Gov. Jay Inslee returns to Washington after Nordic trade mission, forgoing European vacation

Ted S. Warren/AP

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has returned to Washington early, after spending the last several days leading a delegation on a trade mission to Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Inslee’s office told reporters last week that Inslee and his wife, Trudi, planned to spend time in other parts of Europe for a personal vacation after the governor completed the trade mission Thursday. However, Mike Faulk, deputy communications director for Inslee, told reporters in an email Friday that the couple instead returned home early.

Lt. Gov. Denny Heck was no longer acting governor as of Friday, Faulk said. Heck was appointed as acting governor last Monday evening after Inslee departed for Europe.

Faulk said the Inslees simply changed plans, and will likely still take the week off at home. Faulk told reporters the Inslees were “doing well.”

The governor spoke with reporters on Wednesday to offer updates about the trade mission, and called the trip “extremely productive” and successful.

When asked when Washingtonians can start seeing results from the trip, Inslee said several companies with significant “transitional technologies” were interested in potentially hiring people in Washington state. Additionally he said he thinks it will accelerate discussions already underway with other business leaders.

According to a news release from last week, the policy agenda for the mission centered on “business partnerships and innovative approaches to energy, technology, sustainability and resilience to climate change in the region.” Additionally, “education, improvements to correctional facilities, immigration and attracting more investment in Washington state” were other policies the governor was to focus on while visiting the Nordic countries.

The governor said Wednesday that some of the clean energy companies he spoke to are “chomping at the bit” to get going in Washington.