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Meet the 2020 Candidate Who's Running on Climate Change

Dad Jokes and climate policy: This is what it’s like to be on the presidential campaign trail with Gov. Jay Inslee.

by Arielle Duhaime-Ross
May 25 2019, 1:43pm

For Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, the Democratic campaign trail is best described as a mix of serious climate policy discussion — and dad jokes. Sometimes it’s both.

"When there is increased flooding due to climate change, that's a problem. But when it shuts down a brewery — that's a national crisis," Inslee told Tim Baldwin, the owner of Front Street Brewery, in Davenport, Iowa. The Brewery was damaged during a devastating flood at the end of April.

Joke aside, Inslee’s campaign strategy boils down to branding himself as the climate change candidate. And for Inslee, that makes sense. He says he cares about climate change, and he’s got the receipts to prove it.

In 2007, Inslee published a book called “Apollo’s Fire,” which discussed a plan that’s similar to the Green New Deal, the current economic strategy backed by most Democrats to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Ten years later, Inslee co-founded the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of American governors who want to stick to the Paris Agreement goals. As governor of Washington, Inslee failed to pass a carbon tax in 2018, but this year, he signed a green energy bill — and even a human composting bill. And now he’s released the most extensive climate plan of any of the current democratic candidates.

VICE News spent two days on the campaign trail with Inslee as he spoke to victims of the flood in Iowa and traveled to Washington, D.C., to announce his climate-focused jobs plan at a wastewater treatment plant.