Rep. Jay Inslee (D)
Elected: 1998, 7th term.
Born: Feb. 9, 1951, Seattle .
Home: Bainbridge Island.
Education: Stanford U., 1969-70, U. of WA, B.A. 1973, Willamette U., J.D. 1976..
Family: Married (Trudi); 3 children.
Elected office: WA House of Reps., 1988-92; U.S. House of Reps., 1992-94.
Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1976-92, 1995-96; Regional dir., U.S. Dept. of H.H.S., 1997-98.
The congressman from Washington’s 1st Congressional District is Jay Inslee, a Democrat elected in 1998. Inslee grew up in north Seattle, the son of a high school biology teacher and football coach. He graduated from the University of Washington and Willamette School of Law. He moved to Selah, in Yakima County east of the Cascades, to practice law and served on the State Trial Lawyers board of directors. In 1988, at age 37, he was elected to the state House over a former Yakima mayor. In 1992, when 4th District Congressman Sid Morrison ran for governor, Inslee won the general election to succeed him 51%-49% over Doc Hastings, a conservative supported by the Christian Coalition. In the House, Inslee voted for the Clinton budget and tax increase and for a crime bill with a ban on assault weapons. In 1994, Hastings challenged Inslee and beat him, 53%-47%. After his defeat, Inslee moved to Bainbridge Island and practiced law in Seattle. In 1996, he ran for governor and finished fifth, with 10% of the total vote, in the all-party primary. He briefly served as regional director of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
|Jay Inslee (D)||233,780||(68%)||($776,198)|
|Larry Ishmael (R)||111,240||(32%)||($49,230)|
|Jay Inslee (D)||104,342||(66%)|
|Larry Ishmael (R)||52,700||(34%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (68%), 2004 (62%), 2002 (56%), 2000 (55%), 1998 (50%), 1992 (51%)
In 1998, Inslee decided to run for Congress again, this time in the 1st District against Republican incumbent Rick White, an economic conservative with liberal votes on some cultural issues. Inslee attacked White for voting to reduce spending on education and the environment and for supporting electricity deregulation, claiming that White was “willing to sell our reasonably priced electricity to California.” White painted Inslee as a carpetbagger. In the September all-party primary, White led 50%-44%. But by November, two issues changed the balance. One was White’s divorce. Inslee ran ads claiming that White intended to spend 10 years in the House and then become a lobbyist, a charge his ex-wife had made in divorce papers. He also ran ads highlighting White’s vote to impeach President Bill Clinton, which said: “Rick White and Newt Gingrich shouldn’t be dragging us through this. Enough is enough.” In the acrimony, the primary numbers were reversed in November, and Inslee won 50%-44%.
In the House, Inslee is a moderate-to-liberal Democrat and likes to focus on technology issues. He joined in protecting the privacy of consumer financial records, an issue important to Microsoft. When Congress passed the electronic signature bill, Inslee included an amendment to require that terms of consumer consent to receive electronic records be obvious and separate from other terms.
On the Energy and Commerce Committee, Inslee has focused on conservation and increasing renewable energy sources. As early as 2005, he had introduced bills to address global warming and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. When Democrats took control of the House in 2007, Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed him to her Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. He has advocated reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 20% of 1990 levels by 2020. And he supports a cap-and-trade system allowing companies to swap carbon emissions “credits,” but he has argued that giving too many free emission credits to certain companies would essentially create windfall profits for them. A book Inslee co-authored about ending the United States’ dependence on foreign oil was published in 2007. He sponsored a provision in a 2009 bill to give rebates to certain industries, such as steel and cement, which face tough competition from international companies. In another issue recently before the committee, Inslee supported legislation to nullify a decision by the Federal Communications Commission allowing media companies in the nation’s 20 largest cities to own both a newspaper and a broadcast outlet.
In 2000, Inslee won his first re-election in the district 55%-43%. His margins expanded as local antipathy to President George W. Bush’s policies increased. He gave serious thought to running again for governor in 2004, but decided against it. With the governor’s office and both Senate seats in the hands of Democrats, his statewide ambitions are on hold for now.