Edmonds business owner Janelle Cass announces her run for State Senate in 21st Legislative District

Janelle Cass

Edmonds business owner and 2021 Edmonds City Council candidate Janelle Cass announced Wednesday she is challenging incumbent State Sen. Marko Liias in the 21st Legislative District race that will be on the ballot later this year.

Cass is running as a Republican against Liias, a Democrat who has represented the 21st District in the Washington State Senate since 2014. Liias previously served as a member of the Washington House of Representatives from 2008 to 2014.

The 21st District includes portions of Edmonds,Lynnwood, Everett and Mukilteo.

A U.S. Air Force veteran who narrowly lost to Will Chen in a race for Edmonds City Council last year, Cass owns Ohana Hyperbarics in downtown Edmonds. She also serves on the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and on the Edmonds Tree Board.

Cass graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a degree in civil/environmental engineering. After her Air Force service, she worked for 12 years in the Federal Aviation Administration managing environmental protection projects. These included minimizing the impacts of airplane noise and reducing hundreds of thousands of tons of emissions.

“People are upset by the bad legislation coming out of Olympia, which is putting undue burden on families and individuals,” Cass said in announcing her candidacy. “Anti-police and soft-on-crime laws coming from the majority party contribute directly to escalating crime and more drug addicts in our state.”

Stating that “high taxes are negatively impacting all of us,’ Cass noted that Liias was a supporter of the Sound Transit 3 project, “which has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, resulting in higher property taxes, car tabs and sales taxes. Now countless millions in excess spending is being proposed by the sitting senator for transit projects, including electric ferries. These types of ‘feel-good’ bills are cumbersome on residents and are ignoring real problems in our communities, rather than truly addressing improvement in things that matter in our everyday lives,” Cass said.

In her announcement, Cass described herself as “a strong advocate for resolving addiction and homelessness in our county, keeping single-family residential zoning laws at the local level to maintain residents’ ability to determine the needs of their own neighborhoods, and for returning our educational system’s focus back on academic success.”

She also said she believes her experience “will help bridge the divide between both sides of the aisle in Olympia to provide positive results for the people in the 21st Legislative District.”

For more information, visit www.JanelleCass.com.


  1. I hope she does a better job “bridg[ing] the divide between both sides of the aisle in Olympia” than she did as a private citizen regarding the Streatery issue in downtown Edmonds.

  2. Congratulations !!!
    Janelle….you are exactly what we need in Olympia.
    Thrilled to see you are running for the Senate seat.

  3. I am delighted Janelle has announced to run for State Senate in the 21st LD. She certainly has the credentials and temperament to best serve in this capacity.

    Janelle can boost of many accomplishments but one of the ones I find most impressive is when she worked on a project with the Federal Aviation Administration. As an environmental engineer for the FAA Las Vegas Metroplex Airspace Redesign Project, she experienced the challenges of bringing together the FAA and the National Parks Dept to agree on how airplanes should fly over sensitive areas of the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Initially, the organizations wanted entirely different outcomes. With diplomacy and perseverance Janelle was able to encourage FAA management, FAA unions, and the airlines to develop a collaborative relationship with a wide variety of invested organizations. These included the National Parks Dept, Tribal Nations – primarily the Hualapal Tribe, State Historic preservation Offices, the State Dept of Ecology, the Dept of Defense at Nellie AFB, elected officials , the public and others. This massive collaborative effort resulted in reducing an average of 100 flights per day over the Grand Canyon and eliminated flights over Zion National Park altogether. I find this most impressive.

    We need someone who can work with folks, organizations of different opinions and goals and bring them to a positive resolution and outcome.

    Janelle brings many strengths as a business woman to this position as well. You will get to know her and her many attributes as this race progresses. You will be impressed!

  4. “Anti-police and soft-on-crime laws coming from the majority party contribute directly to escalating crime and more drug addicts in our state.”

    Once again, people struggling with addiction are demonized by an aspiring politician attempting to boost her credibility by talking tough, blaming both the victims and her political opponents for a public health crisis that has become a full-fledged epidemic. 100,000 of our fellow Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2021. The people who died were our sons, daughters, parents, and neighbors. Maybe someone you knew yourself.

    Ms. Cass’ statement has the effect of inflaming a community already fearful of addicts and the homeless. And in blaming her opponent she does not contribute a single idea to resolving the problem. Haven’t we had enough of this? Isn’t it time to acknowledge that addiction is not just a “failure of will power”, or that failing to get into treatment is not just a “lack of initiative”?

    We need to elect leaders committed to listening, to learning, and to thoroughly understanding an issue before making pronouncements. We need to elect leaders who lead with wisdom and act with compassion toward the most vulnerable in our community. We certainly do not need to continue reciting the tired rhetoric of the epically failed War on Drugs.

    1. Thank you Ed! After reading the article, I immediately went to Ms. Cass’s website to see what her proposed ideas are. There is no plan there. These are complex issues where studies and statistics show that heightened policing and incarceration are actually harmful rather than helpful in dealing with these issues.

    2. I completely agree with your comments about Ms. Cass’ statement about drug addiction and crime. Simply put, the War on Drugs has FAILED and Janelle Cass is out of touch.

      We cannot jail our way out of this problem. We have more people per-capita jail in this Country than every other Country in the world. Being more hard-on-crime doesn’t solve the problem. We need to look to the true roots of the problem including Perdue Pharma and the Sacklers. They are the ones who should be in prison.

      Janelle Cass will likely get a lot of support because of her position on preserving the single-family home zoning. But the number one issue listed on her website is lowering crime. If we already tried locking people up and that didn’t work, I would like to understand, specifically, what are Cass’ strategies?

      1. Terry, Sara, Ed, Tamara. There were more fentanyl deaths last year than CV-19 deaths. Even countries like Portugal, who are lauded for taking a more health-centered approach to drug addictions have ALWAYS arrested people for public drug use, especially hard drugs. There are literal zombies, people cracked out of their minds, walking around Seattle. Have some compassion for people. You are completely out of touch.

        1. Matt, where are you finding “There were more fentanyl deaths last year than CV-19 deaths.”? I’ve searched several different ways and don’t come up with anything that supports that statement.

        2. Annon, try google.
          ^ They are citing CDC data or ages 18-45, overdoses surpasses CV-19.

          There are studies (which I have not read yet) that allege a link between stimulus checks and welfare deposits and cases of overdose. This is the #1 killer in this age group all causes according to some sources.

        3. Matt, details matter. The reason I didn’t find anything to support your statement that there were more fentanyl deaths last year than covid deaths is because it’s not true. It’s so unnecessary to hide all the facts this time (the age range) because fentanyl is a huge problem, and it’s getting worse. It affects us all and we need to take a compassionate approach with those in the throes of addiction.

        4. Annon. Super respect. Ultimately we both are just trying to quantify the problem. Putting it into context of CV-19 accomishes that in good faith. I want all drugs legalized personally. I think half the problem would go away if real legit companies with quality controls made drugs and were accountable, and if Mexico legalized guns. However, if I can be arrested for public intoxication for beer, then we ought to do the same for the rest if it. Those citing a War on Drugs and Portugal (in other threads) are out if touch or not intellectually honest. You, however, as evidenced by your continuous participation in sound debate, care.

    3. What a twisted way to read that statement. There was zero indication of “blaming victims.” Your remarks are not only inaccurate but appear to be intentionally inflammatory to Ms. Cass and to readers who you seem to think are so simple minded that they can’t see what you’re doing. Sad ploy.

      1. I’ve been listening to this “tough on crime” rhetoric since the Nixon Administration. I know exactly what it’s intended to achieve.

        If I require a hyperbaric chamber I will certainly look up Ms. Cass. If I want a leader who prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable (and the most despised) members of our community I will look elsewhere.

    4. Last fall, Janelle convened a number of addiction and homelessness experts this fall for a discussion on this subject. It was a 3 hr meeting that lasted 5. We heard about various plans and programs from specialists, ex-addicts who are presently activists, mental health experts, etc. None of them approved of the slippery slope that Seattle took: give them clean needles, then a “safe” place to shot up, then let them live/sleep/defecate/shoot up etc anywhere they want, and then finally, in abject surrender, let the state become their drug dealer….and guess what, just like in the movie, it’s true: if you build it, they will come. Addicts from all over came to Seattle and SF for the free everything, including drugs. You denigrate willpower, but the only way an addict can stop the course of his disease is willpower: the willpower to say no to drugs, say yes to daily meetings, say no to drugs and say yes to getting support, say no to drugs and say yes to going to work, say no to drugs and say yes to living a full life day no to drugs and say yes to sleep, say no to drugs and do it again tomorrow. That constant NO every time one thinks of the drug of choice is manifested willpower. Groups like AA in all its permutations, attest to the fact that to have the willpower to consistently say NO to one’s addiction works.not alone, but nothing works in kicking drugs w/out the patient’s willpower. To say no to addiction, is the critical path after you acknowledge a Higher Power. As to being afraid of homeless addicts, anyone who has any common sense, should be. We see random attacks by people who are so high that they don’t know what they’re doing, who don’t attack when provoked in a conventional manner, but attack randomly for no reason. It’s called survival instinct: you fear what you don’t understand, especially something complex and dangerous,that needs expertise,like addiction in in action.

    5. Couldn’t have said it better myself! I’m fed up with the “righteous’s” (who may not immediately have the issue disrupting their comfortable lives) always condemning attitude rather than contributing to solutions–besides political rhetoric–that are more than punitive.

  5. I am thrilled that Janelle has decided to enter this race. I cannot think of a better candidate to bring reason into a an irrational Olympia that is out of touch with citizens. Not only does she draw people together to have civil dialogue and constructively solve problems, she truly represents the residents of this state, rather than party agendas. Janelle hosted people from various backgrounds who are in the trenches working with the homeless, addicted, and mentally ill to talk about the challenges they face and learn what is working and what is not. It was a forum open to the public. She cares about issues that we care about and actively listens and engages. As an engineer, she is truly a problem solver, but with a servant’s heart, she has the humility to reach out to receive expertise from others to resolve those problems.
    I believe she will stand out as one who listens to her constituents and is articulate on the Senate floor representing those constituents. Current leadership has caused great degradation to our beautiful Pacific Northwest. Janelle’s tenacious drive, connection to issues the community faces, and ability to bring people together will be a welcome change.

  6. Why is this candidacy being announced in the Edmonds news without giving equal time to the other candidate for the senate? Is this place for free publicity and a place where friends can comment? We have other news in Edmonds, right?

    1. We publish announcements as we receive them. When we receive announcements from another candidates for this position — or any position — we will run them.

    2. The story states that there is a challenger to the incumbent. If you look at the other stories, you will see that our state representatives are front and center in a story about their bills to eliminate single family units has been defeated. To each, his own.

  7. So excited to hear that you are running for State Senate! I heard your interview on the Jason Rantz show yesterday on 770am and you did a fantastic job stating your position.

  8. As a long time voter in Edmonds, I have never had a Senator more available and willing to listen than Senator Marko Liias. I have contacted him several times, and although we are not always on the same side of an issue, he has listened patiently, taken my comments seriously, and honestly explained his position. whether similar or different. As an individual, he is compassionate and understanding of personal stories and tragedies; fair in the way he conducts Senate Committee meetings, giving both sides of an issue time to present their positions; and in general the kind of Senator I am proud to have representing me. His experience in Olympia and the rapport he has developed with his Republican colleagues is important during these days of sometimes acrimony between the parties. I will definitely be supporting him in his next election cycle.

    1. Thank you, Gayla. I feel very fortunate to be represented by Sen Liias and will be supporting him in the future.

  9. Looking forward to seeing Janelle bring common sense back to Olympia and the Republican Party. We need common sense leaders, not power hungry career politicians. Marco has been in office 8 years, which is way too long in my book. The far left-Progressive Party has destroyed this country and our once beautiful cities in a short 2 years. Our cities have become crime ridden, drug infested, garbage wastelands, with tents, human feces and rats everywhere. It’s very sad when you actually have to go downtown and witness the filth, Graffiti and garbage all around you. It’s an environmental disaster that no one is talking about. It’s no accident that the city of Seattle as well as the State is run by people who are far left ideologues who believe in defunding the police, legalizing drugs and not enforcing our laws. Who reference the taking over of police stations, the burning of buildings and violence against others as the Summer of Love!! The evidence and filth is all around us and proof that their system of leadership does not work. If you want more of the same, vote for Marko. If you want to clean this mess up, Vote for Janelle. It’s that simple.

    1. Rod,
      So, 8 years is too long to be in office? Even if they are different offices? How long is too long? I’m just wondering…if someone serves their city, on the city council for instance, and runs and wins a state seat for 2 years; are they then done serving? Is 4 years too long? How do folks learn how things work at the city or state level before being “ousted” for being a career politician?

      And just so you can fact check Marko’s been in Olympia for 14 years. From Marko’s bio: In 2008, Marko was appointed to the House of Representatives where he won re-election three times. In 2014, he was appointed to the Senate, where he’s currently serving his third term as a senator.

      1. Good questions. 2 to 3 terms max or it becomes a full time career and the need to keep the power. Term limits are on the President and most Governors, so why should they not be on other politicians? Either way Marko represents the radical left that has destroyed our cities and communities. His time should be up regardless. Time to move on and elect more centrist candidates like Cass.

        1. Rod – So you’d set the same time limit for “more centrist” candidates as well? Or is it just “ his time should be up regardless” because you don’t like his policies?

  10. Thank you Janelle for putting your hat in this race. Edmonds needs a choice of candidates and your the best choice.

    The current government has ignored the homeless problem. We need solutions not the Washington State CHOP zone.

  11. I echo Mr. Tupper’s congratulations to Janelle for being willing to serve and for providing the voters an option. I personally believe Ms. Cass has the skills, ability, and common sense to help guide this district. I’m pretty much done with career politicians.

  12. I was a card carrying and donating supporter of the Democratic Party for years but after seeing what that party has done to Edmond’s city government and our town; and seeing how Seattle has gone down hill for the past ten or fifteen years with no solutions to it’s horrible social problems, I have to conclude it might be time to try something else. While I literally can’t stomach the phony Trump wing of the Republican Party, I think the more moderate folks need to be listened to and tapped for what might be some good ideas to actually solve some of our problems for a change. It’s the middle ground really exchanging ideas that solves problems I think. I like Liias in some areas of thinking, but I also like Cass and will probably vote for her this time around. She will have a very up hill battle outside of Edmond’s old town area I suspect.

    1. It’ll be great; Liias shot himself in the foot. He sponsored the magazine capacity ban, which we all know only disarms law abiding citizens and violates Section 24 of Article I of the Washington State Constitution. Anyhow, at the public hearing in the House Committee last week, Liias cited the 2016 triple homicide in Harbour Pointe as his inspiration. As tragic as that incident was, his legislation would not have altered the outcome. His bill allows 11 rounds to be carried in a firearm, which is how many shots neighbors reported hearing.

      I am so glad Janelle Cass has stepped forward to bring her knowledge, experience, and care for individual health and small businesses to Olympia as our representative in the State Senate.

  13. I met with Marko Liias years ago, requesting his help with an Edmonds issue. One thing we discussed is what should happen when elected officials are providing false or incomplete information before they vote.

    I never heard from him again, except for the emails I get from being added to his email distribution list.

    I’ve emailed Marko Liias four times since January 24, 2022. Three emails were about the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and one email was about the nationwide effort to halt Fentanyl trafficking.

    I’ve had no response to any email, not even one simply acknowledging receipt of my emails.

    I believe the time has come for new representation in Olympia and I am very thankful Janelle Cass is willing to represent us. She is brilliant, she knows how to listen and she cares about ALL the people she will represent.

  14. Ms. Cass’s town hall meeting at Yost Park when she was running for Council was outstanding in my opinion and the main reason I voted for her for that position. She does have and promotes some very viable ideas for doing something meaningful about the substance abuse and homelessness issues we are facing. Some melding of her ideas along with some of the ideas that came out of the mayor’s task force recently might just put some headway into actually solving some problems rather than just fighting about them incessantly. The Democratic Party approach of little or no policing and just letting folks do whatever they want in public spaces is an obvious failure. Enabling is never a form of helping.

  15. Some years ago i wrote Senator Liias complaining about the tollls on I 405. He returned my letter assuring me it was only a trial even though the transportation department was in the process of extending the toll area. I felt he was not truthful .

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