Inslee pins presidential aspirations on climate issues, betting on science as he announces bid for nation’s highest office

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to a crowd of tech leaders before the 2018 GeekWire Gala. (GeekWire Photo / GeekWire)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called climate change “our nation’s number one priority” in announcing his presidential campaign Friday morning, calling on the nation to put the same technological horsepower and enthusiasm that went into the moon landing behind the fight against global warming.

“We went to the moon and created technologies that have changed the world,” Inslee said in the announcement video. “Our country’s next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time. Defeating climate change.”

Inslee pledges to set an agenda that will “transform our economy, run on 100 percent clean energy, that will bring millions of good paying jobs to every community across America.”

He may have an ally in another high-profile leader from Washington state. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has emerged as a climate crusader in recent years, forming a $1 billion venture fund to invest in cutting-edge energy technologies. Like Inslee, he believes advances in science and technology are crucial to fighting global warming.

Inslee is planning a campaign launch event at 10 a.m. in Seattle Friday at solar installation company A&R Solar. The company has grown to 70 employees since 2007, which Inslee’s team partially attributes to the governor’s 2017 Solar Incentives Jobs Bill.