Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen dies after battle with COVID

<p><p>State Sen. Doug Ericksen, a stalwart conservative, former leader of Donald Trump’s campaign in Washington and an outspoken critic of COVID-19 emergency orders, died Friday. He was 52.</p></p><p><p>Ericksen had said last month that he tested positive for the coronavirus, although his cause of death was not immediately confirmed on Saturday.</p></p><p><p>“We are heartbroken to share that our husband and father passed away,” Ericksen’s wife, Tasha, and his two daughters said in a prepared statement Saturday. “Please keep our family in your prayers and thank you for continuing to respect our privacy in this extremely difficult time.”</p></p><p><p>Ericksen, a Republican from Ferndale, had been in El Salvador, where he tested positive for the virus that causes COVID. He wrote last month to his Republican colleagues asking if they could help him get treatment.</p></p><p><p>“I took a trip to El Salvador and tested positive for COVID shortly after I arrived,” he wrote. “I cannot get back home, and it’s to the point that I feel it would be beneficial for me to receive an iv of monoclonal antibodies (Regeneron). I have a doctor here who can administer the iv, but the product is not available here.”</p></p><p><p>“Do any of you have any ideas on how I could get the monoclonal antibodies sent to me here,” Ericksen continued. “Ideally, I would like to get it on a flight tonight so it would be here by tomorrow.”</p></p><p><p>ADVERTISING</p></p><p><p>Skip Ad</p></p><p><p>Skip Ad</p></p><p><p>Skip Ad</p></p><p><p>Ericksen had been an outspoken critic of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s orders and mandates, intended to fight the spread of the virus. He had introduced legislation intended to protect the rights of people who won’t get vaccinated and had repeatedly called on Inslee to resign.</p></p><p><p>It was unclear if Ericksen had been vaccinated.</p></p><p><p>Ericksen had served in the Legislature since 1998. He served six terms in the state House before being elected to the state Senate in 2010.</p></p><p><p>It was unclear Friday why Ericksen visited El Salvador — but it’s not his first visit to that country or others in recent years.</p></p><p><p>Ericksen in 2019 registered with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent to conduct lobbying work on behalf of the Cambodian government, scoring a $500,000 contract for his new firm.</p></p><p><p>That contract came after Ericksen traveled to Cambodia to observe — and ultimately praise — the country’s widely condemned 2018 elections. Those elections took place as a government crackdown shuttered independent media organizations and dissolved a key opposition party.</p></p><p><p>A longtime foe of environmental regulations, Ericksen was chosen by Trump in 2017 to be part of a transition effort to reshape the Environmental Protection Agency. He split his time between Olympia and Washington, D.C., during that stretch.</p></p><p><p>As the top Republican on the state Senate’s environmental committee, Ericksen had strongly opposed Inslee’s initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions. He had shrugged off the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming, with statements like “climate change will always happen.”</p></p><p><p>In his last campaign he touted his efforts to protect his Whatcom County district’s farms, oil refineries and an aluminum smelter.</p></p>