by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Marko Liias, a Democratic state representative who represents the 21st District, announced this week that he is running for the Washington State Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Paull Shin.
'Over the last year, we have seen the Senate change hands from a Democratic majority to a Republican-led coalition,' Liias said in his announcement. 'Too often, partisanship and gridlock have prevented important action on the issues that matter to middle-class families across our state. I am running to change that.'
In the House over the last six years, Liias built a strong record of results on education, transportation, and environmental issues.
'It is time to send a strong progressive voice to the Senate, to stand up to the Tea Party and ensure that the voices of everyday people are heard too,' he said.
'I am so proud to have the support of my friend and mentor, Sen. Paull Shin,' he continued. 'He has been a tireless advocate for families in our community, and while he will be missed as he retires, I am honored at the opportunity to carry on his legacy of service.'
Liias, who is openly Gay, is running on the slogan, 'A voice for the middle class.'
He grew up in a middle-class family, where he says he learned that 'if you work hard and play by the rules - in America - anything is possible.'
'My dad is a carpenter; my mom was a school lunch lady. They taught my sister and I the importance of hard work to get ahead,' said Liias.
Marko Liias was the first person in his family to graduate from college, which allowed him to help start a small family business. But when the housing market collapsed, that business was forced to close its doors.
'That is why I am so committed to making sure other small businesses have the resources and support to succeed,' he said.
As a city council member and state representative, Liias says he's been a consistent, determined voice for middle-class families just like the one he grew up in.
'I am proud of my record of results on education, transportation, and protecting our beautiful environment,' said Liias. 'I will be a strong, progressive, and effective voice for our community in the State Senate.'
'I am proud to represent a new generation of Democrats, and a new generation of political leaders - socially progressive, supportive of small business, and unafraid to stand up to special interests.'
Rep. Liias posted on his website the following issues as a main focus:
Strong Public Schools
Marko believes in the life-changing power of a good education, because he experienced it firsthand. As the first in his family to go to college, Marko believes in quality public schools that prepare students for college and careers. He has been a consistent leader on the need to reduce class sizes to improve educational outcomes for all students. He created a bipartisan coalition to pass two tough anti-bullying laws to protect kids at school. Marko stood up to members of his own party and opposed double-digit tuition increases at our state universities, because he knows how important college affordability is to families in our community.
Effective Transportation Solutions
For the last five years, Marko has been a transportation leader in the State House, as Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee. He has secured funding for important local projects like the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal and Community Transit. He has also been a consistent advocate of reforms in our transportation system, to ensure that our tax dollars are used wisely. When WSDOT constructed a free museum dedicated to the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Marko took action to make sure that our transportation dollars are spent on projects, not on museums. Marko has also been a champion for transportation choices, creating a system with safe options to walk, bike, ride the bus, and drive a car. He knows that creating a safe route for kids to walk to school is just as important as a new highway interchange for commuters and freight.
Protecting Our Environment
After six years in the State House, Marko has a 100% voting record of protecting our natural environment. Like anyone that was born and raised here, Marko understands that our clean air and water are the most important legacy we can leave to the next generation. That's why Marko took a lead role in closing our state's last coal-fired power plant. It's why he supports real action to tackle climate change, to ensure that the Evergreen State remains green. He has also worked to preserve our wild and scenic places, from Japanese Gulch in Mukilteo to the Cascades.
The 21st Legislative District includes Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, and parts of Everett. For more information about the Marko Liias for State Senate campaign, visit his website at www.markoforsenate.com.
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