By Stefanie Donahue
From the floor of the Washington State Capital, state senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) told reporters that he will not take a job with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), despite early media reports that he had been
appointed to a regional position.
On January 5, The Bellingham Herald reported that Ericksen was appointed to senior advisor to the Region 10 Administrator for the agency’s office in Seattle, citing statements from an executive assistant for Chris Hladick, regional administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Northwest and Alaska regional offices. When asked to comment, Ericksen neither confirmed nor denied the claims.
Ericksen remained silent until January 8, the first day of the state’s legislative session. In a statement, he called the report, and others published over the weekend, “erroneous” and “inaccurate.”
This is not Ericksen’s first run-in with the EPA – from January to May 2017, he worked as a temporary communications director for President Donald Trump’s transition team. Opposed to his choice to dually serve the White House and constituents in District 42, voters attempted a recall effort last year. In March, their petition was denied in Whatcom Superior Court.
On Monday, Ericksen lauded President Trump’s “most successful first year of any president in the modern era” and applauded his administration’s choice to appoint Hladick as regional administrator for the EPA, stating, “Mr. Hladick is exceptionally well-qualified for the position and will bring common-sense leadership back to our federal government.”
In a prepared statement, Ericksen said, “As a state senator who has been elected nine times by the people of the 42nd District, I always try to do what is best for my constituents, the state and my family.”
He confirmed to reporters on Monday that he’d seek re-election after his term expires this year. In response to the news, Washington Senate Democratic Campaign executive director Adam Bartz issued the following statement:
“The news that Senator Ericksen is running for re-election makes the 42nd district Senate seat a near-lock for Democratic victory in 2018. This district was won by Hillary Clinton, Patty Murray and Jay Inslee in the 2016 elections, and voters are now even more energized to support Democratic candidates after seeing the disaster that is the Trump Administration. And with a Republican incumbent as unpopular as Doug Ericksen on the ballot, this district is poised to flip to the Democrats.”
Additional reporting contributed by Josh Kelety from the WNPA Olympia News Bureau.