Democratic governor Jay Inslee compared his fight for a carbon tax in his state of Washington to Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid in South Africa.
Inslee’s comparison came during a panel on “Climate Change and Our Global Future” at the Center for American Progress Ideas Festival, where he was joined by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. Inslee was asked by moderator Amy Harder, a climate change reporter for Axios, why it was taking so long to get carbon tax policies enacted in Washington.
“I’m undeterred because I think if you look at the arc of history, you know Nelson Mandela didn’t win for 22 years and then he became president,” Inslee said.
Inslee also pointed out that it “took us a long time to get Medicare.”
“This is the nature of progress, but we’re going to win it,” he concluded.
Mandela spent much of the 22 years referenced by Inslee in a South African prison.
Inslee predicted that the fight for a carbon tax would be won in November through a ballot initiative.
“This November we’re going to have people coming out in droves to vote, because they have been inspired, because they have seen the chaos when you have a climate-denier in the White House,” he said.
He predicted that an alliance between the “labor community,” the “communities of color and poverty,” and the “traditional environmental community” would get the carbon tax initiative across the finish line.
“We have one of the most beautiful alliances I’ve ever seen in my state,” he said.