As he campaigns to be a Democratic president centered on addressing the “climate crisis,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says he’s “hoppin’ mad” to see Davenport business owners affected by flooding from the Mississippi River while President Donald Trump questions the science behind climate change.
The governor was in town Wednesday morning to tour the damage left in the wake of a historic flood that spilled through downtown two weeks ago after the city’s temporary flood barriers broke. Since then, nearly all downtown businesses have felt some form of hardship as many doors have remained closed, access to the downtown has been limited and some shops are leaving for good.
Considering the Davenport situation, Inslee said there is a “scientific reality” threatening the city’s residents, and at the same time “we got a guy in the White House … telling us that the climate crisis is a Chinese hoax.”
“What a bunch of baloney,” Inslee said, adding: “This is a president who is not helping these people one iota. He hasn’t helped them on the disaster, and he hasn’t helped them before the disaster to end the climate crisis. And it makes me hoppin’ mad, as you can tell.”
Among the flooding victims who met with Inslee on Tuesday was Marie Gleason of Dress for Success Quad Cities, a non-profit that connects area women with professional clothes and coaching to help them advance in the workforce. Business owners say they recently learned that they'll have to find a new place to set up shop permanently because of the severe damage to their downtown building.
“Thank you for coming here to highlight our challenges with this. This flood has been devastating for us,” Gleason said, adding that her staff had to be rescued by boat when the flood barriers broke.
Other businesses on the tour were The Half Nelson, a new restaurant that was supposed to open the day of the massive flooding event, and Front Street Brewery, which was still being gutted when the governor came through.
Inslee said the outcome in Davenport stands as an example of why climate change needs to be addressed through federal policy that tackles problems on the front end. He pointed to recent environmental studies that have shown increases in flood duration and precipitation locally as a cause for concern.
“When your house just keeps burning down every season, when it gets worse by the decades, you don’t just get buckets,” Inslee said. “You get something to prevent the fires in the first place. And our house is on fire.”
Inslee also referred to his goals of eliminating coal by 2030 and getting the nation’s electrical grid off of fossil fuels as “ambitious,” calling on other candidates in the Democratic field to follow his lead. And he’s compared the need to address the climate change to the full mobilization of the U.S. to defeat fascism in World War II, saying other policy proposals that’re out there are simply “half-measures” that will not get the job done.
“We got to be in a full-throated war with the climate crisis,” Inslee said. “So far my plan is the only one that will do that. Others might be well-intentioned, but intentions are not good enough to win this war.”