About Jay

Jay Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who has lived and worked in urban and rural communities on both sides of the state. He grew up in the Seattle area where his father, Frank, was a high school teacher and coach. His mother, Adele, 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, a small town near Yakima where they raised their three sons. Jay worked as an attorney and prosecutor.

Jay and Trudi are now proud grandparents to four active little Inslees. Besides writing and illustrating books for his grandchildren and sketching scenes from around Washington, Jay is an avid cyclist and charter member of Hoopaholics, a youth basketball academy.

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 when he was elected governor. He was re-elected in 2016, and for a historic third term in 2020. 

He is currently the longest serving governor in the United States.

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 a national program to fight climate change through clean energy innovation and job-creation.

As governor, Jay's top priority is growing Washington's innovative industries such as clean energy, information technology and life sciences, and strengthening existing industries such as aerospace, agriculture, maritime and the military. Since 2013, Washington has experienced a 30-year low in unemployment rates and record exports.

Washington has been a leader in the fight against COVID-19 and in protecting and saving lives.

Under his leadership, Washington is consistently the only state that ranks as the best place to work and the best place to do business. Washington has one of the nation’s highest minimum wages, paid sick leave for all workers, a best-in-the-nation paid family leave program, some of the nation’s most rigorous clean air and water standards, and one of the highest union membership rates in the U.S.

Since Jay became governor in 2013, Washington state has expanded voter rights, provided affordable health care to 800,000 more Washingtonians, passed the Reproductive Parity Act, stood up to the president’s Muslim ban, protected LGBTQI Americans from discrimination, raised the minimum wage, passed historic investments in public schools and infrastructure, and created one of the best clean-energy economies in America.

To prepare young Washingtonians for the economy of tomorrow, Jay launched Career Connect Washington, a transformative initiative to help all our students prepare and train for in-demand jobs, whether they choose college, an apprenticeship, mentorship or other post-secondary path.

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

  • Combating climate change, promoting clean air and water and supporting clean energy jobs
    • ​Powered a new path to Washington's clean energy future by requesting and signing an unprecedented suite of clean energy legislation into law, ushering in aggressive timelines for decarbonizing Washington’s economy and transforming the state’s energy landscape. 
    • Reducing carbon pollution. Washington’s legislature has set a target to reduce emissions at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035, and the Department of Ecology has recommended a more ambitious target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2035.
    • Cleanest energy grid in the nation. Clean electricity is the foundation of Washington’s clean energy economy. Inslee's legislation will put Washington on a pathway to carbon-neutral electricity by 2030 and 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.
    • A top state for electric vehicles. Thanks to our state’s clean electric grid, transitioning to EVs means big reductions in carbon pollution. Inslee’s proposal continues to promote electric vehicles and ferries and will ensure electric and zero-emission vehicle options are a more affordable and convenient option for consumers. 
    • Energy efficient buildings and utilities. Retrofitting old buildings and updating standards for new ones is the fastest and cheapest way to cut carbon emissions. It yields tremendous cost-savings and creates good-paying jobs. Inslee's plan also sets efficiency standards for natural gas to ensure utilities continue to meet conservation requirements. 
    • Reducing super pollutants. Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are greenhouse gases that can be thousands of times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide. Climate-safe alternatives are available. The package supports legislation to phase out use of HFCs in Washington state.
    • Made Washington among the top states for use of renewable energy due to the expansion of solar and wind energy.
  • Protecting Washington’s orca and salmon populations through numerous efforts to prevent oil spills and reduce toxic substances.
    • Work with West Coast leaders and global partners through multiple partnerships, including the Pacific Coast CollaborativeOcean Acidification Alliance and the Under2 Coalition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy jobs.
    • Implemented a Clean Air Rule to cap carbon emissions.
    • Co-founded and co-chaired the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance, a  21-governor coalition working to uphold U.S. goals under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 
    • Electrified the state’s transportation system, including support for more electric vehicles and electrifying our ferries. Washington remains among the top three states for zero-emission vehicle penetration, and the state is helping to lead that trend through its aggressive procurement policy.
    • Ensured that regulatory review of proposed energy projects includes a comprehensive analysis of greenhouse gas impacts.
    • Invested more than $76 million in projects that support clean energy research and development, grid modernization, energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment, and clean energy manufacturing in the state. 
    • Reduced use of coal and fossil fuels with Executive Order 14-04, which includes a commitment to phase out electricity imported from coal-fired sources.
    • Enacted one of the most aggressive electric vehicle and charging station initiatives in the nation, making Washington one of the top three states for electric vehicle adoption. 
  • Investing in an education system that sets up all students for success, from early learning to career training
    • Created free college for qualifying students through legislation that guarantees financial aid for more than 110,000 qualified students in Washington to attend college for free or at a discounted rate.
    • Tackled the decade-long struggle to fully fund basic education and reinvesting billions of new dollars into our K-12 schools so they can hire and retain good teachers, provide mentoring for new educators, and provide ample support for students.
    • Enacted unprecedented expansion of early learning and all-day kindergarten.
    • Made Washington one of the top five states for increased higher education funding, the first-in-the-nation tuition reductions for all college students in 2015 and the most robust financial aid program in the nation.
    • Launched the transformative Career Connect Washington initiative to help all students find a pathway to in-demand jobs through apprenticeships, mentorships, and other career-connected opportunities. The initiative was expanded in 2019 to increase capacity for high-demand degrees such as computer science, engineering and nursing and funds the Guided Pathways program at community and technical colleges that redesign program delivery with the goal of increasing student completions and connection to careers
  • Promoting a strong economy and a valued workforce
  • Civil rights and justice reform
    • Signed the Equal Pay Opportunity Act which makes it easier to hold employers accountable for providing equal pay and promotion opportunities to all employees
    • Signed the bipartisan DREAM Act to give every aspiring young Washingtonian a chance to go to college regardless of where they were born.
    • Signed one of the nation’s most comprehensive Access to Democracy Packages that makes it easier to register and vote including a state Voting Rights Act, automatic voter registration and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds.
    • Promoted the rights of the LGBTQI community through policies to ban conversion therapy, provide a way for non-binary individuals to change their gender on their birth certificates, ensuring transgender individuals are not discriminated against for health coverage, and more.
    • Enacted a death penalty moratorium based on the unequal application of capital punishment.
    • Implemented Washington’s recreational marijuana market, including the launch of the Marijuana Justice Initiative that offers pardons to thousands of individuals with misdemeanor marijuana conviction​.
  • Data-driven and transparent state government