FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2017
42nd District Citizens Undaunted by Recall Decision
The citizen-led recall of Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen, D-42, was dismissed in court this morning with a finding of “insufficient grounds”. In her decision, Whatcom Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis confirmed that there is no standard expectation of service against which Washington State senators can be judged. Senators are not required to do anything, and therefore cannot fail to meet the standard.
“The performance of Sen. Ericksen in his duties as senator has to mean something,” Montoya-Lewis said. “But there’s no standard that’s laid out in the statutes. There’s no description. There’s no case law that indicates what ‘discharge of his duties under his oath of office’ means.”
Petitioners were disappointed to learn that the remedy of recall is not available when a senator so clearly and intentionally neglects the business of the senate and the work of representing the people of his district.
“It is astonishing to learn that our state senator can just decide not to do his job and there is literally no remedy available to us until he is up for re-election. In my mind, showing up to work is a bi-partisan value” said Elizabeth Hartsoch of Riveters Collective. “Finding sponsors for legislation to close this loophole is a clear path forward for us. As is identifying a responsive and collaborative leader willing to take Senator Ericksen’s seat in the next election”.
Stephen Gockley, counsel for the petitioners, introduced evidence showing that in addition to his extensive record of meeting absences, Senator Ericksen has inappropriately claimed per diem payments of $120/day on days when he was demonstrably not working on senate business in any way. He also argued that while occasional absences from meetings or votes are normal for senators, it is unprecedented for a senator to acknowledge a complete disengagement from senate business by declining per diem on so many days. A timeline of Senator Ericksen’s 2017 legislative session attendance and per diem claims is available on the Riveters Collective website.
“I’m proud of this citizen led effort and the amazing response we’ve had from constituents. Nearly 3,000 people have signed petitions, provided evidence, made calls and participated in this recall effort” said Michael Shepard. “We will continue to be engaged, seeking accountability and effective representation for the 42nd district.”
Petitioners intend to continue holding Senator Ericksen accountable, beginning with attendance at his town hall meeting on Saturday.