Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rep. Chris Lee Meets with President Obama on Nation's Economic Agenda

Rep. Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo) was among 50 Democratic state lawmakers from around the country to meet with President Barack Obama today at the White House. The President urged the lawmakers to adopt his domestic economic agenda at the state level because he doesn’t expect Congress to take much action for the remainder of his presidency.

The discussion focused on the need by the states to tackle the issues of raising the minimum wage, ensuring paid sick leave for workers, family leave, pay equity and enhancing college affordability.

After the meeting with the President, Rep. Lee joined seven other state lawmakers including Assemblyman Michael Blake of New York and Rep. Pricey Harrison of North Carolina in a press conference to talk about the meeting and the issues discussed.

During the media availability Rep. Lee said, "Issues like paid family leave and medical leave aren't red or blue issues. They will benefit everyone and are overwhelmingly supported by people around the country, but Congress has been unable to take action.

Families in our community are hurting. I have friends just starting families who are being forced to choose between caring for their newborns or keeping their jobs. That isn't right. The United States is the last developed nation in the world without meaningful paid family leave. If Congress won't act to fix that, then it's up to us at the state level,” Lee said.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lawmakers Call for Exploration of Publicly Owned Utilities for Hawaii

Today, more than forty state and county leaders representing all islands -- including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents -- joined together to commit to putting the best interests of the public first and called for moving forward to examine the potential of public utilities owned by the people.

“Public utilities don’t need higher rates to make profits for shareholders, and as a result they tend to have significantly lower rates than for-profit utilities across the country. We have an obligation to explore this option, especially if it can save residents a lot more money in the long run.” said Rep. Chris Lee (D-Kailua, Waimanalo) and Chairman of Energy and Environmental Protection Committee.

“As Republicans and Democrats we have differences. But, we can all agree that the skyrocketing cost of electricity is detrimental to local families. Until NextERA provides a framework for customer savings, it would be irresponsible not to explore options like co-ops and other alternatives,” said Minority Leader Beth Fukumoto-Chang (R-Mililani, Mililani-Mauka).

“As more and more people seek ways to become energy self-sufficient, we need to rethink our traditional electrical power distribution. As the future heads towards decentralized systems, now is the time for us to explore public ownership as an option that could best serve the needs of Oahu residents,” commented Oahu City Council Chair Ernie Martin.

In addition to state legislators from every island, key county officials seeking to examine the potential of locally-owned public utilities such as co-ops include Oahu City Council Chair Ernie Martin, Big Island County Council Chair Dru Kanuha, Kauai County Council Chair Mel Rapozo, Maui County Councilmember Don Guzman, Chair of the Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture, & Recreation Committee, Big Island County Councilmember Margaret Willie, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability, Big Island County Council, Big Island Councilmember Karen Eoff, Chair of the Committee on Finance, and many others.


Legislators in Support
As of 9/3/15

Oahu Representative Chris Lee, Chair, Energy and Environmental Protection Committee
Oahu Representative Della Au Belatti
Oahu Representative and Minority Leader Beth Fukumoto-Chang
Oahu Representative Matt LoPresti
Oahu Representative Cynthia Thielen
Oahu Representative Tom Brower
Oahu Representative Takashi Ohno
Oahu Representative Lauren Matsumoto
Oahu Representative Bert Kobayashi
Oahu Representative Feki Pouha
Oahu Representative Jarrett Keohokalole
Big Island Representative Nicole Lowen
Big Island Representative Cindy Evans
Big Island Representative Mark Nakashima
Big Island Representative Richard Creagan
Maui Representative Kaniela Ing
Maui Representative Lynn DeCoite
Kauai Representative Dee Morikawa
Maui Representative Justin Woodson
Oahu Senator Glenn Wakai
Oahu Senator Gil Riviere
Oahu Senator Laura Thielen
Oahu Senator Mike Gabbard
Oahu Senator Maile Shimabukuro
Big Island Senator Gil Kahele
Big Island Senator Josh Green
Big Island Senator Russell Ruderman
Oahu Council Chair Ernie Martin
Oahu Councilmember Ikaika Anderson
Oahu Councilmember Kym Pine
Oahu Councilmember Trevor Ozawa
Maui Councilmember Don Guzman, Energy Chair
Big Island Council Chair Dru Kanuha
Big Island Councilmember Margaret Willie, Energy Chair
Big Island Councilmember Karen Eoff
Big Island Councilmember Greggor Illagan
Big Island Councilmember Maile David
Kauai Council Chair Mel Rapozo
Kauai Councilmember Gary Hooser
Kauai Councilmember Ross Kagawa
Kauai Councilmember Mason Chock