Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D.) joined the ever-swelling field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders Friday with an announcement video squarely focused on climate change.
Inslee said he's running for president because he's the only candidate who will make "defeating climate change our nation's No. 1 priority."
"We're the first generation to feel the sting of climate change," Inslee said in his announcement video, after a montage of moments as a younger politician warning against the threat. "And we're the last that can do something about it."
"We went to the moon and created technologies that have changed the world. Our country's next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time: defeating climate change. This crisis isn't just a chart or graph anymore. The impacts are being felt everywhere. We have an opportunity to transform our economy, run on 100 percent clean energy, that will bring millions of good-paying jobs to every community across America and create a more just future for everyone."
Inslee previously served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington's 1st Congressional District before successfully running for governor in 2012. He was reelected in 2016.
Inslee told Vox he had other items on his platform he wanted to achieve, but climate would come before all else.
"Ultimately, I believe there is one central, defining, existential-with-a-capital-E threat to the future of the nation: climate change," he said. "It is clear that it will only be defeated if the United States shows leadership. And that will only happen if the US president makes it a clear priority—the number one, foremost, paramount goal of the next administration."
Inslee, largely unknown outside Washington state, will have his work cut out for him making headway in the crowded field.
The large group of 2020 contenders already includes Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.); former Obama official Julian Castro; South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), among others. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) has not officially entered the race but has formed an exploratory committee.
Others such as former vice president Joe Biden and former congressman Beto O'Rourke could begin campaigns in the coming weeks.