Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Students Challenged to Develop Vision for Hawaii's Future

Lawmakers are inviting students across the state to participate in the Hawaii: Next 50 Contest,  which asks students the question: "What do you think needs to happen in the next 50 years for Hawaii to be the best place to work and live?" All Hawaii students in grades 4 - 12 are invited to present their vision for the future through an essay, poster, or video submission. The contest gives students the opportunity to offer their opinions about Hawaii’s future and to have a public forum to share those thoughts and ideas with decision makers and community leaders.

The recent 2014 General Election, unfortunately, presented us with a new low in civic engagement. It marked a record low voter turnout for Hawaii with just 52.3% participation by registered voters.

While this contest is not a solution to voter apathy, it is intended to encourage our youth to take ownership of their future…to have a say in what they want for Hawaii and themselves 50 years from now. If we can capture and harness the desire to make a difference among some of our young people, it might inspire them to continue to engage in civic discourse.
5th graders Rebekah Wellington and Trison Taeoalii-Kihewa speak to former Governor George Ariyoshi
The Hawaii: Next 50 Contest is inspired by former Governor George Ariyoshi's book, Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years, which provided a retrospective look into our islands' history as a state and prompts the next generation to think about what social, cultural, and economic roads we can take to keep Hawaii moving forward in the next century.

“I believe the future is not just for those who vote and are active today, but most importantly is for the young who are now in school. Today’s youth are smarter than when I was growing up, and it is important that we encourage participation and challenge the next generation to think of new ways to change the state for the better,” said Ariyoshi.

“When I first learned about the Hawaii: Next 50 contest, I thought it was an innovative idea that I could use as a teaching tool in the classroom. This is a great opportunity to actively engage my students to think positively and creatively to come up with ideas that will directly benefit them now and in the future,” added Carol Kim, 5th grade teacher at Lanakila Elementary School.
Lanakila Elementary School teachers Carol Kim and Camille Sismar discuss their involvement in the contest
Entries will be judged by legislators, community members, and educators throughout Hawaii. The contest is a collaboration of the Hawaii State House of Representatives, Hawaii Future Caucus, and aio Foundation.

“This concept was initiated by the forward thinking of Governor Ariyoshi, and I am proud to have been able to work towards expanding it into schools across the state,” said Representative Mark Nakashima, who spearheaded the Hawaii: Next 50 Contest. “I would like to sincerely thank the aio foundation for their support for another great cause and their continued dedication towards helping the community and our students.”

More information can be found on the contest website at and organizers can be reached at with any questions.

Hawaii: Next 50 Contest

WHO: Students enrolled Grades 4 – 12 are eligible to enter.

WHAT: Students are asked to read Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years and respond to the question: "What do you think needs to happen in the next 50 years for Hawaii to be the best place to work and live?"

Submissions will be accepted online in two categories: essay and visual arts (poster or video).

Copies of Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years are available by request via the Book Request Form.

WHEN: Entry deadline - January 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. Winners to be announced in March 2015.

WHY: To challenge the up-and-coming generation to become stakeholders in shaping our future by asking them to consider how individuals and the State as a whole can make meaningful contributions for Hawaii.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Speaker Souki Receives Distinguished Alumni Award from Woodbury University

Woodbury President Dr. Luis Maria R. Calingo presents Speaker Joseph M. Souki with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
In the early 1950’s Joseph M. Souki left the island of Maui for Southern California to attend, what was then called, Woodbury College.  He worked three jobs to pay for his tuition and living expenses and, in what might be considered his first venture into the leadership arena, also was President of Woodbury’s Hawaiian Club.  In 1954 he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Woodbury and returned to Maui.

For his many accomplishments and service to the people of Maui and the State, Woodbury University presented Speaker Souki with its Distinguished Alumni Award at a dinner honoring him earlier this past weekend in Honolulu.

"Speaker Joe Souki is the embodiment of the Woodbury alumnus that we seek. He has demonstrated his entrepreneurial skills in his profession as a realtor. He has demonstrated design thinking when he initiated the Maui Economic Opportunity wheelchair accessible bus service, the senior citizen discount card program, Meals on Wheels, and Youth Transportation Services that help young people today to have fun and be productive. His civic engagement is best evident in his advocacy for the women and children who are victims of domestic violence,” said Woodbury President Dr. Luis Maria R.Calingo.

“Representative Souki has transcended disciplinary boundaries by applying his organizational and management skills to political leadership as Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives. Entrepreneurship, design thinking, civic engagement, and transdisciplinarity – these are the Four Pillars of Woodbury Education, all epitomized in the Honorable Speaker Joseph M. Souki,” said President Calingo.

Speaker Joseph M. Souki with Woodbury President Dr. Luis Maria R. Calingo and University Relations Vice President Gregory S. Krikorian
“I am extremely honored to receive this award from my Alma Mater Woodbury University.  Never did I imagine when I first traveled to Los Angeles to pursue my education, that such a recognition would be possible for me.  Back then I wasn’t sure that I would even make it through,” joked Speaker Souki.

“Every phase in a person’s life begins with a significant moment and decision. For me, one of those moments began with the decision to attend Woodbury, and I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to further my education at such a fine institution,” said Souki.

Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California.  Founded in 1884, Woodbury offers bachelor’s degrees from the School of Architecture, the School of Business, and the School of Media, Culture and Design.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2015 Leadership Team and Committee Chairpersons

House Speaker Joseph M. Souki today announced the appointments of the House of Representatives Majority leadership lineup for the 28th Legislature which convenes on January 21, 2015.

“The team that we have formed represents the kind of talents and abilities that will best serve our residents and will address the issues facing our state,” said Speaker Souki. “We look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions with Governor-elect David Ige and his administration to continue to identify ideas and solutions to help Hawaii move forward.”

Members of the House Leadership are as follows:

Speaker of the House        Joseph M. Souki
Vice Speaker                     John M. Mizuno
Majority Leader                Scott K. Saiki
Majority Floor Leader      Cindy Evans
Majority Whip                  Ken Ito
Asst. Majority Leader       Chris Lee
Asst. Majority Leader       Roy M. Takumi
Speaker Emeritus             Calvin K.Y. Say

2015 House Committee Chairpersons:

Agriculture (AGR)
Clift Tsuji, Chair
Richard H.K. Onishi, Vice Chair

Economic Development & Business (EDB)
Derek S.K. Kawakami, Chair
Sam Kong, Vice Chair

Veterans, Military & International Affairs (VMI)
Romy M. Cachola, Chair
Ken Ito, Vice Chair

Tourism & Culture and the Arts (TCA)
Tom Brower, Chair
Takashi Ohno, Vice Chair

Labor & Public Employment (LAB)
Mark M. Nakashima, Chair
Jarrett Keohokalole, Vice Chair

Public Safety (PBS)
Gregg Takayama, Chair
Kyle T. Yamashita, Vice Chair

Transportation (TRN)
Henry J.C. Aquino, Chair
Matthew LoPresti, Vice Chair

Health (HLT)
Della Au Belatti, Chair
Dee Morikawa, Vice Chair

Housing (HSG)
Mark J. Hashem, Chair
Richard Creagan, Vice Chair

Human Services (HUS)
Mele Carroll, Chair
Bertrand Kobayashi, Vice Chair

Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP)
Chris Lee, Chair
Nicole E. Lowen, Vice Chair

Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH)
Kaniela Ing, Chair
Nicole E. Lowen, Vice Chair

Water & Land (WAL)
Ryan I. Yamane, Chair
Ty J.K. Cullen, Vice Chair

Education (EDN)
Roy M. Takumi, Chair
Takashi Ohno, Vice Chair

Higher Education, (HED)

Isaac W. Choy, Chair
Linda Ichiyama, Vice Chair

Finance (FIN)
Sylvia Luke, Chair
Scott Y. Nishimoto, Vice Chair

Legislative Management (LMG)
Scott Y. Nishimoto, Chair
John M. Mizuno, Vice Chair

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)
Angus L.K. McKelvey, Chair
Justin H. Woodson, Vice Chair

Judiciary (JUD)
Karl Rhoads, Chair
Joy San Buenaventura, Vice Chair

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rep. Karen Awana Opposes Proposal to Dispose of Illegal Fireworks in Nanakuli

Representative Karen Awana (Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Lualualei, Maili) today voiced opposition to a new proposal to store and dispose of a large cache of illegal fireworks at a rural property on the Waianae Coast.

A public notice was placed in the Star-Advertiser last week announcing that fireworks display firm Grucci Inc. is seeking an emergency permit to store and dispose of a fireworks cache at a property located at 87-879 Paakea Road. The notice failed to provide any information on the public comment period for the permit’s application before the Department of Health. Additionally, there has been no communication with the community from officials regarding the proposal.

The cache contains the remnants of the shipment of confiscated commercial grade fireworks that were involved in the 2011 fatal explosion at a Waikele storage bunker—which resulted in 5 deaths.

“This plan to bring hazardous fireworks into our backyard is downright exasperating. Both the state and city have used the Waianae Coast as a dumping ground for far too long,” said Representative Awana.

“We have seen the danger that it poses to the public and the community, and now they want to store and dispose of these fireworks here amongst our neighbors. There has been no outreach or information from the parties involved with the members of the community who are being forced to bear this weight. While I still oppose this proposal, I will work towards facilitating a public meeting with all stakeholders so that the community will have an opportunity to be briefed about the plan and provide their input,” added Awana.