Liias had easy climb up political ladder | Letter

Aug 06, 2014

Editor, The Beacon:

I hope to address the comments made by Councilmember Ted Wheeler to the Mukilteo Beacon regarding Sen. Marko Liias' ability as a city employee.

He was quoted in the June 23 issue of The Beacon as follows: "I believe that Marko can do a great job. If he couldn’t, he obviously wouldn’t be elected as a senator, and he’s been there for a while."

First, Liias has only been in office as a senator since Jan. 22 of this year, following Sen. Paull Shin's resignation. While he spent time in the state Legislature as a representative, he did not face enough opposition to be truly tested in office.

Second, and more relevantly, Liias was appointed to the office rather than elected. He has a long history of unopposed elections, appointments and weak opponents that has allowed him to climb the political ladder regardless of his actual abilities.

His first election was for the Mukilteo School Board, which he lost, followed by an unopposed run for Mukilteo City Council. Following this, he was appointed to the state House in 2008, and won re-election that year against an 18-year-old Republican who was running for a community college project.

In the 2010 election, he ran against a Tea Partier in a heavily Democratic district, but still only won by a margin of 4,000 votes. In 2012, Liias ran once again against a Republican.

Following this, his 2014 appointment to the state Senate allowed him to gain higher office with no additional work on his part. Liias has never faced a Democratic challenger and, as such, hasn't had serious competition in the district for his entire tenure as a politician.

The margins by which he has won during every election have been significantly smaller than other Democrats in the district, such as Mary Helen Roberts, Brian Sullivan and Rick Larsen.

Democrats often get elected in the 21st, but it is Liias's repeated initial appointment and the preferential treatment that he receives from the establishment that can raise eyebrows.

For his post in the city government, as for his last two offices in the state Legislature, Liias has had the red carpet laid out for him.

Does all of this bear mentioning? It does, since Liias currently occupies a position that he has never stood election for. People forget that.

Matthew Hansen,

Edmonds

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