BY HAWAII GOVERNOR NEIL ABERCROMBIE – In the last 100 days we have seen the first glimpses of what cooperation and a functioning government can do for the people of Hawaiˈi. For example, working together we:
· Developed and launched an unprecedented public-private partnership to transform government through technology.
· Cooperated with public sector unions to put thousands of federally funded workers back on the job.
· Passed a civil unions law without redrawing the heated battle lines of the past.
· Began a new era of interagency coordination to end homelessness in Hawaii.
· Agreed on legislation that brings a new era of accountability for public education with an appointed school board.
· Worked seamlessly with County and Federal agencies to prepare for and respond to a Pacific tsunami.
But we must remember that for most people in Hawaiˈi, the last 100 days have been a continuing struggle.
People kept on working multiple jobs to pay rising costs of healthcare, gas and food. New parents remained concerned about education and future job prospects for their children. In the last 100 days, some of our neighbors lost their homes to foreclosure and some dipped deeper into their life savings to support a loved one. Farmers lost crops to invasive pests and businesses struggled to stay open.
These are the people we are serving and I am completely focused on supporting them. Our Administration has put forth a plan, which, if supported by the Legislature, will boost our economic recovery by creating jobs and building for the future. It calls for a redirection of resources to invest in Hawaiˈi’s human capital through better health and education, and it puts us on a path toward producing food, energy, and locally owned businesses that will make us more economically resilient. If enacted, our plan will restore the public trust by making sure government is operating efficiently and effectively.
For years the governing philosophy in Hawaiˈi has been, “you’re on your own.” The result has been more public burdens thrust onto private citizens and businesses.
When the people of Hawaiˈi voted for change in November, they voted to end a policy that said all people must fend for themselves. They rejected the status quo where we fail to invest in ourselves; where we ignore long-term problems for political convenience; where we make government the enemy of the people instead of the instrument for reaching our goals; where political drama and private interests drown out the voices of the majority; where we stoke distrust and disdain for one another instead of treating each other with fairness and respect.
The war of each against all, which has an iron grip on our country, is coming to an end in Hawaii.
Over the next months, I will be reaching out to everyone as we do the difficult but necessary work before us.
We recently learned from the Council on Revenues that our financial challenges are greater than we thought. We will have to face this together.
Hawaiˈi is strong. We just faced a tidal wave together and are still moving ahead, building confidence in each other to face the challenges before us. We are not discouraged but determined. In the months and years ahead, we will continue to see the good results from our steady march toward our common goals.