LOS ANGELES — While other 2020 Democratic contenders are focusing on wealth inequality in America and taxing the rich, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is trying to position himself as the "carbon warrior."
But he sees climate change as an economic issue, too.
Over the past year, Inslee has made several trips to early caucus and primary states such as New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada to test out the political waters for a possible 2020 presidential run. The governor told CNBC this week that he's going to "decide in weeks, not months," on whether to toss his hat in the ring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Inslee, who turns 68 years old on Saturday, talks very much like he's already running while also touting a record of expanded investment in clean energy programs and technologies statewide. Last year, he announced the largest-ever purchase of green power for state operations through solar and wind power facilities.
"My candidacy I think has a couple of unique things driving it," Inslee said. "One, both by experience and passion and commitment, I have had a long, demonstrated vision statement for economic growth around clean energy that is unique amongst potential candidates."
Yet Inslee, a two-term governor, suffered a setback to his climate agenda last year when the oil industry funded a campaign to defeat a carbon emissions fee initiative Inslee supported. The measure was seen as a way to raise revenue as well as to help the state achieve ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.
The failure did not disrupt his larger message, however, particularly as he gears up to potentially run for the White House.