Former Washington State legislator and Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA) executive director Mark Doumit received a high honor from state lawmakers this week. The Washington State House of Representatives unanimously approved Resolution 2022 – 4650, recognizing Mark for his service to Washington and the people of the state.
State Reps. Frank Chopp (D – Seattle), Debra Lekanoff (D – Bow), Joel Kretz (R – Wauconda) and State House Minority Leader JT Wilcox (R – Yelm) served as champions and primary sponsors of the resolution. But in an inspiring show of bipartisanship and collegiality, all 98 House legislators signed on as co-sponsors.
The resolution chronicled Mark’s more than 40 years in public service. This included a career as a volunteer firefighter and EMT beginning at age 16, two terms as a Wahkiakum County Commissioner from 1988–1996, State Representative for the 19th legislative district from 1996–2002, State Senator for the 19th legislative district from 2002–2006, and natural resources advocate from 2006 to the time of his passing.
One of Mark’s crowning achievements as a legislator was his work as chair of the House Natural Resources Committee where he sponsored the Forests & Fish Law. The landmark legislation has helped support salmon habitat and recovery efforts, preserving more than 60,000 miles of streams running through 9.3 million acres of private and public forestland.
During his tenure as WFPA executive director, Mark worked with state policymakers and agencies to combat climate change, promote forest health and prevent catastrophic wildfires through the forestry sector. Mark drew from his experiences as a small tree farmer, conservationist, commercial fisherman and lifelong Washington state resident to foster mutual understanding and promote collaboration among foresters, Washington’s tribes, environmentalists and local and state agencies.
Lawmakers who worked with Mark while he was a legislator and then later as an advocate for sustainably managed working forests and the nearby communities that rely on the natural resource sector, described him as kind, affable, intelligent, strategic, humorous and an honorable man who was a friend to all. Considered an elder statesman among legislators, Mark served as an example of bipartisanship and the importance relationship-building.
Said Lekanoff in an email to her legislative colleagues:
“As a freshman, Mark came all the way to see me in Bellingham several times and took the time to mentor and teach me through his shared legislative experience. My laughs were over Alaska fishing stories and knowing he walked the same roads as myself and my family. Mark reminded me of my own small-town teachings of loyalty and respect for one another, which would play out in building my own future in the legislature. For me, Mark was like walking with an uncle from my family.”
Mark unexpectedly passed in June 2021. Mark was 59.