OLYMPIA, Wash. — In his State of the State address Tuesday, Governor Inslee invoked the memory of a movie star as he challenged the legislature to take bold action.
Governor Inslee entered this joint session of the legislature with clear Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate.
And he quoted Washington native martial arts actor Bruce Lee as he urged them to keep the state moving forward, “He said, 'There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.'”
First on the governor’s list, fighting climate change. That means phasing in 100 percent clean electricity and a clean standard for fuels like gasoline.
He also called for hundreds of millions of dollars more for mental health facilities and the counselors needed to staff them.
And he wants a billion dollars for work aimed at saving the Puget Sound resident orcas.
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“So, when your grandchildren ask what you did to protect them from climate change, you can tell them you weren't sitting around saying it was someone else's problem. You took action,” Inslee said.
Democrats embraced the speech. “He understands where our state is and where we need to go,” said Seattle Representative Gael Tarleton.
Republicans point out one thing missing in the governor's speech-- the new Capital Gains and Business and Occupation taxes he's asking for to pay for it all.
“It's just another Christmas list that Inslee has put out,” said Representative Jacquelin Maycumber of Republic.
Auburn Representative Drew Stokesbary noted that Inslee is actively considering a run for president, “It was a list of things he wants to do, things that might be popular amongst Democratic primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, let’s say.”
But this year, Republicans are at a disadvantage, because the Democrats have clear majorities in both houses.
Asked if Republicans can stop Inslee’s agenda, Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler responded, “If the general population doesn't agree with this, they are going to tell us about it. Our job is to say no to bad ideas and lead with better ones.”