Gov. Jay Inslee’s clash with the Democratic National Committee over its refusal to host a climate-focused presidential debate has been getting national attention, with environmental and liberal groups strongly criticizing the DNC’s refusal.
On Thursday, eight state Democratic Party chairs, including Washington’s Tina Podlodowski, joined the effort to pressure DNC Chairman Tom Perez into reversing the decision.
The chairs are joining another ten DNC members in submitting a resolution to the party’s next executive board meeting in June, according to the Washington State Democratic Party.
The resolution calls for one of the first several Democratic presidential debates to focus on “climate change issues and solutions.” It adds that if the DNC does not sponsor such a debate, candidates will be free to participate in “any and all forums or debates” on the subject sponsored by other groups.
That was a response to Inslee’s announcement Wednesday that the DNC had warned him he’d be excluded from future debates if he participated in a non-DNC-sanctioned climate debate.
“Democrats must speak with a single voice on this fundamental truth: the time to act on climate change is now. For too long, we’ve let Republicans in D.C. mislead the American people with failed policies and outright lies on this issue,” Podlodowski said in a statement on the resolution.
“We should have a presidential debate to focus the public on the reality that Democrats can solve this crisis, and to leave future generations a world we can be proud for them to inherit,” she said.
In addition to Podlodowski, the resolution is backed by the Democratic Party chairs of Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah.
The demand by the Democratic chairs follows additional criticism from groups including MoveOn.Org, which called the DNC decision “deeply disappointing.”
A DNC spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday. On Wednesday, an organization spokesman defended the DNC decision, saying no 2020 debate would be dedicated to a single topic.
Correction: Eight state Democratic chairs have signed the resolution for a climate debate, not nine as reported in an earlier version of this article.