Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Opening Day 2013

This morning, the 27th Hawaii State Legislature opened session. 2013 marks the return of Joe Souki as Speaker of the House. Representatives John Mizuno and Scott Saiki were voted in as Vice-Speaker and Majority Leader.

The new House leadership began by thanking Speaker Emeritus Calvin Say and Rep. Marcus Oshiro for their responsible leadership that kept Hawaii on the right course despite the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Speaker Souki cited improvements in tourism and construction numbers as well as a drop in unemployment as reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the state of the State. He laid out the goals of the session, including investments in infrastructure, environmental protection, and education, which will be paid for by raising revenues in ways that don't impact people with lower incomes and the middle class.

After a few years of subdued festivities in accordance with $2 billion in budget cuts resulting from the Great Recession, music and celebration returned to Opening Day. Maui's own Willy K headlined the entertainment, which also included the McKinley High School Choir. Both dedicated their performance to the late Senator and McKinley alumnus Daniel Inouye and included renditions of his favorite song, "Oh Danny Boy."

Governor Abercrombie, Lieutenant Governor Tsutsui, Senator Schatz, Chief Justice Recktenwald, former Senator Daniel Akaka, Honolulu Mayor Caldwell, and a number of other distinguished guests were in attendance for a day that was a beginning of a new session and a tribute to the late Senator Inouye.  

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