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County Council delays appointing senator to replace Ericksen

January 5, 2022 GMT

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Whatcom County Council members have voted to delay naming a replacement for state Sen. Doug Ericksen, who died after becoming ill with COVID-19.

The council voted 4-2 at a special meeting Tuesday to delay naming a replacement for the Ferndale Republican until their Jan. 11 meeting, The Bellingham Herald reported.

Council member Ben Elenbaas, one of three candidates for the vacancy, recused himself from the process.

Ericksen, who died last month, represented the 42nd Legislative District that includes northern Bellingham and northern Whatcom County for more than two decades.

Council member Tyler Byrd said any delay would be an injustice to people in that district who need help from Olympia with severe flooding that caused millions in damage in November.

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But council member Rud Browne said he compiled a list of questions from residents and wanted answers to those questions from the candidates.

Ericksen was a Republican, so under state law, the Whatcom Republicans — the local GOP organization — submitted three candidates for the County Council to consider.

They include Elenbass, who represents the council’s 5th District, encompassing western Whatcom County, works BP Cherry Point refinery and is a farmer; Simon Sefzik of Ferndale who recently graduated from a conservative Christian college and interned in Congress and at the White House; and Tawsha Dykstra Thompson, a former Bellingham Police sergeant who left the department in December.