On Friday, January 24, 2014, Councilmember White delivered opening remarks at the Council Meeting.
He also encouraged the public to review the House and Senate yearbooks that were presented during Opening Day of the Legislature. The Senate book has a rich history of each legislative session since statehood and House shows photos of each House member.
Good morning. Happy New Year and Happy Friday!
A new year brings new resolutions, new hopes and also a new legislative session at our State Capitol. Last Wednesday, many of us had the opportunity to attend the Opening of the State Legislature on Oahu. It was a low-key opening, yet it served as an important reminder of our past history.
As part of the 55th anniversary of statehood, both the Senate and House invited former legislators to be honored. As a former representative, I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on the work of our predecessors. Since Statehood, there are about 527 people who have served our beautiful State as legislators. Whether we agree or not with the politics of those who came before us, it is clear that the contributions made by these individuals have made Hawaii the Great State that it is today.
It is important to honor the past as we look to the future and develop new policies for an emerging 21st century. Much has evolved over each legislative session, including the types of issues we face but there is one thing that has not changed, legislating is no easier today than it was in the past. In fact, it sometimes can take years before we find agreeable solutions, but we must remind ourselves that this discourse is a fundamental… and healthy element of our democratic process.
In this upcoming legislative session, I feel a few of the most pressing issues will be the county’s share of the Transient Accommodations Tax, the General Excise Tax, the minimum wage, and how we are going to deal with our unfunded liabilities.
Here on the County front, we too have great opportunities as we enter the second half of our term tackling equally important issues such as developing a balanced budget, making meaningful amendments to our workforce-housing bill. Additionally, we are at a cross road on how we will implement our Maui Island Plan and develop each community plan.
As we lobby for State legislation and develop our own County policies, it is important for us to keep our sights on the long-term horizon and continually ask ourselves, how our decisions will impact future generations. Are we providing adequate opportunities for education, jobs, affordable housing, and protecting Maui County’s natural beauty and culture? How will we ensure that our decisions are positive and impactful?
The issues of our day will take time to solve and we won’t agree on everything but I know we are up to the challenge.
At the State level, I look forward to what is to come during the upcoming legislative session. At Council, I look forward to the second half of our term with our collective goal, to keep Maui . . . No Ka oi