Marko Liias (left) and Steve Hobbs.

Marko Liias (left) and Steve Hobbs.

Sen. Marko Liias launches campaign for lieutenant governor

He joins fellow Senate Democrat Steve Hobbs in the contest to succeed Cyrus Habib.

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LYNNWOOD — A second Snohomish County lawmaker is joining the race to be the state’s next lieutenant governor.

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, launched his campaign Tuesday to succeed Democratic Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, who announced last week he will forgo re-election to pursue the priesthood.

Liias, 38, a former Mukilteo city councilman now in his 12th year in the Legislature, is seeking to become the first LGBTQ person elected to a statewide executive office in Washington.

He said seeking the office “was not something that was on my radar,” but Habib encouraged him to consider it. Upon reflection and conversations with friends, Liias decided it would be an opportunity to serve the public in a greater capacity.

“This is a chance to take that public service to a deeper level,” he said.

Liias described himself as a passionate progressive who can and has worked with Republicans on important policies involving transportation and rural economic development.

Liias will be the second Democratic candidate in the race, joining Senate colleague Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens, who launched his campaign March 19. Other Democrats may join the race by the time candidate filing opens in May.

Cyrus Habib (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Cyrus Habib (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Two Republicans had already begun their campaigns for the office — Joseph Brumbles, who lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Denny Heck in 2018, and Ann Sattler, who ran unsuccessfully for a Seattle City Council seat in 2019.

The lieutenant governor is best known as the president of the state Senate and presides over that chamber during the legislative session, ensuring that protocol is followed and weighing in on parliamentary questions that arise during debate. The lieutenant governor is the first in the line of succession for the governor’s office.

Liias grew up in south Everett and attended public schools in Mukilteo. He graduated from Georgetown University, then returned to Snohomish County, where he ran a small construction company until its closure during the Great Recession.

In 2005, he was elected to the Mukilteo City Council, where he served two years. In January 2008, he was appointed to the state House of Representatives in the 21st Legislative District. Then, in 2014, he was appointed to the Senate to succeed Paull Shin.

Liias has served as Senate floor leader for three sessions. In that role he is a member of the leadership team of the Senate Democratic Caucus and works closely with Habib on the managing of floor sessions.

This will be Liias’ second run for statewide office. He ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2016.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

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