Jay Inslee Visits Western to Talk Climate and Energy

Governor Jay Inslee speaks to students in Academic West on Nov. 4. // Photo courtesy of Rhys Logan

By Jordan Van Beek

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee visited Western’s campus on Monday, Nov. 4, to talk to students about climate and energy policy.

Brittany Portillo, an energy policy major and director of the women in energy mentoring network, and Kellen Lynch, an energy studies and Fairhaven major and project manager of the ZeNETH Net Zero Tiny House, escorted Inslee to his car after speaking to the class.

“Brittany Portillo and I were contacted by Huxley’s Dean, Steve Hollenhorst,” Lynch said. “I believe we were invited because we each have student projects that we’re leading at WWU that involve energy and policy. Those are issues that are important to Governor Inslee as well.”

Lynch believes Inslee and his administration have shown much needed leadership for years when it comes to advancing an actionable climate change agenda.

“Jay Inslee is the only presidential candidate that ran on a climate change platform, therefore it was really awesome for him to come speak to Energy 101 students that will be making decisions in the future like he is right now,” Portillo said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to have the governor of Washington at Western. It really shows that us students are not far from government power and that’s how it should be.”

Inslee also advocated for students to vote in the Nov. 5 general election during his visit to campus.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to connect personally with our governor, as I recognize it as a privilege to have access to not only our highest state representative, but to a nationally-known figure,” Lynch said. 

Lynch said how this experience can help encourage students to be advocates for a clean-energy future. 

“Students at Western and across the state need all the encouragement they can get to become the next generation of policy makers and advocates for a clean-energy future,” Lynch said. “Right now, the only thing certain about the future of students is that all of our lives will be colored by the impacts of climate change. We’re in this one together.”

On his scheduled visit, Inslee talked to professor Charlie Barnhart’s Energy 101 class in Academic Instructional Center West room 210 from 2:15-2:45 p.m.

Inslee has been to Western’s campus on at least four occasions since he’s been governor, according to Becca Kenna-Schenk, executive director of Government Relations.

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