Podcast | Gov. Jay Inslee on Roe v. Wade, COVID-19 and climate policy

For the first in a series of conversations with statewide leaders, the governor discusses the challenges facing the state and how he has used his office to respond.

Governor Jay Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a news conference in Olympia, Wash., on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Inslee announced that Washington would offer prizes to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

For much of his three terms as governor, Jay Inslee has remained a relatively popular politician, a Democrat leading a blue state through an era of deep partisanship. More recently, though, his approval ratings have sagged under the weight of historic crises. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has become a defining event for the Democratic governor, who early on used his executive authority to issue some of the most severe restrictions in the nation, including masking requirements, vaccine mandates and business closures. 


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Now the governor finds himself at a crossroads where patience for such measures has waned, even as the virus remains a threat. Meanwhile, Inslee has mounted a full-throated defense of reproductive rights in the state and continued to trumpet climate policy he believes will stave off future disaster. 

For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, the governor talks about all of these issues with KUOW’s Bill Radke. The interview, which was conducted on May 7 as part of the Crosscut Festival, is the first of three with statewide leaders that we will be publishing over the next week.

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About the Hosts

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten is the managing editor at Crosscut and KCTS 9.