Looking forward to a busy summer season!

Wenatchee Valley from above e-banner

May 11, 2022

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope that you and your families have been enjoying spring, as unusual as the weather has been. My family enjoyed another terrific Apple Blossom Festival in Wenatchee recently, including riding in the Classy Chassis and Grand parades. It has been over two months since the 60-day legislative session concluded, and my schedule is more manageable now than during the winter months. The spring and summer months typically include various in-district visits along with occasional committee events or other meetings in Olympia. Work gets much busier in the fall as I prepare for my annual listening tour and begin looking ahead toward next year’s legislative session. As we prepare for summer, I thought it would be helpful to remind you about some recent items and projects.

Capital budget funds city pool repairs

The state capital budget funds the construction and maintenance of state buildings, public school matching grants, higher education facilities, public lands, parks, and other assets. In the recent budget, the Wenatchee City Pool received $900,000 for the 2021-2023 period for ongoing renovations and repairs. This includes $350,000 in 2021 and $550,000 in 2022. Wenatchee Mayor Kuntz has proposed an idea of establishing a Regional Aquatic Center funding model so that the surrounding communities that benefit from the pool can help share responsibility for maintaining the asset. I support discussions among our local governments to move toward this model, rather than continuing to ask the city alone to maintain this facility. The pool in Wenatchee is technically a “city” pool, but it is clearly a regional asset and future expenses would be more appropriately shared across local governments, rather than borne by the city alone. Sharing this facility across jurisdictions would maximize efficiencies and could provide a much better long-term approach for a resource that has such broad economic and outdoor recreation benefits. In the meantime, I was proud to support the city with its much-needed pool repairs.

Wenatchee city pool

The Wenatchee City Pool received $900,000 from the 2021-2023 capital budget for ongoing renovations and repairs. This includes $350,000 in 2021 and $550,000 in 2022. I was proud to sponsor this request and fully support Mayor Kuntz’s idea of establishing a Regional Aquatic Center funding model so that the surrounding communities that benefit from the pool can help share responsibility for maintaining the asset. For more information about my position, click here.

State continues support for wildfire prevention

Communities in North Central Washington have sadly experienced significant impacts from catastrophic wildfire. Our district has endured many devastating events, including back-to-back years of the state’s largest wildfires, in 2014 and 2015. In 2020, the Cold Springs and Pearl Hill fires in Okanogan and Douglas counties were very troubling. In 2021, wildfires continued to impact our region, including Wenatchee’s Red Apple Fire and the Methow Valley’s Cedar Creek and Cub Creek fires. During the 2021-23 biennium, legislators significantly increased the state budget for forest health and wildfire response. The Department of Natural Resources is now positioning additional resources in strategic locations across the state that have shortened the response time when new blazes are spotted, and the DNR has helped us put out fires soon after they start rather than just “managing” the fires once they begin burning. The DNR has recently converted to year-round wildfire staff, funded more seasonal staff, acquired additional firefighting air assets, and has contracted for priority private aircraft response. The Legislature also approved House Bill 1168 to direct investments of $500 million over the next eight years for wildfire response, forest restoration, and community resilience. For more information about the state’s wildfire efforts and bills that I have passed related to wildfire, click here.

Red Apple Fire - Hilary Franz 2021

Last summer, the Red Apple Fire burned over 12,000 acres and caused evacuations of nearly 1,500 homes in Wenatchee’s Sunnyslope area. Fortunately no homes were lost in the fire, but it was a dangerous reminder of the threat of summer wildfires. I am grateful to all of the firefighters and first responders for their courage and support. To learn more about ways you can help reduce wildfire risk, click here.

Long-term transportation plan approved

The 2022 Legislature approved a new 16-year, $16.9 billion transportation investment package, funding much-needed preservation and maintenance activity and statewide transportation projects. This long-term funding plan combines federal infrastructure funds, climate revenues approved during a previous session, transfers from the operating budget, and license-plate and driver-license fees to fund a collection of new investments. In our region, the final package included $4.5 million for a Highway 2 Pedestrian Undercrossing in Leavenworth and $85 million in matching-grant funds that Wenatchee’s Confluence Parkway is eligible to receive. Many thanks to Mayor Frank Kuntz of Wenatchee, Richard DeRock of Link Transit, Jeff Wilkens of the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council, and Congresswoman Kim Schrier, who all worked closely with me during the session to secure matching funds for this project. Our area has a strong history of working together to obtain funding, including state support in 2017 for the West Cashmere Bridge replacement. This project combines local, state, and federal funds for a new bridge across the Wenatchee River, providing the community of Cashmere a much-needed additional access into town to improve business, school, and emergency-vehicle operations. Congratulations to Chelan County officials and staff for all of their efforts on this project.

West Cashmere Bridge

I was proud to sponsor state funding in 2017 toward the new West Cashmere Bridge, which is nearing completion. During the 2022 legislative session, a new 16-year, $16.9 billion “Move Ahead Washington” investment package was approved, including $85 million in matching funds available to Wenatchee’s Confluence Parkway project. For Confluence Parkway information, click here and here.

New district boundaries for 2022 elections

The Washington State Redistricting Commission last November approved maps to rebalance our 49 statewide legislative districts and 10 federal congressional districts. This is a process conducted every 10 years in our state based on the federal Census data for population. The process was challenging in 2021, in part because the commission received data later than usual and because of the significant population growth shown in western Washington. Despite the commission approving the plans late, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the commission substantially complied with its constitutional redistricting obligations. These maps were officially adopted by the Washington State Legislature during the 2022 legislative session. Unfortunately, the map adopted significantly changes the 12th District, splitting up Chelan and Douglas counties and shifting Okanogan County fully into the 7th District. The North Central Washington region shares many natural resource, transportation and economic interests, so it is disappointing to see it divided. The new 12th District boundaries will continue to include much of East Wenatchee, all of Chelan County, and portions of Snohomish County (Index to Monroe) and King County (North Bend to Duvall). Approximately half of the population of the new area includes the cities of North Bend, Carnation, Sultan, and Monroe, with the other half of the new area located in unincorporated King and Snohomish counties. For more information about redistricting and the new boundaries, click here.

Parts of 12th and 7th districts in Wenatchee area

The state of Washington has approved new redistricting maps to rebalance legislative district population. Based on the new redistricting maps, Okanogan County and much of Douglas County will move into the 7th District. The new 12th District now includes East Wenatchee, Chelan County, Snohomish County (Index to Monroe) and King County (North Bend to Duvall). This map shows the significant split between Chelan and Douglas counties. These maps will remain in place for the November 2022 election but are subject to a federal court challenge.

The 12th District’s famous outdoor recreation

For several decades, our region has been primarily known for its hydropower and agriculture. These two industries provide tremendous economic benefits to North Central Washington and are cherished sectors of our economy. In recent years, particularly the past 20 years, our outdoor recreation industry – along with our tech economy and other areas – has really grown. This is a result of visionary local leaders and prominent organizations like the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, which continues to place outdoor recreation as a local and state priority. In Washington state, legislators have increased efforts to support and promote outdoor recreation as well, which has proven very beneficial for attracting tourists, recruiting employees, and supporting local businesses. The current 2021-23 capital budget included final funding for the Nason Ridge Community Forest, supported by Chelan County, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, and many local stakeholders. I was proud to support these organizations with their Nason Ridge efforts. For more information about this project, click here. For me, I have always enjoyed my time outdoors and make it a priority in my life to bring balance and stress relief to my busy job as our state senator. This summer is a terrific time to reinvigorate yourselves by getting outdoors and enjoying the trails and open spaces that our region has to offer, especially as the wildflowers are in bloom. 

Sen. Hawkins hiking in Enchantments

When not in Olympia, I try to enjoy our 12th District’s famous outdoor recreation. This is great for both exercise and stress relief. This photo is taken in the Enchantments near Leavenworth along the Stuart Lake trail. The trailhead for this hike also services the popular Colchuck Lake trail. For information about the Colchuck Lake and Stuart Lakes hikes, click here.

Listen to my recent radio interviews

Following the 2022 session, I participated in interviews with local radio stations to recap legislative activities. If you'd like to hear recent interviews, including my full-hour interview with KPQ’s Dave Bernstein, click on these links below:

  • KPQ’s “The Agenda” interview – click here
  • KOHO Radio interview – click here
  • KOZI Radio interview – click here

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your state senator!



Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District

Website: senatorbradhawkins.org

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