I learn by listening

One thing that I have learned throughout my public service, both during my school board years and in the Legislature, is the importance of being a good listener. Unfortunately, I think we have all observed politicians who mistakenly think that “talking” is their most important skill. It’s actually the “listening” that helps people become good policymakers.

That’s why I was pleased to host my second annual 12th District “listening tour” Sept. 11 through Sept. 14, during which my staff and I travelled throughout the district to hear directly from you. The listening tour idea was something I started last year to be creative, and people responded very positively.

The listening tour requires plenty of advance planning and coordination and is a busy time, but the feedback I received and the things I learn help me to serve you better. It also provides my staff and me an opportunity to prepare legislative ideas and budget requests prior to the start of session.

Our tour schedule this fall took me to all four counties in our district, starting in Leavenworth and continuing to Cashmere, Wenatchee, Chelan, Coulee City, Soap Lake, Waterville and Bridgeport, concluding in Twisp.

Last year’s tour wrapped up with a community hike up Saddle Rock, which proved to be a fun way to enjoy a great outdoor recreational opportunity and to connect with each other in a special and unique way. We concluded the tour this year on Sept. 14 with a similar idea involving a community hike up the Patterson Mountain trail near Winthrop. It was a beautiful hike.

Like last year’s tour, this year's tour provided me an opportunity to meet with many constituents (individuals, employers, local governments, and community groups) and we discussed a host of issues, including rural economic development, healthcare, wildfire management, and education.

I pride myself in being accessible to you — the people who elect me — and hearing your thoughts and ideas. Whether here in the district or in Olympia, please feel free to contact me anytime. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as your 12th District state senator.

Brad Hawkins is our 12th District state senator representing North Central Washington in Olympia. Contact info: 360-786-7622 or brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov.

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