Here at the Capitol, things are moving swiftly to a close as we approach the May 7 finish line for the 2015 Legislative Session. It's been an exciting month! Be sure to keep an eye out for my June newsletter next month, where I'll provide a complete Legislative Wrap-up!
Amidst the business of passing bills into laws, my eldest daughter, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, got married April 9 to Abraham Williams, a fine young man who we've welcomed wholeheartedly into our ohana.
Also, in an effort to raise money for the Hawai‘i Foodbank, my office put on our third "Capitol Idol" and sold over 100 plates of veggie lasagna! Read all about how we earned MVP for 2015 by bringing in over $1400!
As always, please contact me at 586-6830 or firstname.lastname@example.org if I can help you or your family in any way. You can also follow me on Twitter @senmikegabbard, Instagram @sengabbard, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/senmikegabbard.
My next Listen Story meeting will be a "Legislative Session Wrap-up" held May 16 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Kapolei High School cafeteria, next to the teachers' lounge.
Recently, Rep. Chris Lee, Hawai‘i State Energy office's Mark Glick, and I held a lively conversation hosted by Civil Beat, called "Civil Cafe". The panel was moderated by reporter Nathan Eagle, and filmed "live" here at the State Capitol. The topic was on our state's goal to reach 100% clean renewable energy, and whether that's something that can really happen. Short answer? Yes!
So much money, $3-5 billion annually, is spent importing dirty fossil fuels that aren't good for the environment, our future sustainability, or our pocket books. Ke Akua has blessed our islands with abundant, renewable energy and we should be using these resources for the benefit of our people and the ‘āina. This is our chance to show the world that this can be done. House Bill 623 raises the state's clean energy goals to 100% by 2045 and the Legislature will vote on it May 5th! I'm very optimistic it will pass and be sent to the Governor's office by the time session is pau - allowing us to be the first in the nation to set a 100% goal. We will set the standard and be the model for other states - even nations - to follow. If we pull this off, we'll achieve the biggest energy turnaround in the country, going from 90% dependence on fossil fuels to 100% clean energy. I'm very excited about the progress we've made so far. It really is a "kakou thing." All of us, working together, can make this a reality.
"Capitol Idol" is an entertaining fundraiser for the Hawai‘i Foodbank, founded by my office in 2012. Capitol Idol III kicked off on April 20 in the Capitol Auditorium. Members of the Senate, House, and Administration (with Governor Ige attending to show his support) vied for the audience's support in the hopes of winning the perpetual individual and team trophies, not to mention major bragging rights. Radio show host, actor, and former State Representative, Devon Nekoba emceed this year's event.
This year, there were 6 acts: representing the Executive Branch were Ryan Kalei Tsuji, Deputy Director of Protocol, who sang, "Feeling Good" accompanied by the Capitol Darling dancers - Jodi Leong, Dep. Director of Communications (and former co-anchor with KITV news) and Yasmin Dar, Digital Media Specialist. Ms. Leong also did a moving solo of "On My Own." Kekoa Kaluhiwa, Deputy Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources with Colonel Kenneth Hara, Deputy Adjutant General, Hawai‘i State Department of Defense sang a heartwarming version of "Home."
From the Legislature, Representative Andria Tupola represented the House, belting out a beautiful rendition of the Italian opera, "Amarilli mii Bella." Senator Russell Ruderman played guitar and sang, "The Beauty of Mauna Kea" by Keola Beamer; and I did a medley of folk songs from the 1960s, including "Scarborough Fair," "Punky's Dilemma," and "Sounds of Silence" (Simon and Garfunkel), "The Motorcycle Song" (Arlo Guthrie), "The Times They Are 'A Changin" (Bob Dylan), and "Both Sides Now" (Joni Mitchell). Check it out on YouTube here: http://bit.ly/1GLP54s (See videos of past Idols, too!)
In 2012, the House won the team award, with the Execs winning in 2014. So, it was destiny (or good karma!) that the Senate won the 2015 group perpetual trophy, with yours truly taking home the individual award. And the best part? $707 was raised for Hawai‘i Foodbank!
We also, with the help of my wife, Carol, raised $700 for the Hawai‘i Foodbank by preparing and selling over 100 plates of our renowned vegetarian lasagna. As always, it was a huge hit! Combined with our "Capitol Idol" event, my office was awarded MVP by raising the most money on the Senate side - over $1,400!
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