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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Inslee's State Of The State Highlights Partisan Split In Legislature

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said the state is at a crossroads and it’s time to reinvest.

Those were key themes Tuesday as Inslee delivered his State of the State address before a joint session of the state legislature.

Before Inslee spoke, Chaplain Joel Johnson of the Oso Fire Department offered an opening prayer. He said the deadly landslide that struck his community last March brought people together.

“My hope and my prayer for the rest of the year and for the years to come is that we can continue this sense of unity,” Johnson said.

But once Inslee stepped to the microphone, the political disunity in the chamber was apparent. Republicans mostly did not applaud as Inslee called for more funding for early learning, a transportation package and a new fee on carbon emissions to pay for it.

He also trumpeted his proposed new capital gains tax.

“We can work toward a fairer tax system and we should this session,” the governor said.

That line drew a standing ovation from several Democrats.

Republicans in their response to the State of the State said Inslee’s proposed policies threaten economic recovery.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."