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Washington Lt. Governor

The Lieutenant Governor’s responsibilities: To act as Governor if the Governor is unable to perform her or his official duties; to be presiding officer of the State Senate; to discharge other duties prescribed by law.

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  • Candidate picture

    Denny Heck

  • Candidate picture

    Marko Liias

Biographical Information

What is your record of public service?

What special skills would you bring to the job of chairing the Senate?

What could you do to promote civility in the political process?

What are your top three issues of concern for the State of Washington?

How would you address these three issues?

How will you interact with the constituency that elected you?

Party Preference Democrat
Experience (Max 500 characters) U.S. Representative, member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Financial Services Committee. Washington State Representative, elected to five terms. Chaired historic Basic Education Subcommittee. Democratic Precinct Committee Officer. Co-Founder and President, TVW – Washington’s version of C-SPAN; Co-Founder, Intrepid Learning Solutions; Chief of Staff, Governor Booth Gardner
Campaign Phone (253) 224-6641
Campaign Email
Town where you live Olympia
Twitter @DennyHeck
I have devoted my career to public service in Washington State. From serving in the Washington State House of Representatives, including as Majority Leader, to serving as Governor Gardner’s Chief of Staff, to representing the 10th District in U.S. Congress, I have a lifetime of experience fighting for our state. I was the co-founder and CEO of TVW, our statewide public affairs network where I hosted Inside Olympia, a weekly public affairs program, and the co-founder of Intrepid Learning Solutions, a Seattle-based company that grew from 2 to 300 employees. I will bring experience fighting to improve our schools, reduce our housing inequality, protect our environment, and sponsoring economic growth and innovation, all of which will be priorities for me if I am elected.
I can step in immediately to the Lieutenant Governor’s responsibility of presiding over the Senate. I have more hours presiding over the State House (which uses the same rule book as the State Senate) and the US House than all of my opponents combined. In my lifetime, I’ve known and served with four Lieutenant Governors, and they have all had a commitment to presiding in a civil and fair way. However, as the nation grows more polarized, the challenge of maintaining civility gets harder. Unless we want Olympia to more closely resemble the nation’s capital and its toxic environment, it is necessary to redouble our commitment to fairness and decency, and I will do exactly that. I have decades of working with the State Senate in my various roles. It should be noted, however, that Lt. Governor John Cherburg, for whom a building on the state capitol campus is named, had zero experience working in the Senate prior to his election.
As I stated above, the challenge of maintaining civility has become more and more difficult as our country’s polarization has increased. Olympia should become a leader in committing to improving fairness and decency in our political process, and not be dragged down by the national partisan trends. If elected, I will do exactly that. As President of the State Senate, the Lieutenant Governor is the ideal position to maintain decorum and to model the virtue of inclusion, welcoming the different ideas and experiences of all.
The key issue facing Washington State is the COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing has ever shut down our economy so devastatingly quick, leaving behind a trail of Washingtonians without the ability to work and the resulting budget shortfall. Along with COVID-19, the issues that I don’t think are getting enough action in our state are income inequality, and climate change and pollution, particularly storm water pollution of the Puget Sound and other bodies of water. The Lieutenant Governor has the unique opportunity to use their bully pulpit to define the problem and provide real intellectual thought leadership on solutions. There is gravitas to the office that can and should be used to solve problems.
Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, It is the job of the government to jumpstart the economy and look to new opportunities so everyone in Washington is guaranteed future work. The Lt. Governor chairs the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations and is in a unique position to lead. On climate change, we need strong legislation. I was one of the first state elected officials to endorse I-1631, the carbon emissions proposition, and one of the first to co-sponsor HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It is also past time the legislature enact a low carbon fuel standard. To reverse our growing income inequality, we must especially focus on housing. Housing is the single largest increase in household budgets in the last 15 years. When we rebuild our economy, we must take advantage of the opportunity to provide for more broadly shared prosperity.
During the COVID-19 crisis I have gotten plenty of practice utilizing Zoom and Facebook Live for interacting and hearing from constituents. I yearn to do in person meetings once the crisis has passed, but I would like to make sure we utilize these resources to make meetings more accessible for people who may have accessibility issues or perhaps have young children and aren’t able to attend meetings in person. I think this presents a whole new world of possibilities for increasing engagement with people and those that represent them. We all win when we listen to as comprehensive a group of people as possible, people that reflect the rich diversity of our great state. I am also proud to have built my staff, both in Washington and DC with diverse, passionate, and knowledgeable folks who are good listeners.
Party Preference Democrat
Experience (Max 500 characters) State Senate Majority Floor Leader, 2018 – Present; Minority Floor Leader, 2017-18; State Senator, 21st District, 2014 – Present; State Representative, 21st District, 2008-2014; Mukilteo City Councilmember, 2006-2008.
Campaign Phone (206) 476-4886
Campaign Email
Town where you live Mukilteo, WA
Twitter @MarkoLiias
I have served in state and local government since 2006, first on the Mukilteo City Council (2006-2008), then as a member of the State House (2008-2014) and in the Senate since 2014. In addition to my elected positions at the legislature, I was elected to the Snohomish County Charter Review Commission (2015). I have also been appointed to and currently sit on multiple task forces and political boards including the Joint Task Force on Water Resource Mitigation, the Task Force on Water Supply, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, and the Joint Task Force on Community and Technical College Counselors. I am a proud member of the Senate’s State Bank Caucus and LGBTQ Caucus. I have also served on the Washington State Democratic Central Committee in the past, representing the 21st District as a state committeeman.
I am the only candidate in this race that has ever served in our State Senate. For the last four years, I have served as Floor Leader, elected by my colleagues to lead our caucus on the Senate floor. Since 2018, I have been the Majority Floor Leader, where I have had the responsibility of drafting the Senate’s parliamentary rules, scheduling bills for floor action and serving as our caucus liaison to the Lt. Governor—all experiences that make me uniquely qualified for the role of our next Lt. Governor. It was these experiences that led our current Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib to endorse my campaign, calling me the most experienced candidate in the race.
One of my greatest assets I am bringing to the role of Lt. Governor is the years I have spent serving in our State Senate and the relationships I have forged on both sides of the aisle. For the past 3 years, I have served as Senate Majority Floor Leader, working with both Democratic and Republican leadership on ways forward on legislation, including discussing the merits and problems of bills from both perspectives. I am proud of the collaborative work I have done with both parties as a member of Senate leadership, and I intend to approach being President of the Senate the same - ensuring that there can be civil and productive debate on the Senate floor and we pass meaningful bills that benefit all of Washington
The Lt. Governor presides over the State Senate, but also serves as number two in the Executive Branch, all while running a small state agency. As Lt. Governor, I will build on the strong foundation that Lt. Governor Habib has set down expanding opportunities through higher education, international partnerships and progressive leadership in the Senate. This unique combination of responsibilities makes it an ideal role to continue my work building a green economy that works for everyone, ensuring that our state is a model for social justice and inclusion, and forging a path towards quality, universal healthcare that is accessible to all Washingtonians regardless of their background or status.
In the Senate, I’ve focused on growing green jobs of the future in every corner of our state – including authorizing the largest expansion of mass transit in our history through ST3; this will create tens of thousands of family-wage jobs for decades to come. As Lt. Governor, I will continue this fight using my position as chair of the Senate Rules Committee and President of the Senate to ensure my colleagues take action for innovative changes to re-strengthen our economy, but by distributing more wealth from the middle out, not just top-down as was the case in the last recession.

We must also redouble our commitment to equity in all we do. As we expand education and opportunity, we must ensure that every Washingtonian has the chance to share in that success. As Lt. Governor, I will work with the new state Office of Equity, legislators and leaders of color, our state’s ethnic, women’s and LGBTQ commissions to place an equity lens on all the work we do in state government
I’m excited that as Lt. Governor, my constituency will grow to the entire state. I’ve had the chance to have many facility tours and town hall style conversations with the constituents of the 21st District during my time in the legislature, and have worked to build up an online presence that includes regular check-ins and reports to my constituents through social media. As Lt. Governor with a statewide reach, this becomes even more important. I intend to schedule regular tours of different communities around all of Washington, to hear about the successes and struggles specific communities have around the state.The Lt. Governor, in a way, is another representative for each of the 49 districts in the state. I look forward to taking the conversations I have with folks on the ground back to the legislature and communicate those needs with other elected officials and stakeholders.