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Inslee Brings Climate Change-Focused Presidential Campaign to Iowa

Clay Masters/IPR
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to a crowd gathered at a West Des Moines law firm.

The governor of Washington made his first swing through Iowa Tuesday. It’s his first trip to the first-in-the-nation caucus state since becoming an official Democratic presidential candidate. Gov. Jay Inslee has made combatting climate change the focus of his campaign.

During his trip he toured an electrical contracting company in Cedar Rapids that focuses on solar power and met with students at Iowa State University. He finished with a private event at a law firm in West Des Moines.

“Besides defeating climate change I hope we’re going to do for the rest of the country what we’ve done for Washington State,” Inslee told the crowd. “I want everybody to have as good (of) family medical leave as we do which is the best in the United States.”

Inslee touted his background as the winner of a 1992 congressional race in a rural, Republican-leaning district in Washington state. He also mentioned co-authoring a 2007 book about clean energy and co-chairing a 21-state "Climate Alliance."

“We need to put a candidate who is not a pessimist, who is not a fearful person, Who doesn’t believe in the politics of division,” Inslee said. “But instead put up a nominee who’s an optimist. Who’s a can-do person. Who wants to unify the country and that’s me.”

Inslee was a congressman before becoming the governor of Washington in 2013.

A Super PAC called Act Now on Climate also announced a media buy Tuesday worth $1 million that will start running TV ads in Iowa supporting Inslee. He says he welcomes support from a super PAC, even though many fellow Democratic presidential candidates have rejected them. He told reporters he would not reject support from a group that is run by people who "want to defeat climate change."

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.