Celebrating Washington apples with special license plate

Clarke and Clarke Orchard e-header

January 20, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Many of you know that I love eating Washington apples. So much so that my legislative colleagues often see me crunching on them throughout the session. Honeycrisps are my favorite! My son refers to them as “nature’s candy,” which I think is quite appropriate. As you know, agriculture and Washington apples are a huge part of our 12th District and state economy. Washington produces over 100 million boxes of apples each year and the state ships throughout our domestic and international markets. For information about Washington apples, click here.

apple box

Big year for the Washington apple industry

This year is a very significant year for Washington apples with ongoing trade issues occurring internationally and the release of the newest apple variety, the Cosmic Crisp. While there are approximately 2,500 known varieties of apples in the United States, this latest variety – in development for many years – is expected to be one of the very best. Developed by the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, the Cosmic Crisp is a hybrid of the Honeycrisp and Enterprise varieties. For information on the Cosmic Crisp, please click here.

Washington Apple Education Foundation

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF), the charity developed by our local tree fruit industry. WAEF provides college scholarships to farmworker and agricultural families and helps connect our local values with expanded educational opportunities. Thanks to the generosity of our agricultural industry, WAEF has provided over $9 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 students since it was founded in 1994. It has been my honor to attend many scholarship luncheons and to observe these amazing students be awarded significant college scholarships.

Sen. Hawkins with WA apple officials

I have enjoyed partnering with apple industry leaders for our license plate effort. Pictured in the photo from left to right: Toni Lynn Adams, Communications Outreach Coordinator of the Washington Apple Commission; Jennifer Witherbee, Executive Director of the Washington Apple Education Foundation; and Todd Fryhover, President of the Washington Apple Commission. 

Washington apple special license plate

Given the importance of this year for our apple industry, I am honored to partner with the Washington Apple Commission and the Washington Apple Education Foundation to sponsor a bill to create a Washington apple special license plate. State law allows organizations to work with the Department of Licensing to produce special license plates with proceeds awarded to a non-profit organization. Legislation approving the plate is part of the authorization process. The Washington Apple Commission has authorized its $6,300 in funding, a requirement by the state, and I have introduced Senate Bill 6032 to gain the Legislature's approval this session. The bill has a public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee this Wednesday (January 22) at 3:30 p.m.

Washington apple license plate design

My Senate Bill 6032 would authorize a special license plate, designed by the Washington Apple Commission, to help promote our apple industry and raise scholarship funds for the Washington Apple Education Foundation.

Signatures required to demonstrate support

As part of the process, the Department of Licensing requires a collection of signatures showing at least 3,500 plates are intended to be purchased. The cost of the plates will vary depending on the design and licensing fees required for your vehicle. Most of the special plates, promoting our state colleges, sports teams, parks, military, and other interests, range from approximately $60 to $75, depending on the vehicle. The Washington Apple Commission is collecting signatures, so please click this online site if you are interested.

I look forward to advancing this legislation – and promoting our important apple industry – throughout the process. 

Listen to my recent local radio interviews

During the legislative session, I participate in weekly interviews with local radio stations in our district. Click here for my interviews last week with KOHO and KPQ.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your State Senator.



Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District
E-mail: brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov 

Website: senatorbradhawkins.org

107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412
(360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000