Sen. Jeff Wilson issues statement on passing of Sen. Doug Ericksen

Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, released the following statement regarding the death of Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale. Ericksen, 52, died Friday following a month-long illness.

“Doug was one of the giants of the Washington Legislature, a fearless voice for the principles he and his constituents held dear. Protection of individual rights and freedoms, preserving the people’s ability to influence their government, and maintaining good-paying jobs beyond the Seattle city limits. He delighted in calling state agencies and elected officials to account whenever they overstepped their bounds, as they so often do.

“Doug brought a practical problem-solving approach to every issue he addressed, as chairman of the Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, and later, as ranking minority member — from speeding up state-funded cleanups of contaminated industrial sites to ensuring we have workable regulations to protect oil-train safety. I think the people of Whatcom County have Doug to thank for the progress we see being made in the revitalization of the Bellingham Bay waterfront. And I hope someday his vision for expanded hatcheries on Puget Sound is realized, before the orca go extinct.

“Activists on the left often charged heresy when he failed to hew to their line. But I think Doug’s pragmatic approach to environmental issues made good sense. And his sense of humor was second to none. I think we all laughed when Doug introduced legislation to restore Seattle’s waterways to a pristine wilderness condition, allowing the people of Seattle to ‘go first’ in environmental restoration, and suggesting we could have canoe tours where the Boeing plant used to be. And now that he is gone, I think even those on the other side of the aisle will agree that he was the best speaker on the Senate floor.

“I am proud to call Senator Doug Ericksen a friend and mentor. We can only aspire to what Sen. Ericksen accomplished in his long legislative career. His death is a terrible loss to the Senate. I already miss him terribly, and I am sure my feelings are shared by everyone who has the honor to serve.”