State senator announces he's running for lieutenant governor

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Kirkland, has announced he is running for lieutenant governor.

Habib, the Senate Democratic whip, is seeking the seat currently held by Democrat Brad Owen, who has been in office since he was first elected in 1996.

Habib said in a statement Friday that he wants to lead the Senate "in a more collaborative direction." He was elected to the Senate in 2014 after serving in the state House of Representatives from 2012-14.

Blind since age 8, Habib is the first Iranian-American elected to a state office in the United States.  He is also a lawyer and a professor at Seattle University School of Law.

Owen on Friday said he is "not making a decision at this time" about whether to seek a sixth term in 2016. Owen says he and his wife will review their options.

The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate and is the acting governor when the governor is out of state.

Republican Javier Figueroa is also running for lieutenant governor. He is a member of the University Place City Council and serves as mayor pro tem.