Democrat Jay Inslee, who is running for Governor, met with the West Seattle Herald in front of Shorewood Elementary School, pictured, where he attended before attending nearby Cascade Middle School. The former Congressman lived three blocks east of Shorewood in White Center, and hung out as a child and young teen in White Center, West Seattle, and Burien.
Democrat Jay Inslee reminisces about White Center upbringing; pushes forward in governor bid
July 4 was a busy day for Washington State's gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Jay Inslee, former 1st District Congressman, and his Republican opponent, Attorney General Rob McKenna, each marching in multiple parades, and each vying to replace Chris Gregoire who retires at year's end.
In Inslee's case, however, the broad grin he wore in the Burien Independence Day Parade was due, in part, to his memories as a youth there the celebration evoked.
The following day, Inslee met with the West Seattle Herald in front of Shorewood Elementary School where he attended grade school before attending nearby Cascade Middle School. He lived three blocks east of Shorewood.
"This school has been totally rebuilt. It's absolutely beautiful now. This is where I spent most of my youth, trying to hit a ball out of the park. Home plate was where this manhole cover is. (Located in the circular drive in front of the new school.) I never hit it over. But then I was MVP in the Congressional baseball Game so it all turned out."
According to reference.com, "Jay Inslee is the only member of Congress to be cut from Little League (1963) and then become MVP for the Congressional Baseball game in 2005."
Inslee spent his first year in Tenino where his father, Frank, had his first teaching job. Frank also worked at the Olympia Brewery. They returned to North Seattle before White Center. Frank was a teacher, coach, and athletic administrator at Chief Sealth and Garfield (High School's). Jay's mother, Adele, was an artist, and clerk at Sears Roebuck. His parents worked together on Mount Rainier revegetating alpine meadows with the Student Conservation Association.
"On a (warm and sunny) day like this we would have been heading down to the beach on our skateboards to skimboard. We'd have a round piece of plywood and we'd gussy it up and put some paint on it. We couldn't surf. We listened to the Beach Boys and dreamed about surfing in California."
He played basketball for Cascade.
"I was 6' 2" in 8th grade. I got all my height early. My teammate, Chet Lackey, is a very successful lawyer (in Bellingham). "
"One of their ways my science teacher at Cascade would teach electricity was with a generator from World War II. He'd challenge kids to put hands on the electrode and he'd put his hand on it, too, and nobody ever beat him. It felt like something was kicking you in the back of the head. I understood the power of electricity, and that's why I wrote a book about renewable energy."
Inslee co-authored "Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy" with Bracken Hendricks, Island Press, 2007.
Inslee graduated Ingraham High School north of Ballard, then attended UW and Willamette U., College of Law.
Some potential voters say McKenna is more Washington State while Inslee is more Washington, D.C. Inslee acknowledged this.
"It is an issue. We have work to do to introduce ourselves. That's what campaigns are about. I lived in Yakima for 18 years. I practiced law, and prosecuted drunk drivers there. I was in the State Legislature for four years, (1989-1993) representing Yakima, the Tri-Cities, Wenatchee, Goldendale, so I know the alfalfa and the apple orchard country, and the work at Hanford.
"The things I've been working on, there is a lot of confluence between federal and state issues. So when we're working on water issues, as I did, that's pretty domestic, parochial to our state. When we worked on the Boeing tanker contract, that also shows a close affinity to our state.
"On health care, I was pleased that the Supreme Court made a decision that I agreed with in the sense that this was constitutional. I believed that when I voted for it. My opponent's efforts to take away breast cancer survivors' rights to be able to buy insurance failed. He lost in a very significant way in that he was attempting to remove protections that Washingtonians now have under this bill.
"We need more primary care physicians, nurses and physical therapists to provide preventative health care. Primary care tries to prevent people from getting sick rather than doing surgery afterwards. We want to increase financial aid to primary care doctors in their (medical school) education, and to provide primary care physicians with a good compensation structure to solve the legitimate concern of needing more doctors to attend to those currently uninsured.
"Uninsured) people get care, but it's late care, and done the most expensive way possible, in emergency rooms. We want folks treated in clinics where costs are less than half. Those of us lucky enough to have insurance are each paying a thousand dollars a year, a hidden charge if you will, to cover those uninsured. So we want to make insurance more available to everyone, and more affordable for those currently insured."
For more on Jay Inslee's campaign, visit: www.jayinslee.com
The West Seattle Herald is currently arranging to interview Rob McKenna.