”’Editor’s note: This is the speech given by House Minority Leader Galen Fox, R-Waikiki, on the opening day of the Hawaii State Legislature, Wed., Jan. 19, 2005.”’

This is a time of hope–the opening of a new legislature. Just two weeks ago, we were thrilled by Mayor Hannemann’s powerful call for this island community, the world’s most isolated, together to bury petty differences and work to solve the real problems we face.

Why not? The Aloha Spirit means sharing to make life better, especially for those who most need help. They need us pulling in the same direction.

It’s good that Hawaii’s economy is growing, creating jobs, and lowering unemployment. A strong economy helps with our problems, including crime and drugs, poor secondary schools, rising homelessness, and families without health insurance.

The biggest problem may be crime, drugs, “ice.” It’s time we put prevention first, treatment second. Here’s what a “successful” treatment program looks like. Just six months later, tests on the treated youth show half have taken drugs in the previous 30 days. And 60% of the adults are unemployed and not in school or training. Another study found California’s effort to divert criminals on drugs to treatment rather than prison isn’t working

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