Hawkins doesn’t support Inslee’s presidential bid, but says he’s probably the most qualified Democrat so far

State Sen. Brad Hawkins discusses legislation March 14 with Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island.

State Sen. Brad Hawkins said though he has no intention of voting for him, he does find Gov. Jay Inslee’s campaign for president intriguing.

“He and I disagree on many, many policy issues, and taxes and different approaches to government,” Hawkins said. “But, having said that … I certainly think it’s pretty cool that he’s running for president.”

And, Hawkins said, when he looks at the 14 other candidates who have announced they’re seeking the Democratic nomination, he doesn’t see any with Inslee’s experience.

“I actually think Gov. Inslee is among the more qualified. He has Congressional experience, he’s served on both sides of the state and six or seven years now of executive experience.”

Inslee’s campaign thus far has focused almost exclusively on climate change but Hawkins said there is more he could tout on the campaign trail.

“Certainly our economy has been very strong while he’s been our governor,” Hawkins said. “There are differences of opinion as to who claims credit for that but the facts are the facts and our economy has been strong.”

Again, Hawkins said the opponents Inslee currently faces “do not stack up” to Inslee’s qualifications.

“I don’t see (Vermont Sen.) Bernie Sanders as a viable candidate. (Massachusetts Sen.) Elizabeth Warren, (California Sen.) Kamala Harris and … give me a break, (former Texas Rep) Beto O’Rourke, there’s no way he’s more qualified than Gov. Inslee but we’ll see how it all goes down,” Hawkins said. “I guess the only person I could see on paper that would be significantly more qualified on the Democratic side than Gov. Inslee would probably be Joe Biden.”

Biden has not officially announced he will seek the nomination but it is widely expected he will.

Reiterating that he would not be voting for Inslee, Hawkins said he does wish him the best.

“I think it’s neat that he’s on the national scene talking about issues and representing our state. I notice he wears the Washington apple pin too, so he wears that proudly,” Hawkins said.

Inslee barely shows up in national polls so far, but he has made numerous visits to early primary states and has the financial backing of a political action committee focused on climate change.