Restoring clout

January 15th, 2015
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From the In Case You Missed It file: Hawaii's congressional delegation was featured in the Washington, D.C.-based outlet The Hill, in a piece on how the members are attempting to recapture influence on defense and national security in the absence of former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who retired in 2012, and the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who died later that same year.

The article notes how U.S. Sen Brian Schatz was awarded a spot on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, once chaired by Inouye, while U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono last week was named the ranking member on the Senate Armed Service Committee’s Seapower subpanel.

Their fellow Democrats in the House, U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Mark Takai, have been  named to the "influential" Armed Services Committee. Both are Iraq War veterans.

The Hill states:

While the foursome has a long way to go before matching the outsized influence of Inouye, Akaka and former Rep. Neil Abercrombie, they are on a mission to ensure that Hawaii has sway in the national security debate.

The full article can be viewed HERE.

 

Majority package

January 15th, 2015
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The Senate Majority has finalized its set of priorities for the Legislative session, and plans to focus in three main areas: energy and food resiliency, community well-being and smart growth, and government effectiveness.

In a memo to members, leadership outlines those priorities "that will improve the quality of life for revenue everyone in Hawaii."

The memo states:

We, of the Democratic Majority of the Hawai'i State Senate, are committed to a vision and future for Hawai'i that will stabilize Hawai'i's economy and improve our quality of life for generations to come. We have a unique opportunity to serve the people of Hawai'i. In that spirit, the Senate Majority is committed to being open, inclusive, and collaborative in its decision-making on behalf of the people of the State of Hawai'i.

House leaders say their package is still being formulated, but it is expected to focus on improving existing programs and infrastructure and limit the amount of spending on new initiatives.

 

Making his case

January 12th, 2015
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State Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, who last month announced he was switching parties from Republican to Democrat, must now make his case to the state Democratic Party.

The meeting before the Oahu County Committee's Executive Committee is scheduled for 6 p.m., Friday at a location to be determined.

In an email to members on Monday, the party stated:

The purpose of the meeting is to review the request by Representative Aaron Ling Johanson in becoming a Democrat in good standing as he switches from being a member of the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

Rules adopted by the party since the last lawmaker switch in 2007 stipulate elected officials wishing to join the Democratic Party must first go before their county's executive committee, which then makes a recommendation to the State Central Committee.

Oahu County Chairman Bixby Ho said Monday much of the feedback he had received on Johanson’s switch was positive, though insiders said some member were upset Johanson was able to keep his seat on the House Finance Committee, rather than having that seat go to a more senior Democrat.

UPDATE: The meeting location has been set at the Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone Building (521 Ala Moana Blvd.),  2nd Floor Conference Room.

 

Lincoln Dinner

January 12th, 2015
By

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Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona was announced Monday as the keynote speaker for next month's Lincoln Dinner held annually by the Hawaii Republican Party.

The dinner is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Ko`olau Ballrooms in Kaneohe.

In a news release, Hawaii GOP Chairwoman Pat Saiki said:

"We are honored to have Senator Flake as our speaker.  Having attended BYU, he is very familiar with our islands, our people and our customs. He can be a strong spokesman for Hawaii in the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate."

The state party noted Flake sits on committees that can impact Hawaii’s needs and concerns, including Energy and Natural Resources, Judiciary and Foreign Relations and the subcommittee dealing with matters affecting East Asia and the Pacific.

The Lincoln Dinner is an annual fundraiser for the state GOP.

 

 

 

Committee assignment

January 9th, 2015
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New Hawaii U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has been named to the House Armed Services Committee, his office announced Friday.

Takai, a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii National Guard, said his top priorities would include "ensuring that Hawaii remains at the center of the defense rebalance, with adequate resources and funding."

He also plans to focus on the continued growth of Pearl Harbor as a Pacific hub, maintaining adequate support for communities affected by Department of Defense initiatives and environmental protection during training and operations.

In a news release, Takai said:

“Knowing the importance of national defense to Hawaii, I asked to be assigned to Armed Services shortly after I was elected to Congress. I am honored that my colleagues have placed me in a position to advocate for Hawaii priorities and policy as our nation rebalances to the Asia-Pacific region.”