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Governor Jay Inslee urges students to take action against climate change in visit to Spokane

Inslee addresses students at a forum at Gonzaga University on Friday.
Rebecca White/SPR
Inslee addresses students at a forum at Gonzaga University on Friday.

In a visit to Spokane today, Governor Jay Inslee urged students, and community members to take action against climate change.

Inslee participated in a forum with Gonzaga University students, who asked him about his efforts to address the climate crisis.

Inslee says he has set aside state funding to adapt to climate change, but says not enough is being done to address the root cause.

“So yes, we have to do some of these things, cooling centers, filtration centers, forest management, more kelp beds to deal with ocean acidification,” he said. “But, it is impossible to solve this problem after the fire has burned your house down. We have to do both. To many people view that as an excuse for inaction.”

Inslee also urged students to call their legislators about climate issues, such as HB 1770 now in the Washington State Senate that would require new construction to meet higher energy efficiency standards.

During his visit, he also chose a Gonzaga student to be Washingtonian of the day. The student, Anasofia Gutierrez, is one of a handful of students chosen to speak during a virtual meeting with the Pope next week. She asked the governor if there’s any climate change question, or statement, she should bring up to the Pope.

Inslee also toured Spokane Transit Authority's fleet of electric buses. Spokane is in the midst of launching City Line, a new bus rapid transit, which would operate similar to a streetcar system. The region is also slated to receive $50 million to launch a second North South rapid transit line through the Move Ahead Washington package, a $16 billion proposal Inslee also supports.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.