FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2001
Contact: Rep. Marcus Oshiro
HOUSE DEMOCRATS TARGET ECONOMY, EDUCATION, & TIGHT BUDGET
House Speaker Calvin Say Offers His Vision of a Preferred Future
Majority Leader Marcus Oshiro said today Democrats in the State House of Representatives will direct the lion's share of their attention to economic diversification and recovery through greater investments in educational infrastructure, energy reforms, and business supports. Oshiro, in his opening statement of the 2002 Legislative Session, said the majority party will also work to clean-up campaign financing laws and address ethical issues raised when elected officials break the law.
House Speaker Calvin K. Y. Say used his opening statement to offer his vision of a Hawaii that could be if the Legislature and other governing bodies find the collective will to make some difficult decisions.
The ceremonies usually associated with the opening of the legislative session were largely dispensed with in the House out of respect for those still suffering from September 11 and because the nation remains on a war footing. "I think our caucus just felt it was inappropriate to throw a lavish party given our current situation and the challenges facing us. Most of them just said we should get to work on the problems," Oshiro said.
Oshiro prefaced his remarks by calling upon House members to do the right things, even if they are not necessarily popular. "Legislators must apply sound reason and rational judgment in their deliberations, and not drift with the winds of public opinion. It is always easy to say what’s popular. It is not always easy or popular to do what is right," he said.
He also urged the House to recognize that "we're all in this together" irrespective of political philosophies and therefore must diligently seek the common ground to achieve real solutions and not waste time arguing over our differences.
"…we must be truthful to our constituency and ourselves, and realize that he responsibility to make tough decision when necessary comes with the privilege of being a state legislator," he said.
House Democrats will continue to push for fiscal responsibility and moderation as outlined in the Majority Agenda last year, the first year of the fiscal biennium. Oshiro said the agenda has been modified to reflect the major changes since then, but at its heart remains the belief that government reforms must continue, the State's limited funds must be wisely invested, and any false expectations or misrepresentations about the State's condition must be corrected with the facts.
Oshiro cited the numerous false claims that Democrat officials have been spendthrifts. "According to none other than the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, Hawaii state government spending was slower during the last 10 years than every other state in the nation except for Wyoming and Alaska," he said. "People need to get their facts straight."
Oshiro's speech underscored that House Democrats are fully prepared to proposed and support legislation designed to help Hawaii's economic recovery for the short term, to invest wisely in areas important to long term economic sustainability and diversification, and to clean up political campaigning.
House Democrats will also quickly address controversial stand-alone issues such as gambling and traffic cameras, but Oshiro said those issues shouldn't distract lawmakers from the true business at hand -- immediate recovery of the economy and long-term economic viability."
Oshiro said House Democrats will support the following:
Speaker Calvin Say challenged House members to set the foundation now for his longer view of a healthy, sustainable Hawaii economy. His proposals included:
"What all these proposals have in common is their ability to diversify our economic base and provide long-term job opportunities for our people," Say said.
The 2002 Legislative Session is scheduled to adjourn on May 2.