Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In the News: Funding for Organ transplant facility, JABSOM, UH Construction

House Decorum

Civil Beat ran a story today about HB2751, a bill which proposes to "create the offense of disrespect of a house of the legislature for disorderly or contemptuous behavior by a person who is not a member of the legislature.

Civil Beat's question to Speaker Calvin Say was whether the intent of the bill was a reaction to the recent complaints by Mitch Kahle, the protester who is against the legislature holding invocations (what he considers unconstitutional prayer) at the capitol.  Kahle was arrested in the Senate chamber for disorderly conduct and was acquitted.  Kahle has subsequently sued the state and the Senate.

Speaker Say responded that the bill is not directed at any particular individual and is intended to provide clarification to existing House rules on the matter of disruption caused by any person.  Here is his full response:

HB 2751 is intended to assist in the maintenance of order and decorum during legislative sessions and committee hearings.  The bill applies to the disruption caused by any person, no matter the person's reason for the disruption or viewpoint on any issue.  It is not directed at any particular individual.

HB 2751 is a product of the House leadership's discussion of disruptions that occurred in the House and Senate chambers in the recent past.  During the discussion, House leadership and staff determined that the policies and procedures for keeping order in the House chambers and committee rooms during sessions and hearings may need clarification.  HB 2571 is intended to provide the clarification.

A companion bill, SB 3026, has been introduced in the Senate.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Women's Caucus Unveils its 2012 Legislative Package

Last Thursday afternoon, the Women's Legislative Caucus was joined by constituents, community organizers, military representatives, and a special guest to announce its legislative package for the session. This year's legislation is dedicated to women veterans and a disabled female veteran, Chelsea Ann K. E. Fernandez, attended the press conference, where she was recognized for her service. 

Chelsea Ann K. E. Fernandez 

Supporting women veterans begins with ensuring women can serve our nation proudly, in an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, but it does not stop there. Female veterans need help transitioning into the civilian workforce when they return home, medical coverage for service-related injuries, and to be made aware of what benefits are available. 

In addition to championing female veterans, this year's package proposes legislation dealing with issues that affect all women in Hawai'i. While we may be ahead of the rest of the nation when it comes to women's rights, we are certainly not where we need to be. Women represent 34% of our legislature, which is well above the national average of 23%, but still falls woefully short of reflecting the fact that half of our population is female.

Rep. Marilyn Lee served as the master of ceremonies, with Rep. Cindy Evans, Rep. Linda Ichiyama, and Rep. Cynthia Thielen sharing personal stories and explaining the proposed legislation. The comprehensive legislative package, which includes bills ranging from funding for cervical and breast cancer screenings to prohibiting medical personnel from performing a pelvic examination on an anesthetized or unconscious patient (yes, it's currently allowed), can be viewed in its entirety at the Capitol website

As progressive as the state may be when it comes to women's rights, the war is far from over. The Women's Caucus press conference allowed us to look at how far we have come, yet still make us aware of how much work is left to be done in the name of equality for all of the people of Hawai'i, regardless of gender. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rep. Roy Takumi on Race to the Top Program

Women's Legislative Caucus 2012 Legislative Package

Women's Caucus Package News Release

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brower brings the lyrics and leather

Rep. Tom Brower never disappoints when it comes to his lyrical performances. It all started in 2009…let’s take a trip down memory lane:

May 1, 2009 - “Untitled - Please bow your heads”
April 13, 2010 - “It’s Going Down”
February 15, 2011 – “Not in my House”
March 28, 2011 – “Info Brief your Ego”

This year, the Rapper turned Singer-Songwriter turned American Poet, best known to fans as the Tominator, again wowed his colleagues with a poetic invocation that created a smorgasbord of words about our favorite topic at the Hawaii House Blog, the Legislature.

His poem is a word play on the Order of the Day, which is a daily written agenda of measures being discussed during legislative session.(See lyrics below)

Feeling high from the momentum of his fourth place finish at last year's freshmen talent show, the artist from Waikiki, proving again he is more than a one hit wonder, brings the lyrics and leather, with a new compilation of free-verse poetry, entitled, "Rep. Brower Live: From the 3rd Floor to Your Backdoor."

The featured composition is about a legislator who feels he cannot always be himself or say the sophisticated things he really wants to. This prose is entitled, "The Order of the Day."

Birth, death, love, hate,
Friendship, arrogance, respect, deceit:

I get used to the metamorphosis in every way.
Legislators need balance to survive the Order of the Day.

A public reception or private caucus meeting.
What's really there and if I care, people aren't always seeing.

Together we work, together we play.
None of us confuse the Order of the Day.

Read my book between the lines; you'll know the real me better.
Disregard my public persona and talking points on the cover.

While courteous, what I think can be different from what I say.
Behind the scenes I'm on my knees to the Order of the Day.

Nodding yes, but inside disagreeing.
A survival skill, for or against. What's my role? Is there real meaning?

Voters' choices aren't black and white -- but sometimes gray
When I am the public servant to the Order of the Day.

A bond to common purpose, a loyalty on the surface.
Leaders, dissenters, republicans, democrats, the corruption from innocence.

A fondness of each other, at times, distrust of one another.

At some point, will God have me pay?
For becoming a political pawn to the Order of the Day

Emergency Contraception Bill moves out of Judiciary Committee

Emergency Contraception bill moves out of Judiciary Committee

Committee on Hawaiian Affairs: Hawaiian Language

It's not common to leave a committee hearing with chicken skin, but it was unavoidable to walk out of today's Committee on Hawaiian Affairs hearing regarding legislation pertaining to Hawaiian language, unmoved. Testimony was heard regarding three bills: HB1973 relating to Hawaiian language immersion programs, HB1984 which would make February "Olelo Hawaii Month," and HB1986 which deals with developing appropriate assessment tests for students enrolled in the Hawaiian language immersion program. The cultural significance and overall merit of the proposed legislation itself evokes an emotional response, but the heartfelt testimony of dozens of keiki, kapuna, and educators on behalf of their future, the future of the Hawaiian language, and the future of Hawai'i, was a force more powerful than words can express. For two hours this morning, room 329 of the Capitol was filled with pure aloha.

Hawaiian language immersion students testifying before the Committee

All of the testimony presented to the Committee was in support of the legislation, with the biggest opponent - the DOE - not sending a single representative to the hearing. Representatives from OHA, UH, the Hawaiian language schools themselves, and parents provided the committee with articulate, poignant, and compelling testimony in favor of this legislation that means so much to them; to all of us. At one point in the hearing, the students from all of the schools present joined together to perform a song in Hawaiian for the committee. Unsurprisingly, all three measures passed, but the real test will come when the legislation moves to the Finance Committee to discuss funding.

If you recognize the value of reviving, restoring, and celebrating the Hawaiian language, please contact your representative or Rep. Hanohano (Hawaiian Affairs Committee chair) and voice your support. Mahalo.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kung Hee Fat Choy

Funding for Organ Transplant Facility advances

HB608 Organ Transplant Facility

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Meeting the Press on Opening Day

Before reconvening the Hawaii Legislature, Speaker Calvin Say and Majority Leader Pono Chong met with reporters to talk about the legislative agenda this year. See what they had to say by visiting the links below:

Speaker on KITV.
Majority Leader on Hawaii News Now.

Later, after the Opening Day Session ended, Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro and Speaker Calvin Say answered reporters' questions on a variety of issues including fee increases, expediting construction projects, EUTF, unfunded liability, public workers' contracts, gambling, exemptions for procurement, reapportionment, revising the TAT, and the coffee beetle bug problem.

Watch the interviews below:

Rep. Marcus Oshiro, chair of the House Committee on Finance, fields questions from reporters on the economy, public workers contracts, EUTF, and unfunded liability. Oshiro spoke with reporters after the House opened the 2012 Legislation Session on January 18.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro tells reporters how important it is to get bills passed that will help get our construction projects underway in a timely manner. It's a win-win situation, he says. People can get back to work, business for vendors and necessary improvements can be made to our schools, our court houses, our hospitals, etc.

Speaker Calvin Say of the Hawaii House of Representatives fields question from reporters on a variety of issues including the coffee beetle bug problem, fee increases, gambling, procurement exemptions, reapportionment, and possible revisions to the Transient Accommodation Tax.

Paulette Abe: Green Champion

The House Green Champion Team (Brandon, Paulette, and Merissa)

The January/February issue of the iConserve Energy Initiative's Green Champion Newsletter spotlights Chamber Coordinator Paulette Abe of the House Sergeant-at-Arms Office as a Green Champion. The iConserve Energy Initiative is a program developed by the State Energy Office, Department of Accounting and General Services, and NORESCO that encourages state employees to take energy saving measures at work to lower the overall energy consumption of the building.

In a fashion that is typical of her 26 years of service to the State of Hawai'i, Paulette credits her accomplishments to the House Green Champion Team. Merissa Sakuda of Rep. Denny Coffman's office and Brandon Masuoka of the House Majority Staff Office helped Paulette save thousands of taxpayer dollars by making the Capitol greener.

Selfless service and being a team player reflect the values Paulette learned from her parents and grandmother while growing up in Makaha. They also taught her the importance of energy conservation and stewardship for the land. Paulette reflects on her childhood, "We were taught at an early age to always pick up after yourself and take your opala leaving a place better than you found it."

Paulette's passion for the environment and the state of Hawai'i inspire everyone who comes into contact with this amazing woman. She has certainly made the Capitol a better place than it was when she found it. Mahalo nui loa Paulette.

Fukuoka Japan - USA Friendship Committee's 30th Anniversary

A delegation from Fukuoka Japan was at the Capitol on Wednesday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of sister-statehood with Hawai'i. The event allowed leaders from both communities to reflect on three decades of economic and cultural cooperation as well as lay the groundwork for many more. Hawaiian Airlines resuming direct flights to Fukuoka later this year will bring the two states even closer.

Hawaii's Ambassador of Aloha, Danny Kaleikini opened the ceremony with a pule. This was special for the Chairman of the Fukuoka Prefecture Assembly, Mr. Kensai Haraguchi, whose fondest memory of Hawai'i was seeing Danny perform while spending his honeymoon in the islands 30 years ago.

The State of Hawai'i was represented by members of the House and Senate. Speaker of the House, Calvin Say, was also present for the initial partnership with Fukuoka 30 years ago and made the trip to Fukuoka in 2007 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the partnership. The meeting had personal significance for Rep. Derek Kawakami, whose family came from the Fukuoka prefecture to work in the cane fields of Kauai.

Proclamations were signed, gifts and pleasantries were exchanged, and both sides had an opportunity to talk story, reinforcing an already amicable relationship. An interpreter ensured that the goodwill - and the punchlines from jokes - were not lost in translation. Beyond the smiles and through the laughs, the event was ultimately more substance than ceremony; further bolstering a bond with a longstanding, important friend: Fukuoka, Japan.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reliving Opening Day

Did you miss Opening Day of the 2012 Legislative Session? See what happened in these short clips from the Hawaii House Blog YouTube Page.

Rep. Ken Ito's grandson, Tyler Mizota, a Punahou student, gave the invocation in Hawaiian and then in English.

Rep. Tom Okamura was sworn in in by Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. Okamura, a former lawmaker, was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to replace Blake Oshiro, who took a position with the administration as deputy chief of staff.

The Hawaii House of Representatives unanimously voted to pass a resolution electing CJ Leong as House Chief Clerk to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former Chief Clerk Patricia Mau-Shimizu.

Speaker Calvin Say opens the 2012 Legislature with a speech about maintaining stability in respect to the state budget -- meaning no new taxes, and no major general fund appropriation increase for the expansion of state programs. He highlighted the importance of focusing efforts on maintaining economic recovery and promoting immediate job growth by expediting the construction of state projects and avoiding mandates on businesses. (Full speech here.)

Opening Day 2012

Like last year's Opening Day, the start of the 27th Hawai'i State Legislature was not ushered in with much fanfare. The brevity of speeches and lack of lavish food spreads and entertainment reflects the financial austerity that has resulted from the Great Recession. Despite being a low-key event taking place while the economy is still recovering, the Aloha Spirit was alive and well in the capitol. Recently appointed Rep. Tom Okamura's return to the House floor certainly added to the positive tone of the day.

In his opening remarks, Speaker Say stated the goals for the session: to maintain a steady, gradual economic recovery, while not increasing the burden on the people and businesses of Hawai'i. The Speaker conceded that while lawmakers would like to make our state energy independent and provide affordable healthcare and housing to everyone, our economic reality puts these goals out of reach for the current session. While we are fortunate not to be facing a budget crisis as we have for the past three sessions, the state's financial future is still not secure. Although it may not make for the most interesting news headline, the looming burden of funding public employees' retirement and health fund systems must be resolved to prevent catastrophe for future generations.

Despite the serious work ahead in the session, the atmosphere in the House was upbeat, positive, and convivial. Opening Day presents an opportunity for constituents - as well as lobbyists - to access Representatives, talk story, and have a bite to eat. The capitol has many new faces, including my own, and the returning members and staffers were warm, friendly, and more than welcoming.

January 18, 2012 was an Opening Day with abbreviated, but pleasantly appropriate celebration that, hopefully, is a reflection of the legislative session it convened. Budget crisis and an increased burden on taxpayers may be a thing of the past, but we are by no means out of the water yet. Building off of its realistically grounded optimism, the 27th Hawai'i State Legislature will hopefully maintain the recovery of this fragile economy while laying the foundation for a bright future for Hawai'i.

Opening Day Remarks from Speaker Calvin Say

Speaker of the House Calvin K.Y. Say
January 18, 2012

Welcome members to the 2012 Regular Session of the Twenty-Sixth Legislature.

And a special welcome to our recently appointed member -- Representative Tom Okamura of District 33, Aiea, Halawa, and Red Hill.

I am glad -- and relieved -- to say that we will probably not have to make another extraordinary effort to balance the state budget during this session.

This situation will be a welcome departure from the past three sessions. Because of the Great Recession, we had to balance the state budget by a combination of painfully difficult expenditure reductions and targeted revenue enhancements. We maintained essential public services without increasing the general excise tax rate or the income tax on low- and moderate-income persons.

We rejected extremism and expediency in favor of reason and fortitude.

We took a balanced and responsible approach.

Hawaii is much better for our efforts. I commend you all.

The economic recovery, although still fragile, is on its way.

We, however, must remain cautious. The fragility of the economic recovery requires the continuation of our balanced and responsible approach during the 2012 regular session. For the short-term, we must maintain stability with respect to the state budget.

"Maintaining stability" means no new taxes for state government from residents and businesses.

"Maintaining stability" means no major general fund appropriation increase for the expansion of state programs.

For this session, we must focus our efforts on maintaining the economic recovery and promoting immediate job growth. We must be creative and innovative. We must make difficult choices, some of which may be opposed by segments of the community.

We must seek ways to expedite the construction of state projects, so that money flows into the community.

We also must seek ways to avoid mandates on businesses that increase their costs.

I am confident that we will make these choices using the same balanced and responsible approach of the past three sessions.

Our recovery effort depends on a strong, solid foundation. Maintaining a foundation today will enable us to pursue our dreams in the future.

Dreams such as:

--- a Hawaii powered exclusively by alternative energy resources, requiring no export of dollars.

--- a Hawaii with broadband coverage for all schools, businesses, and homes.

--- a Hawaii in which health care is universally and affordably available.

--- a Hawaii in which everyone lives in an affordable home, paying no more than one-third of their income for the rent or mortgage.

And dreams of a Hawaii with a thriving and diversified economy.

This means a Hawaii with a military presence that is fully appreciated for its importance to our nation's and Pacific allies' defense and our State's economy and social mix;

--- a Hawaii with a visitor industry that continues to be the envy of the world;

--- a Hawaii in which agriculture is a viable and sustaining enterprise that feeds our people, supports alternative energy, and exports products;

--- and a Hawaii with a public education system that produces business, professional, and governmental leaders able to effectively guide our State in the future, and even lead the world in selected areas of expertise.

More mundane, but still very important, is my dream of public employees' retirement and health fund systems with no unfunded liability, so that our children and grandchildren do not have to carry the burden of increasing governmental fringe benefit contributions.

I have many such dreams, as do all of you. Fulfilling the dreams, however, would require the expenditure of substantial taxpayers' moneys -- moneys that we do not have now.

Despite this intrusion of reality, let us not abandon our dreams. Let us continue the groundwork for the achievement of the dreams. Later, when the economy and public resources return to robust growth, we will then have the opportunity for full implementation.

Let us be confident that our unselfish work of today will lead tomorrow to the Hawaii that we all dream about.

Thank you.

What we learned from Act 48 - Rep. Herkes responds to criticism of Foreclosures Act

*Note: The following opinion piece was submitted to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which declined to publish it.  We've decided to post it here.

Last Thursday[1], this paper reprinted old news about Act 48.  We already knew the foreclosure rate dropped 50-60%.  We already knew the banks are foreclosing through the courts to avoid penalties for fouling up the new non-judicial process.

We can only speculate why the repeat messaging; and why this paper is so intent on spinning Act 48 as a failure.  Their editorial last Monday[2] provides some clues.  Its title, “Reform law to let lenders, borrowers settle homes fairly” presumes Act 48 isn't "fair" to lenders.  What they're really talking about is a loss of privilege.  In light of all the illegality, we were obligated to limit their license to self-police. 

Remember - almost half the other states disallow non-judicial foreclosures.  Banks only started foreclosing non-judicially in Hawaii after a law was passed in 1998.  But there's a twist to the legislative history - which this paper aptly explained[3] in 2010:  the 1998 law was so defective, it went unused - only to revive an arcane law from 1874.  The Star Bulletin reported[4] the 1874 law was created to drive Native Hawaiians off their land.  Title insurers resigned to work with that law and helped lenders develop a non-judicial "practice" that was palatable to them.

After the economy tanked, the mainland banks became desperate for capital and our so-called "law" made Hawaii a perfect target.  Act 48 stopped the hemorrhaging under the 1874 law and fixed the 1998 law the banks pushed so hard for just fourteen years ago.  That's all the time it took for lenders to consider the 1874 fast-track their right.  How rude of us.

Here's another strange statement from the editorial: "While delinquent homeowners might have been helped by the resulting sharp decline in foreclosures, the change in recent months could prolong the negative effects on the housing market."   Huh? 

Let me break down the cause and effect.  Act 48 guarantees third-party oversight in owner-occupant foreclosures - in court or dispute resolution.  No more free rides on the 1874 express.  The new express train requires banks to show their legal standing to foreclose - or they're thrown off.  That frightening prospect resulted in the sharp decline of foreclosure activity.  By slowing down the rate of wrongful, fraudulent, and avoidable foreclosures, we've stopped a flood of inventory from dragging down home prices and keeping folks from going further underwater.  I doubt Hawaii's homeowners view this as a "negative." In fact, that is a "negative" our Federal Reserve[5] is trying to achieve.  The prestigious Council of State Governments also recommended that states enact their own Act 48[6].

Simply asserting there are "negative effects on the housing market" without explaining what they are is an insult to readers.  Ironically, the editorial was printed the same day Paul Brewbaker lectured the legislature on Hawaii’s economy.  He spoke at length about Hawaii's housing market, emphasizing that Oahu's prices are slowly stabilizing and that neighbor island prices are tracking the market on the mainland.  He didn't mention any "negative effects" specifically created by Hawaii's Act 48.  There are more colossal market forces at play.

I have grown tired of arguments that rely on fabrications and baseless doomsday scenarios.  We cannot ignore the rule of law because someone affected (a realtor, banker, mortgage broker?) claims it's bad for business.

Resolution to this crisis cannot rest solely on the simpleton's question to troubled homeowners: "did you pay your mortgage?" We also need to be asking the banks:  "did you cheat?"

Pay attention this legislative session.  We're going to apply what we've learned from Act 48's shake-out - and do what is best for Hawaii's people.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rep. Tom Okamura; the return of a familiar face

In the next episode of Kukui Connection, Rep. Marilyn Lee will be welcoming newly-appointed Representative Tom Okamura. Although he was recently appointed, this will not be Rep. Okamura’s first time serving in the House. He represented the 33rd District (Aiea, Halawa Valley, Halawa Heights, Aiea heights, Red Hill) from 1980-2000, serving 9 of those years as Majority Leader.

Over the course of his discussion with Rep. Lee, Rep. Okamura reveals his lifetime passion for politics and public service which spans from growing up in a plantation community in Hilo, to the Constitutional Convention, to the House of Representatives. Rep. Okamura’s 12 year hiatus from the Legislature provides him with the fresh ideas needed to help move Hawaii forward.

As for this Legislative Session, Rep. Okamura is hoping to create high paying jobs and revamp our education system without raising taxes or fees. Rep. Okamura stresses the importance of reviving our sense of community and Aloha spirit.

The show will air at 8:30 pm on Friday, January 20th on Olelo Channel 54, and will rebroadcast at 4:00 pm on Saturday January 22nd and Sunday, January 23rd

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My state, your state

The 2012 Legislative session opens next week Wednesday, January 18, 2012. Bills will be introduced, new and old ideas will be debated in hearings and in the media, and the Capitol will be aflutter with people coming and going.

Before our session starts, let’s take a look at what other state legislatures are doing or considering.

The National Conference of State Legislatures magazine touches on a few odd and some controversial issues facing state lawmakers, including prisoner food cuts for Texans, the chimichanga as Arizona's state food, giving farmers unlimited control in North Dakota, and banning campaign fundraising while the Utah legislature is in session. Read more here.

In case you're wondering, Hawaii doesn’t have a state food.

What do you think about banning campaign fundraising during the legislative session? Some lawmakers in Utah don't believe they would have enough time to raise money before an election. According to NCSL, 28 states restrict giving and receiving campaign contributions during the session.

But wait. There's more.

Will we be seeing 51 stars on the American flag?

One lawmaker in Illinois thinks that Chicago should become its own state because of the "different and firmly seated views" it has from its neighboring counties. Rep. Bill Mitchell says that the cities liberal policies are an insult to the rest of the state's traditional values. His main concerns are Chicago's higher tax rates and stricter gun laws. If the measure driving this idea passes, it will be voted on by constituents in the next election, and if successful there, it must be approved by Congress and the president.

Governor releases $2 million for Waianae drainage infrastructure

$2 million released for Waianae Coast to alleviate flooding
Next Puuhulu Stream Clean Up scheduled for January 16th – Volunteers needed

Honolulu, Hawaii.  Governor Abercrombie has released $2 million in general obligation bond funds for the planning, design and construction of a flood alleviation project for the Waianae Coast.   The project includes drainage improvements along Puhawai Road in Waianae and involves an intergovernmental working agreement between the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and the City and County of Honolulu.

"Flooding in Waianae has become a serious issue for the area residents," said Rep. Jo Jordan, who included the project in her capital improvement project request.  The funding was included and passed by the legislature in Act 164, during the 2011 legislative session.  "Our community has worked very hard to keep our streams clear and to do as much as possible to avoid flooding and disaster, but we really need improvements to our drainage structures.  We greatly appreciate the legislature's approval and the Governor's release of funds for the health and safety of our residents."

The area called Lualualei Flats is prone to flooding, primarily due to poor drainage infrastructure, lack of stream maintenance, illegal dumping in streams and ditches, illegal grading, and filling in of streams or diversion of surface runoff.  Improvements will be made to the culverts and other related work.

Puuhulu Stream Cleanup

Rep. Jo Jordan will hold the next Puuhulu Stream clean up on Monday, January 16, 2012, Martin Luther King Day.  Volunteers are needed between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 noon, and should wear covered shoes with thick soles, long pants, sun protection and water.  For more information, please call the Office of Rep. Jo Jordan at 586-8460.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hashem's East Honolulu Report Jan 2012

Rep Hashem Newsletter January 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Conference Room Schedule

2012 Conference Room Schedule

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kukui Connection Features Lorena Lorenzo

Rep. Marilyn Lee, host and producer of "Kukui Connection", welcomes Lenora Lorenzo, Doctor of Nursing Practice on the next episode which airs on Sunday, January 8, 2012, 4 p.m., Olelo Channel 54.  (This show is repeated on January 15 and 22 at the same time/channel.)

Lenora is one of a very few doctors of nursing practice in Hawaii.  She started her career as a candy striper at Wahiawa General Hospital during high school at Leilehua High School.  She always wanted to be a nurse and served for many years at Wahiawa where she knew and worked with Rep. Lee who is also a nurse.

She went on to become a nurse practitioner and worked at Haleiwa Family Health Center and the Waikiki Health Center for 10 years.  She then worked as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and helped form a professional organization for registered nurses.

While at the family health center, she decided that she really wanted to concentrate on Hawaii's diabetes population and to help them avoid premature death and complications from dialysis.

Learn more about the Comprehensive Diabetes Management program at the Veterans Administration, Pacific Islands Health Care system.

Learn about the Diabetes epidemic in our country - 50% of Americans may be diabetic by 2020.

Many Vietnam veterans have increased rates of diabetes because of exposure to Agent Orange.

Lenora recommends: Moderation is a key to life. Stay away from processed and fast food.  Limit corn syrup and sugar. Exercise every day.  Understand your family history as heredity is a factor.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome Rep. Tom Okamura

Governor Abercrombie today announced the appointment of Tom Okamura to replace former Rep. Blake Oshiro filling the vacant House seat in District 33: Aiea, Halawa Valley, Halawa Heights, Aiea Heights, Red Hill..  Last month, the governor hand picked Oshiro to be his Deputy Chief of Staff, creating the vacancy.

Rep. Okamura is no stranger to the House.  He served for 20 years as the representative in the same district up until 2000; for nine of those years he was the House Majority Leader.

Rep. Okamura's office is at the State Capitol in Room 324.