Update From The Capitol – Jan 2016

Kapolei Community Leaders, Senator Mike Gabbard
Senator Mike Gabbard

Aloha e Friends,

Happy New Year! Our Opening Day of the 2016 Legislative Session is on January 20th. I invite you to join me for refreshments in my office, Rm. 201, that day at the State Capitol. 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. You can also follow me on Twitter @senmikegabbard, Instagram @sengabbard, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/senmikegabbard.

Aloha + Challenge Legislative and Policy Retreat
I co-sponsored the Aloha + Challenge Legislative and Policy Retreat at the State Capitol with Rep. Ryan Yamane and Rep. Chris Lee on November 17th. This retreat brought together close to 100 elected officials, government employees, and non-profit experts to move ahead on our state sustainability goals. Hawai‘i Green Growth (HGG), a public-private partnership of more than 60 Hawai‘i sustainability leaders from government, non-governmental and cultural organizations, business and academia, was a big partner in making this happen. It was just a year ago that former Governor Abercrombie, our 4 mayors, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs launched the Aloha + Challenge, a shared statewide commitment to six interconnected sustainability targets to be achieved by 2030. The Aloha+ Challenge outlines ambitious, yet achievable targets in the areas of clean energy, local food production, natural resource management, solid waste reduction, smart sustainable communities (including climate resilience), and green jobs and education. These targets provide a framework to set priorities, catalyze action and track progress on shared goals. The purpose of this retreat was to develop high-impact Aloha+ Challenge joint priorities and leadership commitments that we can highlight at the upcoming World Conservation Congress in September 2016. As host of the 2016 World Conservation Congress, Hawai‘i will be on the world stage to highlight our achievements and commitments in conservation, innovation, resilience, and sustainability.

Hawai‘i Farmers Union United Convention
My daughter, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and I were keynote speakers at the Hawai‘i Farmers Union United (HFUU) Annual Convention on November 13th on Maui. The theme of the convention was the “International Year of Soils.” HFUU is a member of the National Farmers Union, which was established in 1902, and they have nine chapters statewide. They are dedicated to supporting local community agriculture and food production. In 2010, I had the privilege of recognizing HFUU with a floor presentation in the State Senate Chambers for their outstanding work. My keynote speech focused on how sustainable community food systems, such as organic and natural farming, can be just as productive as the industrial model of farming, characterized by large-scale mono-crops with heavy use of pesticides and petroleum-based fertilizers. Leading up to the 2016 session, as Chair of the Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee, I’m already working with HFUU on farm mentoring and nutrient cycling program legislation and plan to work with all our farmers to find solutions to high electricity costs; access to secure affordable land; housing costs; labor costs, access to markets; need for scaled production and consistency of supply; access to finance capital; and education and training needs.

“Listen Story”
My next community “Listen Story” meeting will be on January 23rd from 9am to 10am at the Kapolei High School Teachers’ Lounge.

Senator Mike Gabbard