|Former Governor George Ariyoshi with legislators at the announcement of the Aerospace Caucus|
HAWAII AEROSPACE CAUCUS EXPLORES
THE ‘FINAL FRONTIER’
Initiatives include studies for a space exploration R&D park, international flight training center and a laser optical communications ground station in Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii –State Senate and House legislators today announced the formation of the Hawaii State Legislative Aerospace Caucus.
Among the measures it has introduced this session are bills that call for studies for a space exploration research and development park; an international flight training center and associated aeronautical training programs at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Hawaii Community College; and a laser optical communications ground station in Hawaii.
Other measures call for the banning of unmanned aircrafts, except by law enforcement agencies, to gather information, and exempts from the general excise tax amounts received from the construction of a space launch facility in the State to help reduce the overall cost of such construction.
The caucus is a joint bipartisan effort in collaboration with the private sector to develop a strong, secure and internationally competitive aerospace sector in Hawaii. It will be a highly visible, proactive and solution oriented organization ensuring academia, industry and government are in step with programs and policies which support a robust aerospace economic sector.
The caucus is co-chaired by Senator Will Espero, Senator Glenn Wakai, Representative Angus McKelvey and Representative Gene Ward. The legislative membership also includes Senator Russell Ruderman and Representatives Isaac Choy, Cindy Evans, Richard Fale, Faye Hanohano, Sharon Har, Ken Ito, Derek Kawakami, Bob McDermott, Mark Nakashima, Calvin Say, Clift Tsuji.
“This collaborative effort is a significant step forward in building upon the aerospace industry that we are establishing here in Hawaii,” said Representative Angus McKelvey, Chair of the Consumer Protection & Commerce Committee.
The group also includes the Aerospace Advisory Committee and Starlight Reserve Committee—advisory councils made of public and private space industry experts. At the announcement, the founding charter members also voted to include former Governor George Ariyoshi, a member of the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) board and champion for aerospace growth in Hawaii, as an honorary member of the Hawaii Legislative Aerospace Caucus.
“Hawaii can be at the forefront of this industry by ensuring a strong, secure and viable aerospace sector,” said Senator Will Espero, Chair of the Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee. “It starts by bringing together community members from the education, business and government sectors to help create good policy that will help us meet competitive challenges to support a robust aerospace economy.”
“Nothing ignites the imagination like space. Hawaii needs to boldly move forward into this area,” said Senator Glenn Wakai, Chair of the Technology and Arts Committee, “There are many sectors in technology that can be replicated in other parts of the world. When it comes to aerospace, Hawaii is ground zero. This is an industry that cannot pick up and leave the islands. It provides infinite economic opportunities and will ignite exploration in the minds of our keiki.”
"Aerospace can be a game changer for our economy,” said Representative Gene Ward. ”One of the main purposes of the aerospace caucus will be to highlight those opportunities and promote legislation and regulation of an enabling environment."
The primary purpose of the Aerospace caucus is to promote legislation that will develop a robust, growing aerospace field in Hawaii.