March 12 (UPI) -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee pledges to make climate change the top priority of his 2020 presidential campaign.
In a video posted to YouTube on March 1, Inslee suggests climate change is responsible for extreme weather conditions, flooding, smog and wildfires and that investing in clean and renewable energy could reduce carbon pollution and create more jobs.
"We're the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we're the last that can do something about it," Inslee said in the video. "I am the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our No. 1 priority."
In Washington, he has created a Clean Energy Fund that has invested more than $100 million in developing clean energy technologies and growing clean energy businesses and jobs.
In 2007, he co-authored a book calling for the United States to move away from the use of fossil fuels.
More recently, he has challenged Trump on environmental regulation rollbacks and the move to ban refugees from mostly Muslim nations.
In January, Inslee pardoned several thousand people convicted of misdemeanor marijuana charges before recreational pot became legal in the state.
He also had to declare a state of emergency over a measles outbreak in the state.
Before becoming governor, Inslee served in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he voted against the Iraq War in 2003, against the repeal of Glass Steagall Act, which regulated banking, in 1999. He became one of Congress' earliest proponents of net neutrality.
Inslee is the fifth generation in his family to live in Washington state. He grew up in the Seattle area, where his father, Frank, worked as a high school teacher and coach, and his mother as a sales clerk at Sears. He graduated the University of Washington with an economics degree, then earned a law degree at Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
He returned to Washington with his wife, Trudi, and lived in a small town near Yakima, Wash., where they raised their three sons. Now the couple have three grandchildren.
Inslee is an avid cyclist and hiker.
He first became involved in public service in 1985 when he and his wife led an effort to build a new public high school. He went onto serve in the state legislature and was elected to Congress from the Fourth District in Eastern Washington in 1992. He later moved back to the Seattle area, where he was elected to Congress in 1998 and served until 2012, when he was elected as governor.
On the issues
Inslee has supported minimum-wage increases, higher taxes on the wealthy and businesses, raises for teachers and state government employees and has called for an end to the death penalty.
The Washington state Supreme Court ended the state's death penalty in October of last year.
Inslee praised the move having declared a moratorium on the state's death penalty inf 2015, saying at the time it was clear to him that use of capital punishment was inconsistent and unequal.
He has taken a strong stance on environmental issues throughout his time as governor, from setting a high bar for deployment of electric vehicles to being a vocal critic of offshore drilling.
Inslee also has spoken out against discrimination against women and signed four bills aimed at protecting women in the workplace since the #MeToo movement gained momentum in 2017.