Conservative Washington state lawmaker dies after positive COVID-19 test
A conservative Washington state lawmaker who had tested positive for COVID-19 died on Friday at the age of 52.
Washington Senate Minority Leader John Braun (R) announced on Saturday that state Sen. Doug Ericksen (R) had died.
“I am deeply saddened by the news that Doug passed away yesterday,” Braun said.
“My prayers and thoughts are with his wife, Tasha, and his daughters. Doug could be larger than life and our caucus will miss him greatly. He was passionate about his duties as a member of the Legislature and dedicated to his constituents,” he added.
Ericksen revealed last month that he had tested positive for COVID-19 while on a trip to El Salvador. He contacted his legislative colleagues asking for advice on how to receive monoclonal antibodies while in the Central American country, according to The Associated Press.
The senator was eventually transported out of El Salvador aboard a medevac flight and continued recovering from the virus at a hospital in Florida, the AP reported, citing former state Rep. Luanne Van Werven (R).
The senator’s family said it was “heartbroken” to share the news of Ericksen’s death.
“Please keep our family in your prayers and thank you for continuing to respect our privacy in this extremely difficult time,” the family added in a statement, according to KING 5 News in Seattle.
Sen. Doug Ericksen died last night. Family statement: “We are heartbroken to share that our husband and father passed away on Friday, Dec. 17. Please keep our family in your prayers and thank you for continuing to respect our privacy in this extremely difficult time.”
— Drew Mikkelsen (@drewmikkelsenk5) December 19, 2021
It is unclear if Ericksen had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Ericksen was first elected to the state Senate in 2010 to represent Washington’s 42nd District. He headed former President Trump’s campaign in Washington and was tapped in 2017 to help his transition team with the Environmental Protection Agency, according to The Seattle Times.
He had reportedly been a fierce critic of COVID-19 restrictions that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) implemented throughout the pandemic, including various orders and mandates.
The senator had also introduced legislation meant to safeguard the rights of individuals who refused to get vaccinated, according to the Times.
Inslee on Saturday said he and his wife “send our deep condolences to Sen. Doug Ericksen’s family, friends and colleagues.”
“Our hearts are with him,” he added in a statement.
Trudi and I send our deep condolences to Sen. Doug Ericksen’s family, friends and colleagues. Our hearts are with them.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) December 19, 2021
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