Senator Brad Hawkins focus on general caucus

Republican state senators start ‘Freedom Caucus;’

12th District’s Brad Hawkins prefers ‘general’ focus


By Gary Bégin

OLYMPIA -- 12th District State Senator Brad Hawkins, in an exclusive interview with NCW Media, stated the following in a response to a group of four Republican senators announcing the formation of a “Freedom Caucus” within the GOP Caucus:

“I fully support my Senate colleagues in their effort to advocate for lower taxes, greater freedoms, and individual rights. As a member of the Washington State Senate, I have worked alongside Senators Padden, McCune, Fortunato, and Ericksen on many issues. They are very articulate, intelligent, and strategic legislators who will do an excellent job in communicating key messages about life, liberty, and prosperity.”

Hawkins continued, “My understanding is that these four senators have formed this group as a subgroup of the Senate Republican Caucus, not a splinter group. They support the full Republican caucus, but want to make sure certain issues are a specialty focus. I respect that because they are smart people, long-serving members and care deeply about our state,” said Hawkins. 

“As a senator of the 12th District, I proudly represent one of the largest geographical areas in Washington state. It includes all North Central Washington, including areas of Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties. The two main caucuses in my chamber are the Senate Republican and Senate Democratic caucuses, but there are actually many other “caucuses” senators can associate with on priority issues,” said Hawkins.

“We have the wildfire caucus, rail caucus, ferry caucus, open government caucus, and others. The 12th District is so diverse it seems that just about everything is important to us (agriculture, clean energy, outdoor recreation, education, state parks, transportation, etc.),” Hawkins said. 

“Given this diversity, the approach that I believe works best for our district is to be a generalist rather than a specialist. I care about all issues important to people in our district, and this includes all of those I mentioned as well as lower taxes and liberty issues. I believe my approach of trying to be a knowledgeable advocate in many areas on many things has served the 12th District well, so I’m going to continue that approach. I will say, it’s definitely a challenge to represent all the needs in our huge district, but I am very honored to do so and thank the people of our district for that opportunity,” Hawkins concluded. (

The late January news release by the newly minted “Freedom Caucus” is keen-eyed focused on taxes, spending, individual liberties and restricted government, as its basic platform, according to the dispatch.

A spokesperson for the group stated “Senator Hawkins is not a member” but also acknowledged the group’s membership may be increased in the future.

“Freedom is the watchword for the new Senate Freedom Caucus,” stated the four lawmakers, who are advocating “for lower taxes, responsible state spending, individual liberties and a government that gets out of the people’s way.”

“The Freedom Caucus will advocate for core conservative principles. Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, said the new caucus will tackle big-picture issues that often cannot be encompassed by broader political caucuses that must represent a wide variety of views.”

“We need to take a stand for lower taxes, less government regulation and respect for people’s constitutional rights,” Ericksen said. “Some of us wish to speak more strongly about these issues than others. The people need a voice for freedom in Olympia, and that voice will be the Freedom Caucus.”   

Founding members of the Freedom Caucus are Ericksen, Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, and Sen. Jim McCune, R-Graham.

“Never has the need for a Freedom Caucus been so great,” Fortunato said. “Legislative Democrats this year are pushing one of the most radical agendas in Washington history. While the public is forced to stay home, a narrow band of urban activists are pushing an income tax, measures to increase gas prices, and legislation to erode the people’s rights under the Constitution. Rather than working to make these bad ideas somewhat better, we need to draw the line and make ourselves heard. We don’t want to throw a drowning person a life preserver. We want to pull people out of the water,” he concluded.

Managing Editor Gary Bégin can be emailed: Comments may be published as a Letter to the Editor.



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