Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington State, has formally thrown his hat in the ring as a candidate for president in 2020. Inslee made the official announcement in a video released on March 1, although he has been hinting at his plans since at least January 2. Inslee, a Democrat, says that he is the “only candidate” who will make defeating climate change his number one priority. Inslee told the Atlantic that there are two “existential threats” facing America today: climate change and economic slow-down. The Washington State governor said he plans to deal with both problems at once, using a combination of incentives and regulations to create a greener economy.
Inslee is relatively unknown, but he says he has a strong record of tackling environmental issues in Washington State. He plans to focus his campaign on global warming.
Inslee and his wife, Trudi, have been married since 1972; the couple says that they made the decision to embark on a life of public service together back in the 1970’s. Here’s what you need to know about Trudi Inslee:
1. Trudi & Jay First Met in High School in Seattle
Trudi and Jay were high school sweethearts who first started dating when they were both students at Ingraham High School in Seattle. Trudi is a Washington State native who went on to Washington State University, where she studied political science and sociology.
Trudi is often described as “down to earth” and “informal.” After Jay became governor of Washington, she set aside her own career to support him. But she told reporters that she and Jay were still living as ordinary a life as possible in the governor’s mansion, doing their own cooking and taking care of their own day-to-day housekeeping.
2. Trudi & Jay Have Three Sons & Were Once Alfalfa Farmers
Trudi and Jay raised their sons in Selah, a rural community in eastern Washington. The family spent several years living in a big old farmhouse in the countryside when the boys were young. The family raised alfalfa on four acres of land, surrounded by apple orchards.
Trudi and Jay say that it was while they lived in Selah that they first started to think about getting inovlved in public service. That’s when they got involved in a campaign to build a new public school in the area. Trudi and Jay are grandparents now, and pride themselves on being close to their family. Jay paints Christmas books for his grandchildren every year; the 2017 books featured him and Trudi as big, colorful bears.
3. Trudi Worked as a Consultant to Non-Profit Publishers
After Jay became governor of Washington State in 2012, Trudi set aside her work as a consultant to non-profit publishers. Instead Trudi, 62 at the time, decided that she would focus on supporting her husband. She told reporters that, although she didn’t plan to be directly involved in policy, she supported Jay’s passion for energy and economic issues.
One of Trudi’s first steps, after moving into the Washington governor’s mansion, was planting a pea patch. She said she envisioned the garden as an education tool as well as a way to bring people together. Trudi said, “Anybody could pick anything they like – take it home and have it for dinner, give it to food banks. If somebody wants to sponsor a patch for a cause, we’ll look into doing that. And serve (the food) here for events. The idea would be to show people where food comes from. You want to show them that food grows on plants and not in plastic sacks.”
4. Trudi Supports Her Husband’s Passion for Energy & the Environment
Jay Inslee has said that global warming will be the key issue in his 2020 presidential run. He has vowed to tackle climate change and the economy together, using a combination of government incentives and regulations to push for a greener economy.
After he became the governor of Washington State, Trudi told reporters that she shares Jay’s passion for energy and the environment. She said that, while she would never become directly involved in policy, she wants to play a role in supporting those issues. Trudi told reporters, “I share his [Jay’s] major passions for energy, environment. I want to promote clean energy, things that help job security and the environment. I’m not restricting myself to any one issue right now. But I don’t get involved with policy.”
5. Trudi Volunteers for NARAL & Planned Parenthood
Trudi has volunteered in a number of causes over the years. She was active in her sons’s schools while they were children. She has also been very involved in causes benefiting women and children who are the victims of violence or homelessness.
Trudi has been a volunteer for NARAL and for Planned Parenthood. She has also worked with Mothers Against Violence in America and with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).