Friday, May 24, 2024

State Senator Brad Hawkins enjoys family time over the summer

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State Senator Brad Hawkins, who has been serving District 12 as a senator since 2017 and was re-elected in 2020, has been enjoying a summer in the Wenatchee Valley with his family. Hawkins first served in state government in the Washington State House of Representatives from 2013 to 2017. Hawkins grew up in Wenatchee and graduated from Wenatchee High School. He went to Central Washington University for his undergraduate degree and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. for his master’s degree in Public Administration. After graduation, he returned to the Wenatchee Valley, and he now lives with his wife and two children in East Wenatchee.

1.) Do you and your family have any fun plans this summer?

Yes, it’s been a busy summer so far for our family. Our boys, Tyler, and Luke are 12 and 14 and they have been very involved in youth baseball and swimming. Family time so far this summer has mostly consisted of baseball tournaments and swim meets. My wife Shawna and I plan to slip away for a couple days when the kids go off to a camp the same week. 

I’m also planning on going to Eugene, Oregon, with my older son Luke later this summer. He is also a runner, and we plan to watch some of the World Track & Field Championships in the new $200 million track stadium that Nike built at the University of Oregon. We can’t wait!

2.)  What is your favorite summer activity?

My favorite activity at all times of the year is to spend quality time with my family. My wife Shawna is a teacher, so she has a couple months off in the summer. My legislative schedule is much more manageable in the summer too, so we have been trying to maximize time with the kids while they are young (and don’t yet get embarrassed by us).

3.) What do you and your kids love to do during the summer?

Summer is a very special time in our area, so we enjoy being active and being outdoors. We also enjoy watching movies, either at the theater or at home, or especially when the weather is hot and we need a rest. Our favorite movie so far this summer, of course, was Top Gun Maverick. I’ve seen it twice. It’s amazing. 

Summer, however, often causes me concern as a legislator because our region has been affected so significantly in past years with wildfires. This has led to much of my legislative work, a close partnership with the state DNR, and can keep me very busy during some summer weeks. I know we are all hoping for a more moderate summer in terms of wildfire. The unusually cool spring could really help us.

4.) What is your favorite summer meal? 

I really enjoy breakfast, probably way too much since the COVID pandemic. I usually start the morning with black tea, milk, creamer, and Splenda (my wife doesn’t approve of the Splenda). It’s a weird mix, but somehow, I can’t live without it. In the mid-morning, I often make some big pancakes that fulfill me until later in the afternoon. That’s probably a good thing too because I’ve probably consumed enough calories for two meals.

5.How did you spend summer as a kid?

Summer was great for me as a boy. I was raised in Wenatchee and had a terrific time, riding my bike on the new loop trail, tubing with friends in the Columbia River, and training for Wenatchee High School cross country. I rarely remember smoke-filled skies during my summer years as a child in Wenatchee, so things have really changed, unfortunately.

6. Did you imagine serving in government as a kid? 

My father Buell was always very involved in our community and later in public service as a Chelan County commissioner. I greatly admired his commitment, so that inspired me to serve. I also helped state Representative Dale Foreman and worked as a Washington State Senate intern in college. I enjoyed that very much and found it both challenging and rewarding, so I knew serving in government someday could be a possibility for me.

7. Being a state senator, what are your interactions in the community like in your everyday life?

I love our community and its people and have always felt a strong connection. My thought is that these positions exist to serve the people who elect you, and that includes everyone in the district, regardless of their political philosophy. I think people understand that this is my approach, so my interactions are positive. I also work very hard to be a good communicator, and this first involves being a good listener.

8.  What are you looking forward to about your children's futures? 

My wife and I often wonder what the future will bring for our kids. They are terrific kids, but very different. What we emphasize most for them is for them to “be you” and be passionate about the things you care about, whatever those may be. We emphasize hard work and kindness in our family. These two qualities can take people far in life and help make the world a bit better.

9.  What was it like going to Central Washington University?

Central Washington University as an undergrad was great to me. I didn’t want to be in Seattle and my brother had attended WSU. I was competitive in cross country, but wasn’t quite fast enough for Division I, so I competed in cross country and track for Central, which was great. I also met my wife there while attending school. I went on to complete my master’s degree at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I went from one Washington to the other. That too was a terrific experience and help me learn and grow.

10. What was it like growing up in the Wenatchee Valley and why did you decide to come back?

I loved growing up in Wenatchee and always wanted to come back. Some people say, “Other than apples, children are our number one export,” but I never wanted that to be me. My goal was always to go away, learn a lot, and return with the knowledge to raise a family here and help my community. Having been married to my wife Shawna for 20 years now, two terrific kids, multiple dogs, and service on school boards and the legislature, I am grateful. I try to bring all this experience with me to Olympia to help our community and its families.

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