Three days after President Obama was re-elected to office and marriage equality and pot became the proverbial “new norm,” an anticipated announcement emerged that garnered national attention: Democrat Jay Inslee would become Washington State’s next governor.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna called Inslee to congratulate him on Friday, November 9. Inslee steadily held the lead at 51% before the official call was made ending a $40 million campaign battle.
According to the Associated Press, McKenna had portrayed himself as a moderate with a plan to increase funding for education. Inslee had touted his plans to spur job growth by investing in clean energy and other specific sectors.
A transitional team is the next step for Inslee. According to King 5 News, “In this transition team we will be looking for several characteristics of talent in the state of Washington. First, people who will bring a breath of fresh air to Olympia; second, people who have experience in job creation and to help me develop and implement a job creation plan; third, a transition group that will represent the whole state of Washington,” Inslee said.
Inslee will replace Gov. Chris Gregoire when her term expires in January 2013.
Gov. Gregoire was instrumental in passing marriage equality legislation in February 2012 when she signed same-sex marriage into law. Her decision was challenged when opponents collected enough signatures to bring the measure to a popular vote. The result was Referendum 74. Proponents of marriage equality were expected to vote “Approve” and opponents “Deny” on Washington State ballots. Referendum 74 was passed on November 8 with a 52% yield.
“Washington has made history and I couldn’t be prouder,” said Gov. Gregoire. “Voters stood up for what is right and what is just and said that all Washington families are equal under the law. I am proud that our LGBT families will no longer be treated as separate but equal, they will be equal.”
She added, “This is a day that historians will look back on as a turning point for equality. It is a day I will look back on as Washington state leading the nation. And it is a day that I will carry with me forever.”