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“The key to reviving our economy remains tied to the health of our community.” Twelve months ago, we met in the House Chambers planning for what we thought would be a very bright and promising year. State revenues were at a high of $8 billion. Our unemployment rate was the lowest in the nation. And ...
Read More Hope for Hawai‘i and the road ahead

Alofa Nua ran a small tire shop on O‘ahu with his wife Tanya, working seven days a week. He was young, healthy and full of life. Last March, he began feeling ill and developed a fever.  That’s when he got tested for COVID-19. He thought it was just the flu, but he was wrong. A ...
Read More A story of survival and healthcare heroes

It was a year that changed life as we knew it. Most significantly, it was a time when we lost so many—family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors—all precious and irreplaceable. That’s why our most important responsibility right now is to protect the health and well-being of everyone in Hawai‘i. We will continue to take the ...
Read More Hawai‘i meets the public health challenge

HONOLULU — The monthly test of the all-hazard Statewide Outdoor Warning Siren System, coordinated with the test of the Live Audio Broadcast segment of the Emergency Alert System, is scheduled for Monday, February 1, 2021 at 11:45 a.m. During this monthly test, all Statewide Outdoor Warning Sirens will sound a one-minute Attention Alert Signal (Steady ...
Read More HI-EMA NEWS RELEASE: MONTHLY SIREN AND EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM TEST

Hawai‘i went from having the lowest unemployment rate to having one of the highest in just a few weeks. That’s why we have paid out more than $4 billion in unemployment benefits during the pandemic. That’s why distributing the federal CARES Act funds was a priority. We are grateful for the assistance of the Senate ...
Read More Providing for families, housing beyond the pandemic

Transforming an entire public education system during a pandemic is no small feat. We started this school year with teachers and students embracing online learning. Last year, the Legislature established a School Facilities Agency to bring our aging school buildings into the modern era. Even before the pandemic, the new agency was viewed as an ...
Read More Rethinking education for a digital world

Government Services At a time when government is being asked to be all things to all people, every state is facing historic revenue shortfalls. And so, from the beginning of this crisis, we’ve been monitoring its impact on the state’s finances and taking action. These actions have included reducing the current budget by $402 million; ...
Read More Economic recovery — now and for the future

Short-Term Recovery Initiatives The struggle for businesses to stay afloat has been daunting at best. Because of this, the state is planning to cover the interest payments on the $700 million DLIR loan on behalf of employers. That amounts to over $165 million that our businesses would otherwise have to make up over the next ...
Read More Balancing community health and economic recovery

The pandemic also exposed our local economy for what it is: very dependent on tourism. To make the state less vulnerable to sudden and unexpected changes, we must diversify. I will continue to promote technology-driven diversification of our economy. The pandemic has accelerated economic trends that were already underway. They include the rise in remote ...
Read More Long-term recovery initiatives: Pivoting to technology

That’s why, in the wake of the pandemic, I am calling for the creation of a program of action to not just reboot but to upgrade our economy. To create a Hawai‘i 2.0, if you will.  I have asked Senate President Kouchi and Speaker Saiki to work with me, as well as business, labor and ...
Read More Hawai‘i 2.0: A community-wide call to action