- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - A Washington state senator announced Thursday he will jump into the race for state treasurer.

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, said he will campaign to replace retiring two-term Democratic Treasurer James McIntire. Liias is the first lawmaker to announce for the position.

Four other people have filed to run for treasurer, including Republicans Michael Waite and Duane Davidson, and Democrats John Paul Comerford and former Port of Seattle commissioner and banker Alec Fisken. Fisken has been endorsed by the outgoing McIntire.

Washington’s treasurer is responsible for managing the cash flow of the state’s major accounts and more as the state’s chief financial officer. The treasurer is also is a leader on the State Investment Board, which invests and manages the retirement money of public employers and employees such as teachers and police officers, along with managing the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition prepaid tuition program.

Liias said he would aim to better safeguard pension plans and increase access to college savings programs in an era of rising school costs.

“I really would like to turn the position into more of a policy advocate role for middle class families,” he said.

Liias has been in the Legislature since 2008. He was first appointed to the state House in 2008 and joined the Senate in 2014. He has worked with the treasurer’s office on financing transportation budgets during his time in Olympia.

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