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Marko Liias running for state treasurer


Marko Liias

Sen. Marko Liias wants to be state treasurer, and Bruce Guthrie, Jeff Scherrer and Mohammed Riaz Khan will vie for Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self’s seat.

Edmonds voters likely will find those two races the most interesting when looking at the Washington candidates who filed for this year’s November election. The deadline to file for office was May 20.

Liias, a Democrat, is running for the seat of state treasurer, left open by Treasurer Jim McIntire’s decision to retire. This is his first run for statewide office.

“I am running for treasurer to stand up for middle class families just like the one I grew up in,” Liias said. “As a family, we’ve experienced tough times, so I know from personal experience that we need to do more to help families in our state save for college and prepare for retirement.

“This means working to ensure that our GET program and our pension funds remain fully funded and sustainable. It also means working with the private sector to create better, cheaper options for every family to save for retirement and for college.”

If elected, Liias, of Lynnwood, said he would continue McIntire’s work to reform the state’s antiquated tax system to make it fairer, more progressive and more sustainable.

As state treasurer, Liias said he also would work to help those struggling with crippling student loan debt.

“As our state’s CFO, I will work to create options for students to refinance their debt and save thousands of dollars that can be spent in our communities, instead of sending it to the big banks,” Liias said. “I know it won’t be easy, but over the years I’ve learned how to get things done in Olympia.”

Liias, who also works for the city of Mukilteo as a policy analyst, was appointed to the Senate in 2014 to replace Paul Shinn when he resigned. Liias was re-elected in 2015.

He was appointed to the House in 2008 and was re-elected to serve three times. He replaced Brian Sullivan, who resigned after he was elected to the County Council.

He was elected to the Mukilteo City Council in 2005, where he served for two years.

Democrats John Paul Comerford and Alec Fisken, and Republicans Michael Waite and Duane Davidson also are vying for state treasurer.

Lillian Ortiz-Self

Lillian Ortiz-Self, a Democrat, is running to retain her seat as state representative.

Ortiz-Self, of Mukilteo, was appointed to the House in 2014 to replace Liias when he moved over to the Senate. She was re-elected in 2015.

“I am running for state representative of the 21st District because, in the last three years I have held this position, one thing is for certain – there is still a lot to be done,” she said.

“As a school counselor, I see first-hand the barriers that keep our children from succeeding in school. I hear the stories of when their father loses his job; medical bills keep stacking up as their mother is fighting to survive cancer; how they lost their house; how they can't access the mental health services they need; stories of a brother addicted to painkillers, and the list goes on.

“I am in the trenches every day helping our children and families. I want to continue to use these families' stories to keep giving them a voice. I want their stories to propel change.”

As state representative, Ortiz-Self’s priorities are to bring jobs to Snohomish County, strengthen the middle class, advocate for smaller class sizes, address the teacher shortage, and work to close the education opportunity gap.

“I continue to fight for a comprehensive mental health system that meets the needs of all our residents, and will continue to advocate for protecting services for our most vulnerable populations, i.e., homeless youth, elderly, foster children,” she added.

Bruce Guthrie

Edmonds resident and Libertarian Bruce Guthrie is vying for Ortiz-Self’s office.

"I am running for the Washington State Legislature because now is a very exciting time to be a Libertarian,” Guthrie said. “The two big, old parties have nominated horrible, unpopular, even embarrassing, candidates for president, and the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, will be on the ballot in all 50 states for the first time in decades.”

Guthrie said there are 33 Libertarians running statewide this year.

“There is a feeling in the air that this will be a very big year, perhaps a breakthrough year, for the Libertarian Party, and I want to be a part of that,” he said.

Guthrie sees Western Washington and District 21 as socially liberal areas, and if elected, he said he will work to improve tolerance and inclusiveness in state policies and laws.

His top priorities include thinking outside the box with education and adding new general purpose lanes to I-5 and I-405. Guthrie does not support Sound Transit’s push for a light rail extension from Northgate to Lynnwood.

He also strongly opposes a state income tax and other tax increases.

“The state budget must be balanced from spending cuts alone if we want more and better jobs and higher pay for the least-skilled workers,” Guthrie said. “Taxation tends to slow economic growth and reduce job creation.

“This hurts the poor much more than the rich. My transportation proposal saves the state about $1 billion, while reducing commute times, and without raising taxes.”

If elected, he said he will defend social tolerance and diversity “while holding the line on tax increases.”

Jeff Scherrer

Lynnwood resident and Republican Jeff Scherrer also is a candidate for state representative.

While Scherrer has not held office before, he is a former Intel product manager, has developed analytical tools and programs at Microsoft and Washington Mutual, and founded a company that sold small computers.

Scherrer said he is a “successful entrepreneur, real estate investor and natural leader.”

His top legislative priorities include helping small to medium-sized business grow and improving conditions for the lower and middle classes.

Scherrer is a member of the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary and has been a host to over 100 international students attending Edmonds Community College.

Mohammed Riaz Khan

Mukilteo resident Mohammed Riaz Khan, who ran for City Council in 2015, is campaigning for Ortiz-Self’s seat. This is his first run for a state office.

He also is the president of the Muslim Association of Seattle, which has plans to build a mosque in Mukilteo.

“As a parent of three children and a member of the budget committee for the Mukilteo School District, I have been and always will be a strong supporter of education and safety,” Khan said.

“[Not only do] I stand up for education, I also care for seniors, vets, public safety, small business, and a string of transportation infrastructure.”

If elected, Khan, who states no party preference, said his priorities would be to “make sure that our schools are fully funded, including child welfare reform, that class sizes are reduced and that we employ more teachers.”

“Our state is growing, and we need to concentrate on a strong transportation infrastructure, including fixing aging bridges, highways, surface street and widening roads to avoid traffic congestion,” he said.

As a state representative, Khan said he would work to bring local jobs back that moved out of state to boost Washington’s economy.

“Let's make Washington the best place to live, work and do business,” Khan said. “I will continue to work hard for the hard-working families of Snohomish County. I respectfully ask for your vote.”

Lillian Ortiz-Self

Liias and Ortiz-Self serve the 21st District, which includes all of Mukilteo and parts of Edmonds, Lynnwood, Everett and unincorporated Snohomish County.

The Washington primary is scheduled for Aug. 2, and the election is scheduled for Nov. 8.

If more than two candidates file for the same position, only the top two vote-getters will advance from the primary to the general election.

-Edmonds Beacon editor Laura Daniali contributed to this story.


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