It is a great honor and privilege to continue working on your behalf in the State Senate in 2010. I will keep doing everything I can to make Hawaii an even better place to live for all of us.

This year I will introduce legislation intended to strengthen two of Hawaii’s most important institutions: our public school system and our community hospitals.

First, I have submitted a bill that will require a minimum of 180 days of classroom instruction in our public schools. The people of Hawaii have overwhelmingly objected to reducing classroom days to meet cuts in our education budget, and I strongly agree with these objections. This bill will ensure that classroom days are protected as our highest priority as we make decisions about education spending.

My second proposal will protect and strengthen our community hospitals. As healthcare costs grow nationwide, our community hospital system continues to incur annual budget deficits of more than $100 million. As taxpayers, we can no longer afford to subsidize the healthcare safety net in this way.

In agreement with the independent experts who recently analyzed our 15 community hospitals, my proposal will financially restructure the system as a 501c3, non-profit organization. This will save us as taxpayers more than $60 million annually, and will protect any regional hospital from being closed.

My other important priorities this year include tougher DUI laws, a mandate that all state purchases be energy efficient and environmentally sound, and supporting the use of the Rainy Day Fund to protect critical services for those with disabilities or severe illness.

Please contact me any time with your ideas and concerns. Again, thank you for the honor of representing you in the State Senate.

My family and I wish you a happy, healthy, and safe New Year.

‘Josh Green, MD is a state Senator representing Kona. Reach him at mailto:jbgreen@tccomputer.net’

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