Jay Inslee was sworn in as Washington’s 23rd governor today and delivered his inaugural address to a joint session of the Legislature in Olympia.
Inslee said job creation was the state’s “top priority today, tomorrow, and every day for the next four years” and Washington “must move swiftly to put the recession behind us.
“A new world economy is emerging from the depths of this recession, and while its contours and relationships are not fully understood to us, we do know two things,” added Inslee. “One: with our uniquely powerful fusion of values and talents, Washington State has the potential to lead the next wave of world-changing innovations. Two: the world will not wait for us.”
Inslee took the oath of office in the rotunda of the Legislative Building, surrounded by hundreds of friends, family members, and citizens from throughout the state. The oath is historically given during a joint session of the Legislature, but the governor moved it to the rotunda to include more Washingtonians. In attendance at today’s ceremonies were Inslee’s wife, Trudi, his three sons and two grandchildren.
He was introduced by Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation and a principal founder of Earth Day, who described the economic challenges facing the state and the opportunities to lead in innovative new industries such as clean energy. “When I’ve spoken with Jay about what he intends to accomplish while governor, he speaks with excitement and conviction about his vision for a sustainable, prosperous Washington that will be a model for the world,” said Hayes.
In his inaugural speech, Inslee touched on a range of timely issues including gun violence and school safety. He emphasized the need for more STEM education, saying subjects like science, technology, engineering and math are to the next generation what the three Rs were to his generation. He described his intent to bring “disruptive change” to Olympia to make government more efficient and the need to implement cost-saving health care reforms.
There were also specific requests Inslee made to the Legislature. He asked for legislators to pass the Reproductive Parity Act, help craft a bipartisan, multi-modal transportation package that includes trains, light rail, buses and bikes, and harness the economic opportunities of tackling climate change. “There is no challenge greater for Washington, with more opportunity for job growth and more suited to our particular brand of genius and ingenuity, than leading the world’s clean energy economy,” said Inslee.