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Heck launches re-election bid for lieutenant governor


Heck launches re-election bid for lieutenant governor

May 25, 2023 | 3:41 pm ET
By Jerry Cornfield
Heck launches re-election bid for lieutenant governor
Lt. Gov. Denny Heck presides over the Washington State Senate on Apr. 6, 2023 (Credit: Legislative Support Services)

Denny Heck’s political career spans five decades, and he’s not ready for it to end.

On Wednesday, he announced he’ll seek a second term as lieutenant governor in 2024.

“As much time as I have spent in the private sector, public service is just in my blood. I love the opportunity to serve my state and to make a difference. It is a real privilege,” Heck said in a statement.

Washington’s lieutenant governor serves as president of the state Senate and acting governor when the governor is out of state or should there be a vacancy in the executive office. 

Heck is a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors and chairs the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations. The job comes with a $119,353 annual salary.

Since taking office, Heck has promoted policies to increase the availability and affordability of housing, some of which made it into the bounty of bills enacted by the Legislature this year.

While additional legislation will be needed, he said he’ll press lawmakers to keep close watch to ensure bills they just passed are implemented.

“We really have to stay on top of it,” he said in an interview.

Heck also said he would go “all in” to promote greater civic health through respectful discourse.

“Strong and spirited debates are a healthy part of democratic deliberation. But it should never get personal. We don’t have to hate each other just because we disagree,” he said.

Heck, 70, of Olympia, won a seat in the state House of Representatives in 1976 and served five terms. 

He was Gov. Booth Gardner’s chief of staff before leaving government to co-found TVW, Washington’s statewide public affairs network. He was the chief executive officer from 1993 to 2003.

In 2012, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the new 10th Congressional District. 

In 2020, he won his first term as lieutenant governor. To do so, he beat 10 opponents in the primary, and then defeated Marko Liias, a Democratic state senator from Everett, in the general election.

Heck is married and the couple has two grown sons and three grandchildren. He’s written four books, the latest of which offers a look at how Congress does, and doesn’t, work.