What To Watch For At Gubernatorial Debate – Contrast On Health Care, Economic Recovery, and Facts and Science

At this evening’s gubernatorial debate between Gov. Jay Inslee and Loren Culp, expect to see two different visions on the major issues of the day

For Immediate Release | October 7, 2020

SEATTLE — The October 7th gubernatorial debate hosted by the Washington State Debate Coalition will be the first event where both Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican candidate Loren Culp will be directly addressing voters in a televised debate. With the open Supreme Court seat dominating national political discourse and an ongoing Republican court case to overturn the Affordable Care Act before the court, expect to see candidates focus on discussions of health care and reproductive justice.

Economic recovery is likely to be another major issue, with President Donald Trump’s recent decision to abandon negotiations with Democrats regarding federal stimulus to boost our economy, help families and small businesses stay afloat, and reopen schools. And Inslee will discuss the importance of using facts, science, and reliance on experts to respond to the challenges we’re facing like COVID-19, wildfires, and climate change, instead of spreading unfounded conspiracy theories and holding unsafe events as Loren Culp has on the campaign trail.

With these assaults on health care access and affordability coming at Washingtonians from the federal level, it’s more important than ever before that we have state leaders who champion health care and reproductive rights. Here at the state level, Culp and Washington State Republicans have largely opposed measures to expand health care and protect reproductive rights. While Culp has remained largely quiet on a woman’s right to choose, his Republican allies in the legislature have introduced HB 2154, a bill to ban abortion in Washington state. And Republicans have largely opposed bills like HB 1870 in 2019 that seek to ensure Washingtonians have the health care coverage they need and that benefits like coverage for those with pre-existing conditions are maintained.

Likewise, Culp and Republicans have failed to join Inslee and Democrats in their calls for federal stimulus and have instead focused on unnecessary austerity plans for our state budget. The GOP plans to immediately slash the state budget would harm our economic recovery, cut services that families are relying on like child care, and would make it harder to reopen schools.

And voters will hear about how Culp rejects science and advice from experts. On climate change, he rejects the science and refuses solutions that can clean up our environment and create jobs. On wildfires, he promoted false conspiracy theories that we debunked by law enforcement. And on COVID-19, he continues to hold unsafe campaign events and not wear masks, and to reject the science and advice of public health officials when it comes to resuming non-essential economic activity.

Voters were supposed to have heard from both candidates at previous events, like the Asian Pacific Islander of Coalition of WA and Asian Counseling and Referral Service virtual gubernatorial forum in September, but Culp declined to attend that event.

The debate will be live from 8 to 9 p.m., just after this evening’s Vice Presidential debate.