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|Member of the Washington State Senate|
from the 42nd district
|Assumed office |
|Born||January 28, 1969|
Douglas Ericksen (born January 28, 1969) is an American politician. A Republican, he is a member of the Washington State Senate for the 42nd District in Whatcom County. Ericksen serves as the ranking member of the body's Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications Committee. In April 2019, he registered as a foreign agent to consult and lobby for the Kingdom of Cambodia.
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Ericksen attended Cornell University and Western Washington University and worked as a policy analyst for Washington Senate Republican Caucus. He was first elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 1998 elected to the Washington Senate in 2010.
In January 2017, Ericksen accepted the temporary position of interim director of communications with the US EPA but stated he does not intend to resign his senate seat. 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.
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 $500,000 a year to arrange official visits between the countries and business leaders.
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."
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. 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."
In May 2018 Ericksen joined fellow state senator Michael Baumgartner, Representative Vincent Buys, and football coach Mike Leach on a trip to Cambodia. 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". He met with Cambodia’s authoritarian prime minister Hun Sen and later called the election "very free, very fair", saying the opposition party's elimination is a "political question". Ericksen's actions were condemned by Governor Jay Inslee 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." In a meeting with Sen at the UN in September, he called for allowing a search for MIA Vietnam War soldiers.
Ericksen visited Hun Sen in Phnom Penh in March 2019, where he stated his belief the 2018 Cambodian general election was "free, just and non-violent." 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."
Ericksen was narrowly reelected in 2018, receiving 49.9% of the 72,779 votes cast.
- Project Vote Smart.org, Douglas Ericksen biography
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- Associated Press (May 29, 2013). "Lobbyists pamper Washington state lawmakers with free meals in Olympia". AP via The Oregonian. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
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- 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. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- "Hun Sen wins 'sham' Cambodia election in landslide after silencing main opposition". ABC News. July 30, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "CAMBODIA 2017 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT" (PDF). state.gov. US State Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 21, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
- Santos, Melissa. "What in the world was Sen. Ericksen doing in Cambodia?". bellinghamherald. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "Governor Inslee letter re: trips to Cambodia" (PDF). State of Washington Office of the Governor.
- Garbell, Chelsea. "Why Are Washington State Legislators Covering for Cambodia's Sham Elections?". thediplomat.com. the diplomat. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
- "Cambodia to let U.S. military search for MIAs; move follows controversial trips by Washington state lawmakers". The Seattle Times. October 13, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
- "US politician lauds progress during meet with Hun Sen". Khmer Times. March 24, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- Mittendorf, Robert. "Ericksen, Van Werven hang on to legislative seats after hand recount — but just barely". The Bellingham Herald. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
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