By Brad Hawkins
It is truly an honor to represent the 12th District in Olympia. It is one of the largest geographic districts in the state. Its boundaries include Chelan County, Douglas County and portions of Grant and Okanogan counties. Approximately half of Okanogan County, including the entire Methow Valley, resides in District 12, which extends all the way north to the Canadian border. As you can imagine in a district of this size, opinions on critical state issues can vary as greatly as the geography.
This is why it is so important for me, as your state representative, to be active throughout our district and to hear directly from you. It was an honor to spend time in the Methow Valley this summer while the Legislature was not in session. My family visited the Methow on a few occasions for rest and relaxation. My trip to the Methow last summer was one of my first official visits following the extended legislative session in Olympia. After months of rainy days and political debate, I cannot tell you what a welcome relief it was to turn off Highway 97 toward the valley. A calm, relaxing feeling began to settle in, seemingly more with each mile further traveled upriver. My day in Twisp — “the Heart of the Methow” — only reinforced the positive feelings and warmth I was experiencing. You all were so relaxed, gracious, and hospitable.
Truly the Methow is a destination, and I know that a large portion of your economy depends on tourism and outdoor recreation. These opportunities are as important to the tourists as to the locals, which I can understand and appreciate. As your state representative, I also visited officially during the past summer to meet with local businesses, city officials, and the Twisp Chamber of Commerce. I heard from local small businesses about navigating through the down economy, the area’s dependence on tourism, and desire for the state to do more to help promote Washington. Twisp Mayor Soo Ing-Moody was a gracious host — and a powerful advocate on issues. We will surely pick up discussions where we left off when she visits Olympia later this month.
I experienced the unique culture that exists in the Methow: from your love of the arts to your heartfelt interest in the education of future generations. As the father of two young boys, I share your passion for education in our state to meet 21st century standards to help kids be successful long after school, and to find work within our borders. I am the first 12th District legislator to serve on the House Education Committee in more than 30 years, and will continue to advocate for education as a priority in our budget. I remember Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable asking me questions about early learning during lunch, and I appreciate the great work going on in your schools.
My memories of being in the Methow Valley this past year, both as your representative and with my family, were special. While the 12th Legislative District is incredibly large and diverse, I will keep the Methow Valley in my mind as I make decisions in Olympia. I will take what you have shared with me, your concerns as well as your accomplishments, and share them with colleagues in Olympia to ensure we have the best policies for every part of our state. Though there are varied interests in our district, I always put the people I represent before special interests that may try to sway me.
Transparency is also incredibly important to me, so I strive to respond to constituent calls and emails quickly, and I regularly send out email updates to a list of those who wish to be updated on the session. Visit my website at www.representativebradhawkins.com to sign up. Please feel free to contact me anytime this legislative session (January through mid-March). If you are ever in Olympia, please stop in. It is my honor to serve and represent you.
Brad Hawkins (R-East Wenatchee) is a state representative for District 12, which includes Chelan, Douglas and portions of Grant and Okanogan counties. He can be reached at (360) 786-7832, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via his official website at www.representativebradhawkins.com.