The three races in Legislative District 21 each have an incumbent Democrat with an opponent who hasn’t held public office before.
Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett, who is seeking another four-year term, is challenged by Republican Mario Lionel Lotmore, of Mukilteo.
In the battle for two House seats, Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, faces Republican Amy Schaper, of Mukilteo, and Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, is opposed by Republican Petra Bigea, of Lynnwood.
Common campaign issues voiced by the candidates are affordable housing, opioid addiction, gun violence and transportation.
Liias, 37, is floor leader of the Senate and in that role is responsible for managing the flow of legislative activity when the Senate is in session. Prior to joining the Senate, he served three terms in the state House and two years on the Mukilteo City Council.
Liias said health care for small business owners, housing and childcare affordability are among the challenges ahead, along with trying to enact gun legislation.
“I helped pass our state’s ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth … and also passed this year a student loan bill of rights to provide better consumer protections,” he said.
Liias, a Snohomish County native, teaches an American government class at Everett Community College.
Lotmore’s background is in private industry where he works in project management for aerospace and manufacturing.
“That’s the experience we need in order for a viable economic growth plan,” said Lotmore, 41.
A job at Boeing, which he has since left, brought him to Snohomish County six years ago. He said he is using his savings to help fund his campaign. Much of his time is spent knocking on doors. He also is a STEM volunteer at schools, helping students learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
His issues are reducing availability of legal and illegal drugs. “It’s not just opioids. It’s meth and heroin,” he said.
Another concern: “The rise of electronic addiction that’s fostering dopamine addiction.”
In the race for Position 1, Peterson said he is running for re-election because “there’s a lot left to do.”
“I am committed to continue the work I’ve done on the opioid epidemic as well as a whole host of environmental priorities, especially around clean water, climate change and plastics pollution,” said Peterson, who is vice-chairman of the Environment and Capital Budget committees.
Other issues: “Behavioral and mental health, that goes right into the opioid and substance abuse. Affordable housing at multiple levels, not only that critical need for those who are homeless. Housing for seniors … and for young professionals.”
He said accomplishments include his work on the capital budget and the secure medicine take-back act passed last year. “It was a big win and bipartisan vote,” Peterson said.
His opponent is Schaper.
Schaper declined to comment for this story. “I do not want to participate,” she said.
Her website says she is “Pro-America, pro-family, pro-life.” It also says she supports $30 car tabs and “giving parents and families more choices, and restoring local control over schools.”
Ortiz-Self, 57 seeks re-election in Position 2.
She is the deputy chairwoman of the caucus leadership team.
“Education, mental health and the economy” are her concerns.
“In education there is still a lot to do, a lot of policy work around safe schools, losing children to suicide, education and mental health, getting more counselors in there,” she said.
“I’ve passed significant education bills, such as the College Bound Scholarship for higher ed as well as dual language bills.”
She faces Bigea, 51, records department lead in health information at Summit Cardiology, Northwest Hospital.
Bigea said she came to Washington from Romania 23 years ago with her husband, toddler daughter and three suitcases.
“My first job was at Taco Bell. We worked hard and started from scratch,” Bigea said. “As an immigrant who witnessed overregulation, I know how government can take away personal freedoms. I want to minimize the size of government, minimize taxes.”
Her issues are transportation, opioids and homelessness.
“People deserve safe clean neighborhoods,” she said. She also wants “transparency and accountability with Sound Transit.”
What’s at stake: A four-year Senate term and two two-year terms representing the 21st Legislative District in the state House of Representatives, Position 1 and Position 2. The district covers Mukilteo and parts of Edmonds, Everett and Lynnwood.
The pay for each office is $48,731 annually.
Name: Mario Lionel Lotmore
Experience: Front 9 Condominiums board; Boeing 747-8 Diversity Council leader; Mukilteo precinct committee officer; 18 years in aerospace and manufacturing industries in project management and development.
Name: Marko Liias
Experience: State senator; state representative, 2008-2014; Mukilteo City Council, 2006-2008. Everett Community College adjunct instructor.
Name: Strom Peterson
Experience: State representative serving as vice chair on the Environment and Capital Budget committees, and the Local Government committee; served on Edmonds City Council; owner of The Cheesemonger’s Table, a cafe/cheese shop in Edmonds.
Name: Amy Schaper
Experience: Five terms as an elected precinct committee officer; delegate to state party conventions; part owner of a cattle ranch.
Name: Lillian Ortiz-Self
Experience: State representative; school counselor for Everett Public Schools; licensed mental health counselor.
Name: Petra Bigea
Experience: Washington state delegate, 2012; constitutional rights activist; two-term precinct committee officer.