Washington state Governor Jay Inslee endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential bid on Wednesday, praising his former Democratic rival’s “willingness to follow science” in his approach to governing and tackling climate change.
The nod from Inslee, who had centered his own 2020 presidential bid on taking aggressive action to combat climate change, could lend Biden’s campaign credibility with the liberal voters he is courting as he tries to unify Democrats ahead of Nov. 3’s election against Republican President Donald Trump.
In his yearlong presidential campaign Biden has been regularly confronted on the campaign trail by activists who thought his climate policies were too centrist. Biden sometimes told those people to vote for someone else.
The former vice president does not support a ban on fracking, which contributes to climate change but is a source of jobs for members of Democratic-aligned labor unions. And his goal to emit no net carbon into the atmosphere by 2050 is viewed by some activists as a too-distant goal.
Inslee cited Biden’s past work and current policy proposals as evidence of his leadership on environmental issues. The Washington governor said as part of the Obama administration, Biden supported the creation of clean energy jobs during the economic recovery from the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
“As a result of this, you have helped create 3.3 million jobs in clean energy — jobs that didn’t exist before,” Inslee said on Wednesday, as he announced his endorsement during an “Earth Day” episode of Biden’s podcast.
Biden said as the country contends with the novel coronavirus outbreak and resulting economic downturn, jobs in clean energy could again drive economic recovery.
Green jobs “can be the very thing that helps us get through this existential threat to our economy,” Biden said on the podcast.
Biden has called for spending $1.3 trillion over a decade on electric-car charging stations, high-speed railroads, clean-energy research and other infrastructure that could limit the effects of climate change.
Inslee, who dropped out of the White House race in August, is the latest of Biden’s former rivals to endorse him. Last week, he received a string of high-profile endorsements from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former President Barack Obama.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)