- Associated Press - Thursday, February 2, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Sen. Doug Ericksen said Thursday the Republican majority in the state Senate can rely on him as his juggles dual roles as state senator and a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team.

Ericksen noted his presence on the Senate floor the previous evening for a key vote on an education bill, and votes that same night on several bills in a committee he chairs, as an example that he’s able to do both jobs.

The Republican from Ferndale’s meeting with reporters to discuss his temporary posting was a day later than originally planned because of a cancelled flight out of Washington, D.C., but Ericksen disputed that commuting from the east coast was any more difficult than it is for lawmakers who have to travel from the far reaches of the state and who have to deal with snow and mountain passes.

“There are many things that influence a member’s ability to get here,” he said.

Republicans hold a Senate majority by just one vote, which means Ericksen’s schedule can complicate their ability to schedule controversial floor votes.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Tina Podlodowski issued a statement threatening to “use every legal and political avenue we have” if Ericksen doesn’t resign, citing previous canceled hearings and missed votes in the committee that Ericksen chairs.

“It’s outrageous for Senator Doug Ericksen to claim that he can responsibly serve the people of Washington State and the people of the 42nd legislative district while also working in Washington D.C. for Donald Trump,” she wrote.

Ericksen said his has received overwhelming support from his constituents, and called the job with the Trump administration a “unique opportunity.”

He says that both state and federal lawyers have told him his temporary dual role as communications director for the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team is legal.

He also noted the temporary nature of his position, saying that the contract he signed was up to 120 days, but “could be much less.”

“I could be done tomorrow, I could be done with this job in 10 days,” he said.

He skirted the issue of how much he’s being paid for his transition work, saying that the salary hasn’t been determined yet, other than he’s “losing money on the deal.”

He said he is still collecting his annual state salary of $46,839, but has stopped collected the daily lawmaker stipend of $120 a day. Senate administrators said he hasn’t collected the stipend since Jan. 15.

Ericksen said he hasn’t been offered, and currently isn’t seeking, a permanent position in Washington, D.C., and said that he doesn’t want to move his family. But he said if a regional position opened at EPA, or other agencies like Interior or Agriculture, “all of those would be things that I would consider.”

Ericksen said he currently has plans to be back in D.C. on Sunday, and then will be “back and forth” during the current 105-day legislative session.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide