Statement from Senator J. Kalani English on the Release of $500,000 for New Lanai Community Health Center

Senator J. Kalani English today released the following statement on the release of $500,000 in capital improvement grant funds for a new Lana’i Community Health Center (LCHC) facility. Sen. English represents District 7, which includes Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe.

Rendering of the new Lanai Community Health Center

Floor plan of the of the new Lanai Community Health Center

“My colleagues and I worked hard to secure the $500,000 in the state budget to help fund the LCHC project.

“The people of Lana’i deserve a new center in a prime location to provide better access for those who need these types of necessary healthcare and dental services. With its larger design in a central location, more people in this remote area will receive care from top-notch professionals.

“The healthcare providers at LCHC have over the years showed their commitment to the people of Lana‘i. In fact, several of the Center’s doctors were named in Honolulu Magazine’s Best Doctors in Hawaii list. I also applaud the Center’s officials and staff on the work they have done to see this new facility come to fruition.”


Tranquility Base Day in Hawaii

This Sunday (July 20) will mark the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969, when Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans in history to walk on another world. This seminal event helped launch humankind’s first steps beyond Earth, and the State of Hawaii played an instrumental role in both training the Apollo astronauts for their historic mission (at multiple lava fields on the Big Island of Hawaii) and in providing a communications link with the Apollo spacecraft (through the Koke’e Tracking Station on Kauai) during its sojourn to the lunar surface.

In recognition of this occasion and our State’s support for and continued involvement with space exploration, the Hawaii State Legislature unanimously passed SCR 82 during the 2014 Session, which established July 20, 2014 as “Tranquility Base Day” in Hawaii. Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin is also commemorating this historic occasion through a video presentation in which he discusses Hawaii’s role in the Apollo Program, as well as the substantial scientific, educational, social, and commercial opportunities and benefits the aerospace industry in general (and space exploration in particular) can bring to our Aloha State.

“Hawaii has positioned itself to become an active participant in the aerospace industry,” said Sen. Will Espero, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. “Space tourism, regional unmanned aerial systems test site, small satellite launches, a research park on the Big Island based on space exploration, robotics, and laser telecommunications are areas that Hawaii can be a leader in the aerospace world.”

“We are on the verge of expanding and establishing a niche market around science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” he added. “This industry will be good for Hawaii residents, our nation, and the world.”

For more information, please contact the office of Senator Will Espero at 808-586-6360 or the Hawaii Office of Aerospace Development at 808-383-9811.


State Hospital Administrators Subpoenaed to Testify Before Senate Investigative Committee

The Hawaii State Senate continues its investigation into allegations of misconduct at the State Hospital on Wednesday, July 16.

The Special Investigative Committee on the State Hospital was formed during the 2014 legislative session to conduct an investigation of the workplace safety of psychiatric workers and allegations of administrative improprieties and failure to conform to established employment policies and practices at the Hawaii State Hospital. The hearings began in March to receive testimony from subpoenaed individuals and has been ongoing as senators take a wide-ranging and in-depth look at the State Hospital.

“There are a growing number of concerns at the State Hospital,” said Senator Clayton Hee, co-chair of the Senate Special Investigative Committee on the State Hospital. “As we learn more about the inner workings at the State Hospital, it’s become clear that there are many issues that need addressing. We need to hold workers accountable for improper actions, but also equip them with the tools necessary to do their jobs.”

“The first step in solving a problem is to assess the current situation” said Senator Josh Green, co-chair of the Senate Special Investigative Committee on the State Hospital. “The hearings we hold attempts to gives us insight into what exactly is happening at the State Hospital so that we can begin to address and solve those issues with open and transparent governance.”

The next hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 16 at 11:00am in Room 16 of the Hawaii State Capitol to receive testimony from the following individuals for which subpoenas were issued:

  • Mark Fridovich, Adult Mental Health Division Administrator
  • William Elliott, Acting Hawaii State Hospital Administrator
  • Linda Rosen, Director of the Department of Health

Senator Thielen Participates in Emerging Leaders Program

This past week, Senator Laura Thielen was at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in Charlottesville, Virginia to participate in the State Legislative Leaders Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

Senator Thielen joined other ambitious state legislators across the nation who recently began their careers in public service in forming the 2014 class of the ELP.  The highly interactive program enhances the leadership potential of emerging political leaders and prepares them to be more thoughtful public servants and effective leaders.This specialized educational and enrichment program challenges the new legislators to think critically, serve thoughtfully, and lead positively. Additionally, it gives the participants a venue to openly share knowledge and grow their network so that they may better serve their state and constituency.

Senator Thielen wrote about her experiences participating in ELP which you can read about on her blog:

Statement from Senator Espero


On the Governor’s Veto of SB2589, Relating to the Transfer of Harbor Police to the Department of Public Safety

Senator Will Espero, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, issued the following statement regarding Governor Neil Abercrombie’s veto of SB2589, relating to the transfer of harbor police from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Espero introduced the measure.


“I am disappointed the governor chose to veto SB2589, which transfers harbor police to the Department of Public Safety. It appears he listened to government bureaucrats more interested in protecting the status quo rather than making positive changes to the state’s law enforcement authority.

“The bill had support from both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety during the 2014 legislative session. There was no opposition. It appears that after Director Glenn Okimoto left the top post, underlings in DOT convinced the interim director to request a veto of the bill.

“The bill was part of a long-term plan to eventually consolidate all state law enforcement duties under one state agency. Currently, DLNR also has law enforcement officers as well.

“I believe the governor was given bad advice by his staff on this measure. I would like to see the issue revisited next session and once again passed out so that we can bring positive change to our law enforcement authority.”



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