When the news about State Senator Doug Ericksen’s passing reached me, I was suddenly saddened by both grief and an enormous sense of gratitude for the legacy he leaves behind.

Born and raised in Whatcom County, Doug was a preacher’s son who served as a legislator since 1998.  We were both elected State Representatives that year – he as a Republican, and I as a Democrat. Doug, 29 years old at the time, surprisingly bucked the tide and won in a Democrat landslide election year which set up a 49-49 tie in the House of Representatives and Co-Speakers.

Doug was an absolute champion fighter for what he believed in.

Doug won by just 108 votes, the closest race in the state that year! I remember thinking right after election day, “Darn, Ericksen should have lost that race…well, he is not going to be there much longer.” I was never more wrong that day, as we served together for a total of 18 years, as I came to respect him for what he fought for. Doug served our state for the next 23 years, as he kept winning close race after close race for the State House and later for the State Senate.

He kept winning and he quickly made a name for himself debating colleagues on the House and Senate floors—one of those go to speakers who made everyone pay attention.  At first, he made me angry, as he was known as a “bomb thrower,” one of those very passionate attackers who just seemed to want to throw zingers at opponents, but soon he quickly learned the policy and learned how to get wavering folks onto his side with consummate policy arguments that made one think.

Doug had become an expert on the policy issues, and that made him a master debater. I remember coming up to Doug after one of his floor speeches, telling him, “Fantastic debate, I changed my vote because of your arguments!”

Doug was an absolute champion for Jesus Christ.

While Sen. Ericksen was well known for his environmental expertise and knowledge, it is less known that he was a champion for Christians and the teachings of Jesus Christ. For the past three years, Doug scored 100% (the only legislator!) on FPIW Action’s (our sister organization) legislative scorecard, which means he supported our entire Christian Legislative Agenda, a total of 35 recorded votes without faltering at all on the critical issues of life, marriage and family, religious freedom, parental rights, and Christian social justice. When it comes to fighting for a Christian agenda, Doug was literally #1 in our state.

Because of his flawless performance, Sen. Doug Ericksen, along with Rep. Jesse Young, were recently selected as Legislator of the Year for FPIW Action for 2021. In his honor, FPIW Action will now name their Legislator of the Year Award, the “Senator Doug Ericksen Legislator Leadership Award.”

One could always count on Doug to boldly share the truth, knowing that by speaking the truth, he would sometimes garner less than pleasant attention from the press, social media and from some of his political opponents.  He didn’t care. He faithfully served our God and knew that popularity on earth meant nothing to obtaining justice on earth and salvation in heaven.

When Doug ended his earthly life and began anew with God, I have no doubt that he was greeted, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

May we use Senator Ericksen’s example to inspire each of us to walk through the flames for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Doug will be missed on the Senate floor and across our state. Our deepest condolences go to his wife Tasha, their two daughters, and all of Doug’s loved ones. Washington will not be the same without him, and he is already dearly missed by many.

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.