The Garden Island asked Kauai’s legislators for their reactions to Gov. David Ige’s State of the State address on Tuesday. Here is what they had to say:
• Rep. James Tokioka called Ige’s State of the State Address on Tuesday “one of the most motivating” he has heard in his 12 years as a legislator.
He was particularly impressed with Ige’s reiteration of his commitment to renewable energy.
Ige signed a bill in 2015 directing the state’s utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2045, positioning Hawaii to become the first state to produce all of its electricity from indigenous renewable sources.
And Hawaii is already ahead of the clean energy curve. A Scientific American article in 2018 said that when it comes to generating renewable electricity, “Hawaii is leading other states in almost every category.”
Tokioka also said that initiatives to address affordable housing and homelessness outlined by Ige in his speech were “inspiring.” During his address, Ige described plans to build thousands of new housing units, “short circuiting the underlying cause of homelessness by building more affordable homes.”
“We will be submitting legislation to build condominiums for sale on state lands utilizing 99-year leases. These will include parcels along the transit route as well as on other underutilized state lands,” Ige said.
• Rep. Dee Morikawa said she was most impressed with Ige’s plans to restructure early childhood education in Hawaii.
“I am proposing to the DOE that we restructure those schools presently composed of kindergarten through grade 6 to pre-K through grade 5,” Ige said.
Ige proposed that the Department of Education “look at our elementary schools in a whole different light,” calling for a reinvention of elementary education “by making early learning an integral part of our children’s overall elementary curriculum.”
“For Kauai, it’s exciting because we’re a little ahead of the game,” Morikawa said.
According to Morikawa, Kauai has a jump start in the area of early childhood education because two schools on the island already have preschools and programs are in place at the college level that can “fast track certification” for aspiring teachers.
• Rep. Nadine Nakamura said she was “very pleased with the governor’s vision and resources allocated toward early education.”
“Given everything we know about brain development, we must address the problem of only half of three and four year olds going to preschool,” Nakamura wrote.
She continued, “I’m also very supportive of providing funding to subsidize and build affordable housing. Increasing the supply of affordable rental housing with supportive services is key to addressing homelessness throughout our state.”