Update From The Capitol – August 2016

Kapolei Community Leaders, Senator Mike Gabbard
Senator Mike Gabbard

Aloha e Friends,

I’d like to invite you to a meeting to discuss the pueo (Asio flammeus sandwichensis), a subspecies of the short-eared owl, in the Ewa/Kapolei region on August 18th from 6pm to 8pm at the UH West O‘ahu Multi-Purpose Room (91-1001 Farrington Hwy). I’ll be co-hosting this meeting with Rep. Ty Cullen, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over the last several months, members of the community have expressed concern about this endemic species. The purpose of this meeting will be to bring together some experts to discuss the pueo and to get input from the community on possible future action. Parking will be available in the non-permit lot, located on your right as you arrive on campus. We’ll have a greeter to direct you to the room.

And as always, please feel free to contact me at 586-6830 or email sengabbard@capitol.hawaii.gov if I can help you or your family in any way.

Hemp Hemp Hooray

Kapolei News
Signing of the Hemp Bill

July 7, 2016 will hopefully be remembered as the day we began moving forward with a new industry. This is because Governor Ige signed SB 2659 into law as Act 228. The new law allows a pilot research program for industrial hemp, including its commercial cultivation. If you’re not familiar, hemp is a cousin of marijuana, but it can’t get you high. It’s used in over 25,000 products, including food, clothing, fuel, and even medicine. Unfortunately, hemp hasn’t been grown in the U.S. until very recently because our federal government includes hemp on the Schedule 1 drug list with drugs like heroin and LSD. We’re able to move forward with our program because it will be set up under our Department of Agriculture, which is authorized under the federal Farm Bill. Before long, we’ll have local farmers growing this sustainable crop and keeping some of that $620 million that’s going oversees every year to pay for hemp products made in countries, like China and Canada. Let’s get this hempening!

Kapolei Heritage Center Grand Opening

Kapolei News
Heritage Center Grand Opening

I participated in the Grand Opening of the Kapolei Heritage Center (KHC) in Kapolei on July 16th. This important project, located behind the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands headquarters, was spearheaded by the Kapolei Community Development Corporation (KCDC), which has a mission to foster family and cultural preservation. KHC represents the vision of Kapolei homestead residents. The now completed phase 1 of KHC has a certified kitchen and two classrooms. The community is looking forward to the other phases which will include a great hall for family events, an art gallery, a storefront for cultural practitioners, offices for community work, and outdoor learning areas. Mahalo to the KCDC Board, President Joe Kūhiō Lewis, Treasurer Jame Schaedel, Secretary Kanani Sang, Director Kaleo Keawe-Aiko, as well the original founders, Aunty Shirley Swinney and Aunty Homelani Schaedel for their tireless efforts. KCDC has created a sense of self and place that will help build the community to benefit current and future generations.