Monday, September 24, 2007

Inslee In Dee House

Manchester, NH -

Rep. Jay Inslee, Democrat of Washington's 1st District which covers such illustrious locales as Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Mukilteo and Woodinville, was in the Granite State this past Saturday on a tour of New Hampshire's best examples of renewable energy and sustainable living. He started his morning in LEED certified Langdon Woods dormitory at Plymouth State University, followed by a lunchtime stop to see New Hampshire Community Tech's Energy Services and Technology Program that specializes in solar paneling and energy analysis, and finally a buzz through Jaffrey's New England Wood Pellet manufacturing plant.

I joined the Congressman at PSU (obviously) then went home to catch up on all the political I missed when I was down in Quabbin Qountry before re-joining him for a review of the day in Manchester along with fifteen potential supporters and a couple of my fellow media wizards, including the indispensable Cosmo and a New Hampshire newcomer from NBC.

It was a small room, so the reporters were shoved in the window bay with yours truly arriving the most fashionably late and taking the furthest back position next to the window. It was also next to the air conditioner, providing a nice autumn chill for me, and enough breeze to vibrate my pant leg and set off a false cell phone alarm more than twice. I couldn't have been happier.

Inslee began his talk with nothing but superlatives for all of the places he had seen, and pledged to brag about them as he traveled the country.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) contemplates sustainability

But here in Manchester Inslee's purpose was to take these events and connect them, along with his own experience with sustainable energy policy, to Hillary Clinton. Inslee you see, who sits on the House Natural Resources and House Energy and Committees, is one of Clinton's national campaign co-chairs. He is also a pretty handy surrogate on issues pertaining to energy and sustainability.

After recounting his earlier visits, Inslee predicted that they would soon become part of the "clean energy revolution that's gonna sweep this nation" provided we chose the right leader to usher it in to play. Inslee suggested that such a leader would require the combination of bold, wise vision and the ability to start working on day 1 of the Presidency.

"We are lucky," he said "to have a candidate like this."

Inslee was referring, of course, to Hillary Clinton.

Speaking to her strengths as an energy leader, Inslee mostly talked about her plan to cut carbon output to 80% of current levels by 2050, and to create a $50B Green Energy Fund to invest in start-up costs and research and development for American investment in efficiency and renewable energy. While in Plymouth, he especially touted the $50B number as the PSU people mentioned the difficulty in scraping up the front-loaded costs of building new energy efficient buildings and retro-fitting old ones. Especially since, in the case of Langdon Woods, the added LEED buildings costs were recouped in energy savings in the first year of operation.

That afternoon I went home and researched the differences in the Democratic candidates, to see why Inslee was realistically hyping Clinton's plan as the best. I already knew that her 80% figure was par for the course, and a tad lower than Bill Richardson, but I was mostly curious about the Green Energy fund. Sure enough, from what I could tell there were no other numbers specific to green investment that high in the other plans. Other than that, it is clear that Inslee sees Clinton as potentially the most effective environment/energy candidate because of her perception of being able to begin instituting effective governance starting from day one of her first term.

Lord knows every day we waste without a strong plan to cut down on inefficient energy systems in our everyday lives is a knock against us in the long run. Whether or not Clinton is the best purveyor of a green future is up to each voter, but having Jay Inslee cheerily on the stump will certainly be a boon, if only to the dozen or so people who get the chance to go along for the ride.


Inslee has just co-authored a book, Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy, and seems genuinely excited about the prospects of clean energy even within the next few years. This is especially true on the matters of solar-thermal energy and the now functional plug-in car.

1 comment:

Julie said...

First Wes Clark and now Evan Bayh. Who wants to be VP?