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STATE Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, is a veteran lawmaker who began his public service on the Mukilteo City Council, and was appointed to the state House of Representatives in 2008.

Liias moved to the state Senate in January to replace state Sen. Paull Shin, who resigned for health reasons.

The Times editorial board recommends Liias reluctantly over his Republican opponent, Dan Mathews, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2012.

Matthews is a retired airline pilot who now works as a consultant and contract pilot instructor for Boeing. He favors a two-thirds vote in Olympia to raise taxes. And though he fumbles a bit on climate change, he supports efforts to mitigate the realities of its impacts.

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For the issue that will define the 2015 legislative session, the McCleary education decision by the state Supreme Court, Matthews seems to repeat partisan rhetoric rather than demonstrate an astute understanding of the grave challenge.

Liias is part of a frustrating chorus of candidates who are open to new tax revenue without being specific or prescriptive. He also promoted legislation and endorses an initiative to lower class size — a measure that comes with vast possibilities for even more state expense.

Liias is a veteran in Olympia from a supportive district, yet he is reluctant to assert any independence from powerful interests, such as the state’s teachers union.

Liias is strong on transportation issues and supports job-creating incentives for high-tech, but he needed a stronger challenger, not a budding perennial candidate.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

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