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”Meeting at the White House”

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii President Richard Rowland and I traveled to Washington D.C. last week for a meeting of 64 think tank leaders from 28 states from around the country. The meeting, held at The White House and organized by Kerri Houston of the Frontiers of Freedom at the request of the Bush administration, enabled the state policy leaders to be briefed on the president’s foreign and domestic policy. Houston called the meeting a “home run” in the effort to foster communications between the White House and state policy groups.

Those who attended were asked not to disclose publicly who spoke at the 3-hour meeting or specifically what was said. But in general, those who spoke discussed the president’s tax and economic reform plans, judicial nominees and pressing foreign policy issues, including the war on terrorism and looming military action in Iraq.

Houston, who organized a similar meeting with Pres. George W. Bush and his cabinet at the White House in December 2001 (also attended by Rowland and me), says this meeting was important because state policy groups gained a better understanding of important issues surrounding the president’s economic plans and policies. She and others who attended yesterday’s meeting advocate that once the Bush tax cuts are passed, job growth and consumer spending in the states will be a boon to state economics as well.

During the remaining day-and-a-half of the Frontiers for Freedom meeting, policy leaders met with Walter Olson of the Manhattan Institute who discussed his new book, Trial Lawyers: How the New Litigation Elite Threatens America’s Rule of Law. They also heard from new chairman of the CBO Doug-Holtz-Eakin; Alan Reynolds of Cato Institute; Nina Owecharenko of Heritage Foundation; Jim Carter, Chief Economist, Office of Management and Budget; as well as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Other well-known authors and television personalities, including John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, Peter Roff of the United Press International, and Victor Schwartz, author of the popular book Schwartz on Torts.

”Case Brings Hawaii to Washington”

It is hard to remember the Washington D.C.-based congressional office of U.S. Rep. Ed Case isn’t located in Hawaii. Case has flooded his office with Maile leis, Hawaiian flowers and other types of leis, Hawaiian bowls, the American and Hawaiian flags, pictures of friends and family back home and a pair of beach slippers he leaves by the entrance of his office door.

“The slippers are a reminder of where I came from,” Case says with a smile.

During intense work periods when Case works in Washington D.C. for days at a time, with few breaks and virtually no time in the “outside world,” he says he has come to understand how elected officials in Congress can become wrapped up in politics and partisanship and forget about their roots and constituents. He doesn’t plan to be one of those politicians.

“I am making a real effort to go back to Hawaii whenever I can and to go into my district so I can hear from my constituents and continue be in touch with them,” Case says.

For complete story, see “Making His Case in Washington D.C.”

Case also says Hawaii will receive a federal appropriation of $2,012,000 from the FY2003 Omnibus Appropriations bill for acquisition of Muolea Point on the island of Maui. The money will help secure an appropriation to protect what Case calls “precious coastal land, which helps ensure that Muolea Point’s scenic, historical, and cultural resources will be protected for future generations.”

The original appropriations request was made by Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink in April of 2002 in response to requests from Mayor James “Kimo” Apana, Councilmember Robert Carroll, Councilmember Jo Ann Johnson, and a number of private citizens. The funding comes from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP). The total acquisition price is estimated at $4,050,000; the remaining half of the purchase price is being raised locally by the Trust for Public Land and other community groups.

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