Mukilteo challengers for Liias’ Senate seat

By Brandon Gustafson | May 23, 2018
Mario Lotmore

It looks like Sen. Marko Liias will have a few challengers from his native Mukilteo in the upcoming election.

Mario Lotmore and Riaz Khan, both of whom live in Mukilteo, have filed the appropriate paperwork and are officially running for the position of state Senator for the 21st Legislative District.

Scott West, whose mailing address is listed in Edmonds, joins Liias, Lotmore, and Khan in the race.

Liias, a Democrat, has held the seat since January of 2014, and prior to his stint in the state Senate, served in the state House of Representatives from 2008 to 2014. He served as the Senate Majority Floor Leader in the 2018 legislative session.

Liias announced on April 10 that he was seeking reelection.

Lotmore, an engineer who is originally from the Bahamas, will be running as a Republican. Unlike Liias and Khan – who previously ran for State Representative and Mukilteo City Council – this is Lotmore’s first time running for office.

He said he’d been considering running for Mukilteo City Council, but the reallocation of funds from the Japanese Gulch Daylighting Project toward the Peace Park Project compelled him to run for the Senate position instead.

“The leadership today, it’s out of touch with the needs of the community and the needs of the average person,” Lotmore said. “When the Japanese Gulch story came out, I’d had enough. That was it. I understand the Peace Park Project, but is that really a priority?”

Lotmore said he’d always had some interest in being a senator, and joked he wanted to be in a different position than treasurer.

“I’ve always been a treasurer. I was a treasurer in high school, for different boards, an industrial engineering association,” Lotmore said. “I want to move on from handling money.”

Lotmore said his three main points he’s running on are the county opioid epidemic, affordability, and a lack of living wage jobs.

“The opioid crisis is really not addressed at all,” Lotmore said. “We’ve been throwing money at the symptoms, but not at the root causes. There is a serious heroin issue in our county.”

Lotmore feels that Liias has contributed negatively in terms of making it harder to afford housing in the 21st District.

“In terms of affordability, the incumbent has really contributed to that with car tabs, property taxes, and he was a proponent of raising the sales tax in Mukilteo to where it’s now the highest in the country,” Lotmore said. “With rises in property taxes, that’s an attack on fixed-wage income families. They’re being stretched out. There’s a false sense that all Mukilteo and Edmonds residents are rich. That’s not necessarily the case.”

Lotmore sees opportunity for people to get better paying jobs in the county in STEM fields.

“We need to leverage the technology industries that we have in Snohomish County,” Lotmore said. “We need to take STEM to the next level. We should have more of a focus on vocational training.”

Lotmore believes his experience as an engineer makes him a strong candidate, as they “get the job done.”

“I have a degree in industrial engineering. We, as engineers, make things work, that’s why companies hire us,” he said. “In being an engineer, I’m held accountable for what I do.”

Lotmore also says he has written policy before, which will help if elected.

“I have experience writing policy. I have a knack for assessing the needs of a situation and building an actual plan,” Lotmore said. “Some of my strongest assets are listening and strategic planning. I know how to use resources effectively.”

Lotmore noted he is taking a leave of absence as a contractor to focus on his campaign, and he also believes his experience living in various regions around the country makes him a great candidate.

“By meeting so many different kinds of people, it truly makes me a better candidate,” Lotmore said. “So many people are moving into this region, and I can help identify with them.”

As noted, Khan, who works at Boeing, has run for office at both the state and city levels, never successfully. Last year, he ran for Mukilteo City Council Position 1, which Anna Rohrbough won. He did not make it past the August primary.  He previously ran for the council in 2015, losing to Scott Whelpley, and did not make it past the primary in his 2016 bid for State Representative, currently held by Lillian Ortiz-Self.

Khan, a Democrat, is well known in the greater-Mukilteo area for his role as president of the Islamic Center of Mukilteo (ICOM). Khan has been at the forefront of efforts to build a mosque in Mukilteo.

Khan said his four priorities are helping reduce property taxes and car tab taxes, reducing class sizes and hiring more teachers, finding ways to combat the opioid epidemic, and stricter gun laws.

Khan believes there should be stricter background checks when purchasing weapons, that the minimum age for purchasing a gun should be 21 years old, there should be a ban on assault weapons, and that guns should be licensed, just like cars.

Khan said his goal is to run for office every year.

“I want to participate in every election,” Khan said. “It’s my civic duty. By doing this, I hope to encourage new people to run and not just the same people every time. New people have new ideas.”

Khan said if he’s elected, he wants to donate his entire Senate salary to the city of Mukilteo.

“I want to give it to the city’s general fund to help pay for roads,” Khan said.

Khan, like Lotmore, will be taking time off from work to focus on his campaign.

“I’ll take time off to put all my efforts into my campaign,” Khan said. “My main purpose is to help the community.”

To get in contact with Lotmore, visit his website at mariolotmore.com.

You can also view Khan's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Riaz-Khan-937105289765419/.

 

 

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