Political Radar

Rain in

February 19th, 2014

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced on Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would again guarantee loans on homes in Hawaii on rainwater catchment systems.

The VA had stopped guaranteeing the home loans a few years ago in a bureaucratic dispute with the state.

State Rep. Bob McDermott had pressured the Abercrombie administration to resolve the dispute. Gabbard's intervention, however, was credited with bringing the VA and the state closer together.

“Over the past year, I have worked to overcome tremendous obstacles that have prevented Hawaii’s veterans from purchasing a home with their VA benefits simply because the only available water source for their home was a rainwater catchment system,” Gabbard said in a statement. “For too long veterans who have served our country have been caught in an unacceptable bureaucratic stalemate which has prevented them from using the benefits they have earned and deserve.”

“The solution announced today by the VA recognizes the unique needs of Hawaii veterans and will allow them to purchase homes served by rainwater catchment, which many times are the only homes available in places like Hawaii Island. I commend the efforts of the Hawaii Department of Health and the VA for coming to a resolution that provides a straightforward approval process and resuming the home loan guaranty program for our veterans and their families.”

*Update: U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono raised the VA home loan issue directly with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the Kauai-born Army veteran.

“This announcement is the culmination of hard work and cooperation by the VA and the Hawaii Department of Health as they were able to come to a resolution that meets the needs of veterans seeking loan guarantees across the state,” Hirono, who serves on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “After raising this issue directly with Secretary Shinseki, I would like to thank him for his strong leadership in once again helping pave the way for veterans to buy a home, even in Hawaii’s deep rural areas that don’t have access to county water lines.”

12 Responses to “Rain in”

  1. ohiaforest3400:

    It shouldn't have been an issue in the first place but if Ms. Gabbard really was the one, or one of the ones, who resolved this bureaucratic peeing match, good for her, it may be the first, or one of the first, really tangible things she's accomplished in Congress.

  2. gale:

    Ohia, normally, I agree with you ! But, in this, I think that you are shorting Tulsi Gabbard. She got several measures passed in her first year, which is incredible, and we are now hoping for her overhaul of the military justice system relating to sex assaults (over 26,000 last year alone). Rep. Gabbard spearheaded the push thru the House, and we are now waiting for it to pass the Senate.

  3. Sayer:

    I have to agree with Gale. Rep. Gabbard is doing a phenomenal job in Congress - cutting through the bureaucratic cr*p and getting the job done.

  4. Kolea:

    Ohia, normally, I agree with you! But, in this, I think that you are shorting Tulsi Gabbard.

    I think her bill to make it easier for disabled veterans to get through airport security was a worthwhile effort. Yes, it ended up being non-controversial. But she saw the need and got it done when nobody else took the initiative. And kudos to her.

    And I am not normally counted among those who like her "more than kittens."

    Sayer, Having seen your previous comments, if you saw video of Tulsi walking down the street, I suspect you would call that "phenomenal." She is a talented, attractive, articulate elected official, whose unique background may produce a "phenomenal" record of achievement some day. Or may not.

    So far, I will concede "promise" and "potential," rather than much actual accomplishment. Let's give her time. Her fans might tone down there constant chorus of hyperbole. It is kind of off-putting. Like they are in a cult or something.

  5. WestSideTory:

    Yes great effort by all, but let's not forget that Tulsi also voted in favor of the Ryan/Murray Budget that removed the annual COLA increase for disabled veterans beginning in 2016. So either she didn't read the bill or she did and it was more important to vote with the party than stand for the injustice.

  6. Guido Sarducci:

    It is critically important to continue to not mention Bob McDermott in relation to this story. Remember to forget that he was the one who started making noise about this issue 9 months ago. Shhhhh!

  7. Bart Dame:


    The story specifically mentioned Bob McDermott, so where is the Big Conspiracy to ignore him? OK, let's discuss his effectiveness on this issue. Years ago, he ran for Congress. Had he won, he would have been in a position to help veterans with issues like this. But, you may recall, voters overwhelmingly rejected him.

    Bob, after more than a decade in the Wilderness, gets elected once again to the state House. He raises the issue, but having failed to attain either high office or many influential allies, his squawking has little or no effect. (I forget. Did he at least get headlines out of it, as that APPEARS to be his main motive in taking up an issue?)

    But Tulsi, who, unlike Bob, was swept into office by a large margin and is now in a position to do something to improve the conditions of veterans, manages to convince the VA to change its policy. With the update above, it appears Mazie Hirono, another candidate trusted by the voters, was also able to help. Did Bob's original grumble help bring the matter to the attention of more effective elected officials? I can't rule it out.

    There. I mentioned Bob, placing him in a broader context, suitable for judging his contribution. You happy now? No conspiracy.

  8. JimNan:

    Glad to hear this problem with the VA loans is finally fixed! On the Big Island water catchment is just a way of life and it works just fine.

  9. ohiaforest3400:

    Jeez, I was giving her SOME credit and not even saying it was the ONLY thing she's done. I'm warming, very slowly.

  10. kamaaina808:

    First I've heard the good news, though I knew about the problem.

    Caring about Vets - those who make such sacrifices for our country - by striving to help them is honorable work. Mahalo, Ms. Gabbard & all who made it possible for this to happen.

  11. Patrick:

    Credit where credit is due. TG has worked her butt off on veterans issues.

  12. Especially Incognito:

    A senator from Kentucky is supposed to benefit Hawaii but doesn't.
    I pay its wages and get no representation.
    All senators get paid by tax dollars from Americans
    but it seems Hawaii is not considered part of America.

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