Politics

Wednesday funeral set for Whatcom senator who battled COVID


A statewide honor is set this week for the Bellingham funeral of state Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale, who died Dec. 17 after a five-week battle with COVID-19.

A funeral service will be at noon Wednesday, Dec. 29, at Christ the King Church, 4173 Meridian St.

Flags will be flown at half-staff on Wednesday to honor Ericksen, according to a proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee at the request of Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu.

Ericksen, a Republican, represented the 42nd Legislative District that encompasses northern Bellingham and northern Whatcom County.

He offered strong support for local agricultural interests and water rights during his 12 years in the state House and 11 years in the State Senate.

It was disclosed that Ericksen was ill with COVID-19 on Nov. 12, when he contacted his legislative colleagues from El Salvador, asking for help getting advanced treatment that was unavailable there.

He obtained an air ambulance flight to a Miami-area hospital and his condition improved, a family friend told The Bellingham Herald on Nov. 19.

But no information about his condition was available after that, until a Dec. 18 statement from the state Senate Republican Caucus saying that he died Dec. 17.

No official cause of death was given.

Ericksen, 52, was born and raised in Bellingham and returned to Whatcom County after earning a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

He was elected to the state House in 1998, and to the Senate in 2010.

According to the state constitution, the Whatcom County Council will appoint a new senator to serve the 42nd District from a list of three candidates chosen by the Whatcom Republicans.

In a special Dec. 22 meeting, the council set a tentative date of Jan. 4 to consider filling the vacancy.

Whoever is named to replace Ericksen would have to face a confirmation election within a year, but Ericksen’s term expires in 2022.

State Rep. Sharon Shewmake, D-Bellingham, had said before Ericksen’s death that she was seeking his seat.

This story was originally published December 27, 2021 11:40 AM.

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Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.





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