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Election 2020: Washington State Lt. Governor Q&A

By Mario Lotmore | Lynnwood Times Staff

Ahead of the Nov. 3 general election, the Lynnwood Times sent three questions to the Washington State Lt. Governor candidates. Those candidates were: Denny Heck and  Marko Liias.

According the the Public Disclosure Commission, as of October 20, Heck raised $ 1,079,919.21 and Liias raised $295,283.80.

All general election candidates were given 5 days to submit their answers. The Lynnwood Times received responses from all Lt. Governor candidates prior to our deadline. None of the candidates were allowed to see the another’s answers.

What accomplishments or personal experiences qualified you to be the Lt. Governor for the next four years?

Denny Heck Washington State Lt. Governor
Denny Heck (D)

Denny Heck: The only reason to run for any office is to make a difference. I have a passion for making a difference through public service, and I have always admired the office of Lieutenant Governor, which sits at the intersection of so many of the roles I have played in my life.

I served five terms in the State House, finishing as Majority Leader, and I worked across all aspects of the executive branch as Chief of Staff to Governor Booth Gardner. In addition, the Lieutenant Governor, chairs the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations.

In Congress, I serve on both committees of jurisdiction for the economy – the House Financial Services Committee and the Joint Economic Committee. I also have had a successful career in business having co-founded a company, which we grew from two employees to more than 300.

I am running because I believe it is critical we have state leaders with the experience and competence to guide our government to a more prosperous future for all.

Marko Liias Washington State Lt. Governor
Marko Liias (D)

Marko Liias: 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.

I am the only candidate in this race that has ever served in our State Senate. 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.

What would be your Top 3 priorities for Washingtonians over the next four years?

Denny Heck Washington State Lt. Governor
Denny Heck (D)

Denny Heck: I think it is clear that the top priorities will continue to be the coronavirus and all of the problems that result from that, including a deep recession and resulting enormous damage to the state’s budget. I am already deeply immersed in these issues as the Congressional delegation has been holding weekly conference calls with the Governor for the better part of six months. My priorities will be to continue Governor Inslee’s stewardship of the public health emergency, working to fill the budget hole in a progressive manner, and address racial justice.

We cannot underestimate the budget hole created by COVID or the difficulty of the choices the state will face next year in closing that hole. I’ve been through too many recessions, and I know the wrong way to respond is to think we can cut our way to prosperity. We must maintain services, especially for the vulnerable, and focus instead on growing the tax base. I will be a voice for that.

Additionally, I think we may be at an inflection point to finally make some progress on social, economic, and racial justice. Dr. King said, “change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability” and it won’t this time either. We must seize this moment and finally attack systemic and structural racism.

Marko Liias Washington State Lt. Governor
Marko Liias (D)

Marko Liias: The most pressing issue we face is helping our state and our economy recover from COVID-19. This means listening to public health experts and ensuring that we save lives and take all measures to stop the spread of the virus now. It also means tackling the structural flaws in our economy that the pandemic has highlighted.

We must rebuild our economy from the middle out, not the top down. That will require making sure everyone has access to a living wage, quality healthcare that doesn’t break the bank, and expanding benefits like paid leave.

As we rebuild, we must ensure that we are creating a resilient, carbon-free economy that is sustainable and protects our forests, water, and crops for the long run.

In Washington state, 40% of jobs are tied to international trade. With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting global value chains across multiple countries and the increasing political tensions between the U.S. and China, how would you as the next Lt. Governor step forward on the international stage to share the message that Washington is a great place to invest and to create jobs?

Denny Heck Washington State Lt. Governor
Denny Heck (D)

Denny Heck: I will draw upon my deep experience on trade issues. Even before being sworn in as a member of Congress, I convened and chaired the State Road 167 coalition to complete the last five miles of that highway into the Port of Tacoma to enable more efficient shipment of goods.

In Congress, I have twice led the reauthorization of the trade-supporting Export-Import Bank, and I have been around the world with the House Intelligence Committee. As a result, I have deep network of contacts and a through understanding of the challenges and opportunities.

When combined with my past success building a business, I believe I can describe Washington’s real opportunity in terms that will resonate with potential investors.

Marko Liias Washington State Lt. Governor
Marko Liias (D)

Marko Liias: I’ve had the honor of being part of 3 recent trade missions with Lt. Governor Habib to South Korea, Spain, and most recently in leading a delegation to the Paris Air Show. In Paris, I was able to be part of showing off the great innovators in the aerospace industry here in Washington. We did not travel with large corporations like Boeing who have the resources to purchase their own tent at the airshow. Instead, we invited small and medium sized Washington businesses, so they could have an international stage to showcase their work and attract new investments to our state.

This model should translate to how we look at a lot of our trade relations, pulling up smaller businesses to the international stage so more companies around Washington can share in our international success.

As Lt. Governor, I look forward to connecting business leaders and legislators with foreign leaders, to nourish international ties and build stronger trade relationships.

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