Doug Ericksen

Douglas John Ericksen[1] (January 28, 1969 – December 17, 2021) was an American politician and lobbyist who served as a member of the Washington State Senate, representing the 42nd district from 2011 to 2021.[2] Ericksen was the ranking member of the body's Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications Committee.[3] In April 2019, he registered as a foreign agent to consult and lobby for Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia.[4]

Doug Ericksen
Doug Ericksen in 2021.png
Ericksen in July 2021
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 42nd district
In office
January 10, 2011 – December 17, 2021
Preceded byDale Brandland
Succeeded bySimon Sefzik
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 42nd district
In office
January 11, 1999 – January 10, 2011
Preceded byGeorgia Anne Gardner
Succeeded byJason Overstreet
Personal details
Born
Douglas John Erickson

(1969-01-28)January 28, 1969
Bellingham, Washington, U.S.
DiedDecember 17, 2021(2021-12-17) (aged 52)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.[citation needed]
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Tasha Ericksen
Children2
Alma mater
WebsiteOfficial

Early life and educationEdit

Ericksen was born and raised in Bellingham, Washington. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in government from Cornell University and a Master of Arts in political science and environmental policy from Western Washington University.[5]

CareerEdit

Ericksen began his political career working for Washington State Senator Ann Anderson, 42nd Legislative District, while he was attending Western Washington University. In 1998, he accepted a position with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife as a Legislative Affairs Coordinator. He left his position with the Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1998 to run for the Washington State House of Representatives.[6] After serving six terms in the House, Ericksen was elected to the Washington State Senate in 2010.[7]

As ranking member of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, Ericksen opposed bills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[8]

In January 2017, Ericksen accepted the temporary position of interim director of communications with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, but stated he would not resign from his senate seat.[9] He was named Senior Advisor to the Regional Administrator for Public Engagement but declined to take the job over commuting concerns and his position as senator.[10]

In November 2016, following protests against Donald Trump and fracking, Ericksen authored a bill that would treat some common protest actions, such as blocking traffic and rail lines, as economic terrorism and allow for felony prosecution of individuals who take part in such action.[11][12] At that time, Ericksen said to reporters: "I completely support your First Amendment right to protest, [but] you do not have the First Amendment right to block a train."[13]

Ericksen was narrowly reelected in 2018, receiving 49.9% of the 72,779 votes cast.[14]

In November 2020, Ericksen proposed legislation[15] to eliminate the voting by mail system used by the state for years and change other voting measures, citing unsubstantiated concerns about "election security".[16] Ericksen claimed that the bill was necessary and falsely claimed that there was widespread voter fraud in the state's 2020 election.[17]

In 2021, Ericksen was primary sponsor for a bill "Protecting the right of every Washington resident to decline an immunization or vaccination for COVID-19."[18] Ericksen had also voiced opposition toward state measures aiming to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as masking, social distancing, and vaccine mandates.[19]

LobbyingEdit

In May 2013, the Associated Press reported that Ericksen was "the biggest beneficiary of lobbyist expense accounts" among Washington state legislators during the first four months of 2013, receiving free meals, drinks or golf 62 times in that period. Ericksen said his meetings with lobbyists allow him to learn about issues, and argued that "A $49 dinner is not going to sway me from doing what's right for my constituents."[20][21]

In May 2018 Ericksen joined fellow state senator Michael Baumgartner, Representative Vincent Buys, and football coach Mike Leach on a trip to Cambodia.[22][23][24] He returned in July with Representatives Buys, Drew MacEwen, and Brandon Vick to observe the 2018 Cambodian general election, though MacEwen and Vick departed after the U.S. Ambassador expressed concerns about the election, which was widely called a "sham".[24][25][26] He met with Cambodia’s authoritarian prime minister Hun Sen[24][27] and later called the election "very free, very fair", saying the opposition party's elimination was a "political question".[28] Ericksen's actions were condemned by Governor Jay Inslee[24][29] and the NGO Human Rights Watch, which said of the delegation, "they hold in contempt the principles of free and fair elections, an independent media, and a neutral election administration—because all those things are lacking in Hun Sen’s Cambodia."[30] In a meeting with Sen at the United Nations in September, he called for allowing a search for MIA Vietnam War soldiers.[31]

Ericksen visited Prime Minister Hun Sen again in Phnom Penh in March 2019, where he stated his belief the 2018 Cambodian general election was "free, just and non-violent",[32] as quoted by Cambodian media that inflated his position as "US Senator".[33][34] Cambodia's elections were widely criticized by human rights groups and international observers, and the White House said they were "neither free nor fair and failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people".[35][36] Some of Ericksen's travel was paid for by campaign funds, which state law requires to be used for official responsibilities.[34]

In April 2019, Ericksen registered as a foreign lobbyist for the Cambodian government; his consulting company, co-owned with former state representative Jay Rodne, will be paid US$500,000 a year to arrange official visits between the countries and business leaders.[35][37] They are the only registered Cambodian agents besides a major lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.[38] The move was criticized by Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, who sought to sanction Cambodia's "brutal dictatorship".

In February 2021, Ericksen missed legislative votes to act as a monitor for the 2021 Salvadoran legislative election, which strengthened the position of El Salvador's authoritarian president's party.[39] He praised the country's "large military and police presence" at polling places as "reassuring".[40]

Personal life and deathEdit

Ericksen and his wife, Tasha, had two daughters, Addi and Elsa, and lived in Ferndale, Washington. Tasha is a high school teacher.[41]

In November 2021, Ericksen tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving in El Salvador. Unable to get back to the United States, Ericksen emailed Republican colleagues to help send him monoclonal antibodies (a treatment for COVID-19) as they were reportedly not available in El Salvador.[42][43] Although it was initially reported that Ericksen was medically evacuated via helicopter to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to continue treatment, the senator had not been heard from publicly since his request for the antibody treatment.[19][44] Ericksen died on December 17, 2021, at the age of 52.[45][46]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Candidate Registration, Douglas John Ericksen". Public Disclosure Commission, State of Washington. September 2, 2020. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  2. ^ "Project Vote Smart.org, Douglas Ericksen biography". Archived from the original on November 1, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  3. ^ "Environment, Energy & Technology Committee Members & Staff". Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee – Washington State Legislature. Archived from the original on April 6, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  4. ^ "US Republican senator registers to lobby for Cambodia". South China Morning Post. April 6, 2019. Archived from the original on April 6, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  5. ^ "Doug Ericksen". Ballotpedia. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  6. ^ "Doug Ericksen will see Gardner's seat". The Bellingham Herald. June 11, 1998. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  7. ^ "Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen dies after COVID battle at age 52". CBS News. December 20, 2021. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  8. ^ "Clash over climate change powers state Senate race in 42nd". The Seattle Times. September 20, 2014. Archived from the original on December 18, 2021. Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  9. ^ "Trump administration taps 2 Washington state GOP legislators to help reshape EPA". The Seattle Times. January 23, 2017. Archived from the original on October 15, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  10. ^ "Records show Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen was appointed to $133,000 EPA job, but backed out". The Seattle Times. February 27, 2018. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "Sen. Ericksen to propose bill making 'illegal protests' a felony". bellinghamherald. Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  12. ^ "Ericksen files bill adding penalties for 'economic disruption' acts". Lynden Tribune. Archived from the original on January 20, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "New protest bills: Stamping out 'economic terrorism' or chilling free expression?". Christian Science Monitor. March 16, 2017. ISSN 0882-7729. Archived from the original on December 12, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  14. ^ Mittendorf, Robert. "Ericksen, Van Werven hang on to legislative seats after hand recount — but just barely". The Bellingham Herald. Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  15. ^ "SB 5143 – 2021–22". Washington State Legislature. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  16. ^ Mittendorf, Robert (November 10, 2020). "Whatcom legislator seeks end to Washington's all-mail voting". Bellingham Herald. Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved April 3, 2021.
  17. ^ Krieg, Hannah (March 8, 2021). "WA looking at ranked-choice voting among election reform ideas". Crosscut.com. Archived from the original on August 16, 2021. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  18. ^ "SB 5144 – 2021–22". Washington State Legislature. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Mittendorf, Robert (December 10, 2021). "No word on condition of Whatcom state Sen. Doug Ericksen after COVID treatment". Bellingham Herald. Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  20. ^ Baker, Mike (May 29, 2013). "Report: Ferndale lawmaker accepts most free meals from lobbyists". AP via Bellingham Herald. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  21. ^ Associated Press (May 29, 2013). "Lobbyists pamper Washington state lawmakers with free meals in Olympia". AP via The Oregonian. Archived from the original on August 23, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  22. ^ Dara, Mech. "US Senator holds talks on 'strengthening cooperation'". The Phnom Penh Post. Archived from the original on July 27, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  23. ^ "Leach joins lawmakers on trip to Cambodia | The Spokesman-Review". www.spokesman.com. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  24. ^ a b c d "Questions raised over Washington state lawmakers' visit to Cambodia to observe elections". The Seattle Times. August 4, 2018. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  25. ^ The Seattle Times editorial board (September 23, 2018). "State Sen. Doug Ericksen out of order to approve of a sham foreign election". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  26. ^ "Hun Sen wins 'sham' Cambodia election in landslide after silencing main opposition". ABC News. July 30, 2018. Archived from the original on June 9, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  27. ^ "CAMBODIA 2017 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT" (PDF). state.gov. US State Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 21, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  28. ^ Santos, Melissa. "What in the world was Sen. Ericksen doing in Cambodia?". bellinghamherald. Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  29. ^ "Governor Inslee letter re: trips to Cambodia" (PDF). State of Washington Office of the Governor. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  30. ^ Garbell, Chelsea. "Why Are Washington State Legislators Covering for Cambodia's Sham Elections?". thediplomat.com. the diplomat. Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  31. ^ "Cambodia to let U.S. military search for MIAs; move follows controversial trips by Washington state lawmakers". The Seattle Times. October 13, 2018. Archived from the original on April 6, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  32. ^ "US politician lauds progress during meet with Hun Sen". Khmer Times. March 24, 2019. Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  33. ^ chivorn. "Cambodia Develops Rapidly with Peace and Stability: US Senator Doug Ericksen". FRESH NEWS. Archived from the original on September 30, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  34. ^ a b Brunner, Jim (May 6, 2019). "Cambodians who fled to Seattle 'shocked' as details emerge of state senator's $500K deal with regime". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on November 29, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  35. ^ a b "A Washington state senator praised the Cambodian government last year. Then it gave him a US$500,000 lobbying contract". The Seattle Times. April 5, 2019. Archived from the original on April 6, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  36. ^ "Cambodia's Government Defends Decision to Hire US Lawmaker to Lobby Congress". Radio Free Asia. Archived from the original on November 29, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  37. ^ "Washington state senator will lobby for Cambodia". POLITICO. Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  38. ^ "Sen. Doug Ericksen should break his Cambodia deal or step down". The Seattle Times. May 14, 2019. Archived from the original on December 27, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  39. ^ Gentzler, Sara (March 18, 2021). "Whatcom legislator missed floor votes during travel to El Salvador". News Tribune. Archived from the original on April 26, 2021. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  40. ^ "Mourn the dead, fight for the living | ¿Donde esta Doug? | Amazon's dominos". The Stand. March 18, 2021. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  41. ^ Perlman, Derek Kravitz,Al Shaw,Claire (March 7, 2018). "Douglas Ericksen | Trump Town". ProPublica. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  42. ^ O'Sullivan, Joseph (November 12, 2021). "Washington Sen. Doug Ericksen tests positive for COVID-19 while in El Salvador, seeks medical help from lawmakers". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  43. ^ Mittendorf, Robert (November 15, 2021). "Ferndale legislator ailing with COVID in El Salvador". Bellingham Herald. Archived from the original on February 10, 2022. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  44. ^ Perrett, Connor. "Washington lawmaker who fell ill with COVID-19 in El Salvador and was reportedly evacuated to Florida hasn't been seen since". Business Insider. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  45. ^ Gutman, David (December 18, 2021). "Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen dies; sought treatment for COVID". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  46. ^ "Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen dies after COVID battle". ABC News. December 19, 2021. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved December 20, 2021.

External linksEdit