Marko Liias

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Marko Liias
Senator Liias's Official Photo
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 21st district
Assumed office
January 22, 2014
Preceded by Paull Shin
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 21st district
In office
January 2008 – January 22, 2014
Preceded by Brian J. Sullivan
Succeeded by Lillian Ortiz-Self
Personal details
Born (1981-07-17) July 17, 1981 (age 36)
Edmonds, Wash.
Political party Democratic
Residence Everett, Wash.
Alma mater Georgetown University
University of Washington
Website Official

Marko Liias (born July 17, 1981) is an American politician from Washington. He is a Democratic member of the Washington State Senate, representing the 21st legislative district. The district, located entirely within Snohomish County, encompasses portions of Lynnwood and Everett, as well as his hometown of Mukilteo and his native Edmonds.[1] He previously served as a member of the Washington House of Representatives.

Early life and education[edit]

Liias graduated from Kamiak High School in Mukilteo before attending Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he served as the president of the Georgetown University College Democrats. While in university, he spent a semester studying in Prague, Czech Republic, during which time he traveled extensively through central Europe. He has also taken graduate courses in public administration at the University of Washington in Seattle.[2]

Political career[edit]

As city councilman[edit]

At the age of 24, Liias was elected to Mukilteo City Council in November 2005, running unopposed. He had previously served on the Snohomish County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board from 2003 to 2004, and as a member of the Snohomish County Board of Equalization from 2004 to 2006. As a city councilman, he also served as an alternate board member for Community Transit, and as a representative to the Puget Sound Regional Council.[3]

As state representative[edit]

When Rep. Brian Sullivan was elected to Snohomish County Council in November 2007, he resigned his seat in the Washington State Legislature. The Democratic precinct committee officers (PCOs) from the 21st district had the opportunity of selecting his successor, subject to the county council's ratification. With 21 votes, Liias was their first choice, defeating Lynnwood city councilman Mark Smith (16 votes) and Snohomish County Labor Council president Darrell Chapman (15 votes).[3] The council voted unanimously to confirm the choice of the PCOs and appointed Liias to the seat.[4]

After being elected to his first full term in 2008, Liias was selected as the Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, one of three budget-writing committees in the House of Representatives. He was also selected to serve on the influential Rules Committee, which plays a critical gatekeeping role in the legislative process. Liias served on three other committees: Education, Agriculture & Natural Resources, and Community & Economic Development & Trade. In January 2011, Liias was reappointed as Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, and he was appointed to the Education Committee and the Technology, Energy and Communications Committee.

As state senator[edit]

In January 2014, the district state senator, Paull Shin, resigned due in part to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The Democratic precinct committee officers (PCOs) from the 21st district selected then- Rep. Liias as their sole nominee for the seat.[5] Their choice was confirmed unanimously by the Snohomish County Council and Liias was sworn in as state senator on January 22, 2014.[6]

Congressional candidate[edit]

On August 2, 2011, Liias announced he would be a candidate in 2012 for the 1st district seat in the U.S. House held by Congressman Jay Inslee, who retired to mount a successful bid for governor.[7]

As a result of Washington's decennial redistricting process (and the addition of a tenth congressional district), Liias's home was moved out of the 1st congressional district. Liias responded by dropping his congressional campaign on December 29, 2011, and announcing he would seek re-election to the legislature in 2012.[8]


On April 14, 2015, Marko voted yea [9] on the controversial bill "Cannabis patient protection" SB-5052,[10] among the controversial aspects of the bill, are the requirement for medical marijuana patients to register with the state, and making possession of marijuana a felony for minors. On September 18, 2015 three teenagers ranging in age from 14 to 17 were charged with felony possession[11] in Asotin County, WA.

State Treasurer race[edit]

On May 19, 2016, Liias announced he was running for State Treasurer.[12] In the primary election held on August 2, 2016, the two Republican candidates placed first and second, with the three Democratic candidates placing third, fourth and fifth. Liias placed third, earning 20% of the vote.[13]


Liias was elected to a full term in November 2008. He did not face a Democratic primary challenge but was challenged by a Republican, 18-year-old Andrew Funk, in the general election.[14] Liias prevailed easily, receiving nearly 64% of the vote.

In 2010, Liias was challenged by Republican Elizabeth Scott from Edmonds and won re-election with 54% of the vote. In the 2012 election, Liias won 60% of the vote to defeat Republican challenger Kevin Morrison, a candidate who entered the primary as a write-in but whose name appeared on the general election ballot.[15][16] He served in the state house until he was appointed and duly sworn in as the district's state senator on January 22, 2014.


Liias is one of seven openly gay members of the Washington State Legislature, alongside Senator Jamie Pedersen (D–Seattle) and Representatives Jim Moeller (D–Vancouver), Brady Walkinshaw (D–Seattle), Christine Kilduff (D–University Place), Joan McBride (D–Kirkland) and Laurie Jinkins (D–Tacoma).[17]

Liias, who is of Finnish American descent, speaks Finnish.[18]


  1. ^ "Washington State Legislature: 21st district". Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Rep. Marko Liias - Biography". 2007-12-21. Archived from the original on 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  3. ^ a b "Democrats tap Liias for Sullivan's seat". Lynnwood Enterprise. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-01-23. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Chris Fyall. "County Council Appoints Marko Liias to State Legislature". Mukilteo Beacon. Retrieved 2008-01-23. [dead link]
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Connelly, Joel (2 August 2011). "Rep. Marko Liias running for Congress". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Connolly, Joel (2011-12-29). "Rep. Liias out of U.S. House race". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Connelly, Joel (19 May 2016). "Legistator who went through business bankruptcy runs for state treasurer". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "August 2nd, 2016 Primary Election Results". Elections & Voting. Secretary of State. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  14. ^ "Republicans challenge Legislative incumbents". Lynnwood Enterprise. 2008-06-12. Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  15. ^ "Washington Secretary of State: candidates who have filed". May 19, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Washington Secretary of State General Election Results". 2012-11-09. [permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "WA state Legislature has 2nd largest gay caucus in U.S." Associated Press. 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2008-01-23. [dead link]
  18. ^ Jerry Cornfield (2008-01-19). "New legislators are still smiling after first week". Everett Herald. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 

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