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Aug 19

Opening Remarks: Reflecting on this past week

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM by Troy Hashimoto

Councilmember White delivered opening remarks at the Tuesday, August 19, 2014 Council Meeting.

Over the past few weeks, there is much to reflect upon.

Maui had a serious threat of two hurricanes, our primary elections…… and of course, statehood day.

Although Maui had only minor damage from the tropical storm as compared to the Big Island, we must be extremely thankful, as our situation could have been much worse.  My deepest aloha goes out to the residents of Puna who are still recovering from damaged homes and slowly gaining back electricity. To everyone helping with recovery and giving donations we extend our deepest Mahalo.

I also send my deepest appreciation to our State and County employees along with our electrical crews for working overtime to clear the fallen trees and restore power for those of us who were impacted here on Maui. My home in Olinda was in an area that lost power with fallen trees blocking any ability to drive or even walk to town.  Considering the huge trees and damage, the crews were still very quick to respond and I thank them for all for their tremendous efforts!

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Many of us prepared days in advance for this storm, and some may be thinking that the preparation may have been unnecessary.  I cannot emphasize enough however, that it is always better to be safe and over prepared than to be sorry later.  Mother Nature is unpredictable and we must be diligent, as hurricane season continues thru November 30th.   

The weather also played a role in our primary election and unfortunately Maui County had the lowest voter turnout at 33.1%, lagging behind the statewide average of 41.5%.  I feel it is important to remind residents to please get out and make your voice heard. This is your community and it is your right and kuleana to elect County, State and Federal officials.

It was just 55 years ago, last Friday, when Hawaii achieved Statehood.  I clearly remember my father proudly bringing home copies of the Advertiser with the huge headline declaring Statehood! He gave each of us kids a copy to keep…Mine is unfortunately still on Oahu or I would be proudly sharing it with all of you now!

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Statehood marked a new era allowing Hawaii representation in the United States Congress and our right to vote for the President of the United States.  It was an exciting time and Maui County led the way with voter turnout of 88%, higher than the Statewide average of 84.4%.  We should be proud of that.

Maui deserves to have elected leaders that are transparent and accountable to the public.  You, the people can make that happen by studying the candidates and the issues. This is your community, your County.  Let us rekindle the spirit of ownership and participation! Very simply… Maui No Ka oi! Mahalo Chair. 

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