Washington Governor Jay Inslee, whose campaign was focused on encouraging badly needed actions to confront the climate crisis, ended his presidential bid Wednesday.
“I have to tell you, look, I’ve been fighting climate change for 25 years,” Inslee told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “and I’ve never been so confident of the ability of America now to reach critical mass to move the ball. I believe we are going to have a candidate to fight this battle.
Inslee then said that he had hope because of school-age activists who demand change by speaking with lawmakers and going on strike to protest.
“I’m inspired by the young people I met across the country,” he said, “the young people in the Sunrise Movement and the climate strikers. These people have given me confidence we can move ahead. So I’m not going to be carrying the ball, but we’re going to make sure somebody is.”
During his campaign, Inslee urged action to confront climate change and the fossil fuel industry. He released several plans to create change by abandoning fossil fuels and adopting clean energy. He even announced a plan earlier Wednesday to improve agricultural systems.
“There are other avenues for me to be very effective at pushing the climate-change message,” he told Maddow.
Inslee met the Democratic National Committee’s threshold of least 130,000 individual donors to participate in the September debates, but he did not meet the polling threshold of 2 percent support in certain polls.
A spokesperson for the campaign said that Inslee was able to make climate change a bigger issue that it may have been otherwise. “Jay Inslee made a dramatic difference in the way climate change was addressed in this campaign. Largely because of him, climate change was got five times as much time in the first debates as it did four years ago,” according to the campaign.
The spokesperson continued: “His role was to lay out a blueprint that he’s going to make open source for every candidate to follow. It comes at a critical time and you will see him become actively involved with other candidates to put out bold climate plans.”
Several other Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, voiced their support for Inslee.