Thank you for supporting my sixth annual listening tour

Sen. Brad Hawkins (left) discussed education issues with Lake Chelan School District Superintendent Brad Wilson (right) on Sept. 16 during his 12th District Listening Tour. Courtesy Brad Hawkins

I recently concluded the first portion of my sixth annual 12th District listening tour. Traveling throughout our district with my staff has become an annual tradition each fall, the time of year when legislators begin planning for the upcoming legislative session. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the past two listening tours consisted primarily of remote meetings. This year’s tour included in-person meetings with remote meetings available as an option.
This year’s listening tour is split between the traditional areas of the 12th District and the new areas resulting from the recent state redistricting. The first portion of the tour took place September 13-16, with visits to Cashmere, Leavenworth, Chelan, and Wenatchee. The remaining tour will take place November 14–18 in the King and Snohomish counties portion of the new 12th District.
Past listening tours have taken me all throughout the 12th District and helped me connect with issues important to all four counties. Many of these communities, unfortunately, will no longer be within the 12th District boundaries going forward, which is why this year’s Chelan County stops featured Cashmere, Leavenworth, Chelan, and Wenatchee. During my meetings this year, key topics included the state budget, health care, education, land use, wildfire, recreation, and more. This feedback will be very helpful for me when casting important votes in Olympia.
Hosting a listening tour each year helps prepare me for our state’s annual legislative session. Ideas shared during past listening tours have turned into successful legislative action. As examples, a suggestion by Leavenworth officials to dispose of brush and yard clippings resulted in a bill that became law in 2018. A funding request for the Saddle Rock trail in Wenatchee became reality when it was included in the state budget two years ago, and a road-paving project to a popular fishing location in Okanogan County was recently funded. A biochar demonstration project to reduce wildfire risk was also funded, as well as significant improvements to Pinnacles Prep School. All were ideas first raised by constituents during listening tours. Besides legislative ideas, I also collect helpful comments that prepare me to make better decisions for you. 
As I reflect upon discussions from this year’s listening tour and look ahead to the legislative session, I will be better prepared to represent us in the Senate. When legislators convene at the state Capitol in January, the primary focus will be developing budgets for the 2023-2025 biennium. This two-year period runs July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025. Legislators likely will approve all three budgets in April or May.
Your support has been terrific throughout my six years of listening tours. Whether you were able to join me this year or not, please know that my position exists to serve you. Please reach out to me anytime, either in Olympia or here at home. I always appreciate hearing your thoughts and ideas about state government. Contrary to what some people may think, listening is the most important skill any elected official can have. It certainly helps me do my job better.

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