SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen has died at age 52.
Ericksen’s death Friday came weeks after he said he had tested positive for the coronavirus while in El Salvador, though his cause of death wasn’t immediately released. The state Senate Republican Caucus confirmed his passing Saturday but did not say where he died.
Ericksen, a Ferndale Republican, reached out to Republican colleagues last month saying he had taken a trip to El Salvador and tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after he arrived.
Reasons for his visit were unclear.
In a message to state House and Senate members, Ericksen asked for advice on how to receive monoclonal antibodies, which were not available in the Latin American nation.
“No state agency or political subdivision of the state may enact or issue a rule, ordinance, order, or any similar policy that would result in an individual being required to submit to vaccination or immunization for COVID-19 despite his or her religious, philosophical, or personal objections.” – Senate Bill 5144 by Senators Ericksen et al [full text]
He soon arranged a medevac flight from El Salvador, former state Rep. Luanne Van Werven said. Van Werven said the next week that the senator was recovering at a Florida hospital. No information about his location or condition had since been released.
Ericksen represented the 42nd District in Whatcom County and had been in the Legislature since 1998, the Seattle Times reported. He served six terms in the state House before being elected to the Senate in 2010.
Ericksen was a former leader of Donald Trump’s campaign in Washington.
He also was an outspoken critic of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 emergency orders, and had introduced legislation aimed at protecting the rights of people who do not wish to get vaccinated.
It was unclear if Ericksen had been inoculated against the coronavirus.
“Washington state is Number One in government coercion.” – Late Sen. Doug Ericksen, explaining his bill that would prohibit discrimination against the unvaccinated
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should be fully vaccinated before visiting El Salvador, where current levels of COVID-19 are “high.”