state government to more efficiently serve the people and businesses throughout Washington state.

During his time as governor, some of Jay’s top accomplishments include:

  • Historic investments in education
    • Largest-ever state investment in early learning
    • All-day kindergarten and smaller class sizes in K-3
    • First-in-the-nation tuition reductions for all college students
    • More than $3 billion in funding for K-12 basic education 
    • Increased financial aid opportunities in higher education
    • Teacher training and mentoring programs 
  • A bipartisan transportation package
    • The 16-year, $16 billion package addresses critical maintenance and safety needs, creates ~200,000 jobs and includes: 
      • More than $1 billion for multi-modal improvements, including transit, bicycle, pedestrian, vanpool and safe routes to school investments
      • Incentives for alternative fuels, making it the greenest transportation investment package in state history 
      • Authorization for Sound Transit to pursue a $15 billion light rail expansion that will create a regional light rail network from Everett to Tacoma 
  • A more efficient and transparent state government 
  • Reinvestment in critical services 
    • Reversed deep budget cuts and invested more than $700 million in mental health funding
    • Enhanced efforts to reduce homelessness including creation of a new Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection
    • Funded more child protective and child welfare service workers 
    • Restored significant funding for state parks
    • Passed prevention and response measures for oil spills along rail lines 
  • Improved health care for Washington 
    • Successful implementation of health care reforms lowered Washington’s uninsured rate to an all-time low of 6 percent 
    • Increased the quality and reduced the cost of health care
  • Climate action
    • Designed a path forward for state government to reduce carbon pollution and improve energy independence with Executive Order 14-04
    • Directed the Dept. of Ecology to develop a Clean Air Rule to cap carbon emissions to continue to reduce pollution in our state
    • Increased the accessibility and affordability of electric vehicles
    • Working with West Coast leaders in the Pacific Coast Collaborative and with leaders around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Overdue cost-of-living increases. The 2015-2017 budget gave state employees and teachers pay raises for the first time since 2008.