The Malibu Democratic Club co-hosted the latest in its series of “Meet the Candidate” forums this year, along with the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and West LA Democratic Clubs, last Monday night. The standing-room-only crowd of nearly 500 gathered in a Pacific Palisades venue to hear what Governor Jay Inslee had to say as one of more than 20 Democratic Presidential candidates. 

The crowd gave a warm welcome to Inslee—who distinguished himself as the only one of the 20 Democratic candidates putting climate change front and center as the primary focus of his campaign. 

Jay Inslee

Jay Inslee

Inslee spoke about his accomplishments, emphasizing that he was “the first governor to stand up successfully to fight the Muslim ban,” with the Washington v. Trump lawsuit, which challenged Trump’s order to ban entry to the U.S. from seven Muslim countries.

He said he has the “single most comprehensive plan to fight climate change of all the candidates” and is also governor of the “fastest growing economy in the U.S.” because of his investment in renewable energy.

On his last visit to the LA area, Inslee said he met a woman who lost her home in Seminole Springs in the Woolsey Fire. “When I saw her crying, I felt two emotions,” he said. “Empathy for her pain, and anger towards the president for calling climate change a hoax. Defeating the climate crisis needs to be the No. 1 priority for the state of California. It needs to be job one and it’s a moral obligation to our children and grandchildren.”

Inslee plans to “move the country forward” around the central premise of building a clean energy economy based on innovative technologies that reduce the carbon footprint. “I met an entrepreneur in solar energy here, and everywhere I go, I meet people helping to build a clean energy future. Wind turbines do not cause cancer like Trump says,” he quipped. “Clean energy jobs are growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy.”

He ticked off his accomplishments as Washington’s governor, saying his state now leads the U.S. in the following areas: the highest minimum wage, the most robust family medical leave, the biggest pay raise for teachers, the first public option for healthcare, the best gender pay equity and the best net neutrality laws.

“I’ve proven in Washington State that when you do these things, you get the best economy in the U.S.,” he said.  

Inslee spent almost a half-hour fielding questions from the audience. In response to a question about ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), he said, “I believe we have an inhumane president, and we need to end that inhumanity. I’m committed to ending the incarcerations. During the Obama administration, people seeking asylum were released on their own recognizance until their hearings, and 99 percent showed up. So, there’s no need to hold them.” 

In his response to another question, he said, “We need to take away the filibuster in order to do big things,” to huge audience whistling and applause. 

When it comes to war, Inslee said, “We need to end the war in Afghanistan and stop Trump from going to war with Iran.” He added, “I believe the military can be a force in reducing climate change. Imagine a green Pentagon that buys green energy sources, thus reducing our dependence on fossil fuel as well as improving our national security.”

Inslee, 68, is a fifth-generation Washingtonian currently serving his second term as governor. Starting his career as a prosecuting attorney, he turned to politics in the ‘80s. He served in Washington State’s House of Representatives from 1989-93, then in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993-95 and 1999-12.  From 1996-99, Inslee was regional director for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services under President Bill Clinton. He was first elected governor in 2012 and was re-elected to a second term in 2016. Inslee served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association for the 2018 election cycle.

The Malibu Democratic Club website says the “Meet the Candidate” forums are “designed to enable you to meet the Democratic presidential candidates in person, in neighborhoods close to home. There is a qualitative difference between meeting a candidate in person and getting an impression on television.”

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated one of the presidential candidates who visited Malibu. Incorrect information has been removed from the story.

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