Governor of Washington
Jay Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who has lived and worked in urban and rural communities on both sides of the state. He grew up in the Seattle area where his father, Frank, was a high school teacher and coach. His mother, Adele, worked as a sales clerk at Sears & Roebuck. Jay worked his way through college and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in economics before earning his law degree at Willamette University. He and his wife, Trudi, then moved to Selah, a small town near Yakima, where they raised their three sons. Jay worked as an attorney and prosecutor. Jay and Trudi are now proud grandparents to four active little Inslees. Besides writing and illustrating books for his grandchildren and sketching scenes from around Washington, Jay is an avid cyclist and charter member of Hoopaholics, a youth basketball academy.
Jay first became involved in public service in 1985 when he and Trudi helped lead the effort to build a new public high school in Selah. Motivated to fight against proposed funding cuts for rural schools, Jay went on to represent the 14th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives. He continued serving communities in the Yakima Valley when he was elected to Congress in 1992. The Inslees later moved back to the Puget Sound area where Jay was elected to Congress in 1998, serving until 2012 when he was elected governor. He was re-elected in 2016 and for a historic third term in 2020.
During his time in Congress, Jay became known as a forward-thinking leader, especially on issues of clean energy and the environment. He co-wrote a book, “Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean-Energy Economy,” about a national program to fight climate change through clean energy innovation and job creation.
As governor, Jay’s top priority is growing Washington’s innovative industries such as clean energy, information technology and life sciences, and strengthening existing industries such as aerospace, agriculture, maritime, and the military. Since 2013, Washington has experienced a 30-year low in unemployment rates and record exports. Washington has been a leader in the fight against COVID-19 and in protecting and saving lives.
Under Jay’s leadership, Washington is consistently the only state that ranks as the best place to work and the best place to do business. Washington has one of the nation’s highest minimum wages, paid sick leave for all workers, a best-in-the-nation paid family leave program, some of the nation’s most rigorous clean air and water standards, and one of the highest union membership rates in the U.S.
Since Jay became governor in 2013, Washington state has expanded voter rights, provided affordable health care to 800,000 more Washingtonians, passed the Reproductive Parity Act, stood up to the president’s Muslim ban, protected LGBTQI Americans from discrimination, raised the minimum wage, passed historic investments in public schools and infrastructure, and created one of the best clean-energy economies in America.
To prepare young Washingtonians for the economy of tomorrow, Jay launched Career Connect Washington, a transformative initiative to help all our students prepare and train for in-demand jobs, whether they choose college, an apprenticeship, mentorship, or other post-secondary paths.