The state of our State is strong. We are a resilient people and the future is bright.
As I stand before you today, I am struck by the beautiful and often challenging complexity that makes Hawai‘i our home. We really are the most beautiful place on Earth. We are of many cultures and faiths, and we live in greater harmony than any place in the world. People from all over the planet come here to enjoy our environment, our host culture and their gifts to all of us: gifts of aloha, tolerance and respect, and the celebration of each other and our differences.
We often need to be reminded of what makes us so special. We are one of the healthiest states in the nation. People here live longer than anywhere else in the country. We have led the nation in health insurance for decades, and in the current chaos, we stand firm in caring for each other. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. We are stronger financially. Our bond rating is the highest it’s ever been in our history, making it possible for us to get the most bang for our buck when we borrow money. This saves the state tens of millions of dollars, allowing us to make critical investments in our schools, housing and highways.
And we have made our voice clear: Hawai‘i will not stand for the hateful and hurtful policies of the Trump White House. We are doing more than any other state to stand up for what is right — such as DACA and the Paris Climate Accord — and stop what is wrong, such as the travel ban and stopping transgender members of the military from defending our flag and our freedoms.
And yet. . . So many of us are living paycheck to paycheck, relying heavily on our extended family to make ends meet. Owning a home is out of reach for many families, with housing costs rising faster than wages. Too much of our time is spent in traffic . . .We depend too heavily on imported food and fuel. We must find a just place in our relationship with our own history and with the people of the first nation of Hawai‘i. And the challenges to our island environment, such as global climate change, face us every day.