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Presidential candidate and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tours the Copper Mountain Solar 3 facility near Boulder City on Monday, April 22, 2019. (Jeff Scheid-Nevada Independent)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, one of the 24 Democrats running for president, announced Friday in Las Vegas that he reached the donation threshold needed to participate in the first presidential debates in June.

The 68-year-old governor has made climate change the primary focus of his presidential bid. On Friday, he spoke to climate activists from organizations such as the Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement and the Nevada Conservation League about the importance of addressing the issue within the next few years.

“I am the candidate saying that we have to make the planet crisis the number one job in the United States,” Inslee said. “We are better people than letting Paradise, California, burn down. It is now our destiny, I believe, to build a clean energy economy to defeat the climate crisis.”

To reach the first debate threshold, the Democratic National Committee requires candidates to reach at least 1 percent nationally in three separate polls or receive donations from 65,000 people in 20 different states.

Inslee said Friday that his campaign received a surge of 2,000 donors after revealing his Evergreen Economy plan claiming to generate more than 8 million jobs within a decade.In addition to his climate-centric campaign, Inslee says his decades of experience as a two-term governor and his seven terms in the House of Representatives make him the ideal candidate in 2020.

“It’s time to elect a president that knows that wind turbines don’t cause cancer, they create jobs,” Inslee said. “When we’ve got people in a flood seeking high ground, we can’t have a middle ground resolving this.”

With numerous reports from the United Nations saying that carbon emission levels would reach dangerous, irreversible levels within 12 years and that human activity is causing the extinction of over one million plants and animals, addressing climate change has become a more prominent issue for Democrats to campaign on going forward than it had been previously.

According to the Nevada Natural Heritage Program, Nevada is the 11th most biodiverse state in the country, and the 3rd amongst having the highest number of species at risk. Climate Central ranks Las Vegas as the fastest warming city in the country.

Another step Inslee said he would take as president would be to implement a ban on single-use plastic bags, a proposal that cleared Washington’s Senate but failed to make it out of committee in the House of Representatives.

During his previous visit to Las Vegas in March, Inslee rebuked the Trump administration for secretly shipping nuclear waste into Nevada against the wishes of Gov. Steve Sisolak and numerous other Nevada officials. Inslee also stopped in Southern Nevada last month to tour the Copper Mountain Solar facility in Boulder City.

The first debates will be on June 26 and June 27 in Miami.

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