Elections

Gov. Jay Inslee and GOP Challenger Clash in First Debate

August 18, 2016

In their first debate of the election season, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and GOP challenger Bill Bryant Wednesday offered vastly different views of Washington state and its progress during the past four years.

Seeking to build his case against Inslee, Bryant, a businessman and former Port of Seattle commissioner, painted a dark portrait of a “rudderless” state government and a flagging economy beyond the Puget Sound area.

He attacked the Democratic governor for the traffic problems on Interstate 405, the mistaken early release of thousands of prisoners and the state’s troubled mental-health system.

Bryant said that growing up he learned to always leave a campsite better off than how it was found. “Unfortunately, after four years, Gov. Inslee has trashed Washington’s campsite,” he said.

Inslee, a former congressman, fired back throughout the hourlong exchange with a sunnier view of the state.

He cited a transportation-improvement package and billions more in education funding enacted in recent years, along with lower unemployment and a strong economy, as reasons for optimism.

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