The state’s chief executive addressed Rotary Club of Honolulu members today during their weekly meeting in Waikiki. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka was there and filed this report.
Governor David Ige recapped his priorities for public education, funding public employee benefits, and building more affordable housing to curb homelessness. He also answered questions from the audience about what’s being done by the state to prepare for the potential threat of a North Korean missile attack.
“When we became more aware of the threat from North Korea, we discovered that the last time anybody actually looked at the plan was 1985. So the Hawai’i Emergency Management people are going through all of and, you know, a lot of it is identifying structures that could serve as shelters and then making an evaluation of food storage and other critical supplies.”
The plans should be updated by the end of this year or early next year. The governor is also working with U-S Pacific Command to improve missile defense capabilities. Another audience question concerned local food production which he hopes to double.
“Before, most of the eggs we used to eat were produced locally and now most of them come in from out of state. And we have, very close to announcing an investment in an egg farm that we’ll be talking about a million hens so it’s a pretty large activity. O’okala Dairies on the Big Island has invested like $25-million to date and they are big dairy kind of people who really understand how to appropriately operate dairies.”
The governor’s Hawai’i sustainability initiative focuses on reducing imported fuel and food which, he says, drains the state’s economy.
“If we could keep the $5-billion and $2-billion for food that we export, that industry would become the 3rd largest industry in the State of Hawai’i.”
Following the Governor’s speech, Rotary Club of Honolulu president, Rick Towill, says organizations like his can support the governor’s initiatives.
“The Rotary Club of Honolulu is working towards building this centennial park in the middle of Waikiki and so we believe that strengthening out community as a whole, then gives us the ability to tackle the social challenges like homelessness.”
Rotary Club Program Chair, Alice Tucker, would like lawmakers and the governor to fix affordable housing.
“What I would like to see is a law, not just a bill, but a law that says, “Affordable housing can only go up in price, the next time it’s sold, by, say, 10 percent .” Because people are snapping up all of these wonderful affordable houses and as soon as they can flip it, they go on and charge market rate and it’s no more affordable and everyone is left out in the cold.”
For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.