A conservative member of the Senate, Sen. Doug Ericksen died on Friday. Although no cause of death was mentioned, the senator had been battling a COVID-19 infection, since a month, after he returned from El Salvador. He had been against Covid vaccine mandates, before his death as he called vaccinations an individual choice.
Ericksen’s family shared a brief message through Washington State’s Republican Caucus that they were “heartbroken” to state that their “husband and father passed away on Friday, Dec. 17.” They asked for their family to be kept in people’s prayers and to respect their privacy in their difficult times.
Ericksen had been infected with COVID-19 when he visited El Salvador last month, according to a report in the Seattle Times. Former state rep. Luanne Van Werven said that the senator had arranged a medevac flight back to the U.S. He had also checked himself to a Florida hospital the week after, for treatment, according to the Associated Press.
Although his vaccination status was not known, it was commonly known that he was against vaccine mandates. He attempted to introducing a bill that would block the mandate imposed by Washington state.
In August, Ericksen said that the bill was not “pro-vaccine” or “anti-vaccine.” Instead he said that it was “pro-individual choice.” He said that they needed to respect people’s rights to make their own decisions.
He had often crossed paths with Jay Inslee, who is the governor of Washington state. They had opposing views on COVID as well as on climate change.
Governor Inslee sent condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Doug and said that their (his and Trudi’s) hearts were with them. Many other colleagues also sent their condolences.
Ericksen had served six terms in the House. In 2010, he was elected to the Senate. He represented Whatcom County, Washington. He entered the state legislature in 1998. He also lead former president Donald Trump’s campaign in Washington. He was 52 and is survived by his wife Tasha and two daughters, Addi and Elsa.