Waikoloa to receive $525,000 for design of a new public library

Sen. MalamSen.MalamaSolomon_2013Legislature_Final(Cropped)a Solomon is pleased to announce that funding identified by the Legislature for a new public library in Waikoloa has been released by the administration. The project includes $525,000 for design work for a new Waikoloa Public Library.

“Residents of Waikoloa worked very hard over the years to get this much-needed public library in the community,” said Solomon, who represents District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa and Kona. “The rural area of Waikoloa is a growing region and I’m pleased that the governor has recognized this and released the funding identified by the Legislature to support literacy and serve the needs of the community.”

“Investing money into our community’s infrastructure will also create more jobs and stimulate the economy,” she added. “This is great news for Hawaii Island and I look forward to the project moving forward.”

Sen. Solomon will keep the community informed of the start and timeline of work on this and other projects as they become known.

Community members are encouraged to contact her at 808-586-7335 or sensolomon@capitol.hawaii.gov should questions arise.

Sen. Solomon on the Selection of Hawaii as the Next Host of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) today selected Hawaii as the location to host the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Senator Malama Solomon (District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) this past session put forth a certificate supporting Hawaii’s bid to host the 2016 World Conservation Congress.

She issued the following remarks on the selection of Hawaii:

“We’ve been waiting with anticipation for the announcement of the next host of the 2016 World Conservation Congress and I am elated that Hawaii has been selected. The Congress, since its inception in 1948, has never come to the United States, and it’s with great pride and Aloha that our state welcome its delegates in 2016.

“Hawaii is the ideal location for the gathering of the minds from across the world to discuss global environment issues and priorities as they relate to conservation programs and activities, government and the economy.

“We have a legacy of conservation in Hawaii and have shown over the years our continued commitment to preserving our natural resources, through various key environmental initiatives and commitment to traditional Hawaiian natural resource management practices.

“Because of our unique and fragile ecosystem, Hawaii is vulnerable to the world’s most pressing environment issues, such as effects of climate change and invasive species. This event will put Hawaii center stage of the global conservation conversation and provide a forum for our business, government, and social leaders to share and gather ideas with others from around the world to help improve how we manage our natural resources.”

Senate Hawaiian Affairs Caucus and OHA Take Issue with “Hula” App

Hawaii Leaders Urge CEO to Cease Use of the Native Hawaiian Word Hula

In defense of the cultural practice and intellectual property of Native Hawaiians, two leading state organizations on Hawaiian affairs are asking the creator of an app that helps people get tested for STDs to stop using and branding the word “Hula.”

The app, which at one point used marketing phrases as “it helps you get lei’d,” connects users to various STD testing facilities and promotes itself as the new platform to have discussions about STD.

The letter, signed by members of the Hawaii State Senate Hawaiian Affairs Caucus and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), is addressed to the chief executive office of Qpid.me, Inc., Ramin Bastani, and identifies two key issues that are of concern:

  • Hula is a sacred Native Hawaiian cultural expression and important cultural property;
  • Naming a commercial product after a Native Hawaiian sacred cultural expression without meaningful consultation is inconsistent with state, international, and the Native Hawaiian people’s policies.

Although recognizing and appreciating the efforts of the company to support STD awareness and prevention, the letter also notes that the use of word “Hula” is hewa (or wrong) because it “represents a highly insensitive, tactless and inappropriate misappropriation of a culturally sacred and cherished practice.”

“It’s unfortunate some think that it’s okay to throw culturally-meaningful expressions around without thinking about the group of people it may affect. Hula is a sacred dance that Native Hawaiians cherish,” said Senator Malama Solomon. “As Hawaiians it is our kuleana (or responsibility) to protect our cultural traditions. We don’t want to see continued disrespectful and inappropriate commodification of our culture.”

According to the letter, hula remains an important medium for the perpetuation and preservation of Native Hawaiian history and culture, and continues to be vital for the mental, physical and spiritual health of individuals as well as the Native Hawaiian Community.

The Hawaii State Constitution recognizes and protects Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights, including cultural expressions and practices such as hula. The state legislature has also affirmed “that the Native Hawaiian people are recognized as indigenous, traditional knowledge holders and they have collective intellectual property rights. Additionally, the United States supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”), which confers upon indigenous peoples the right to maintain and control traditional knowledge, cultural traditions and intellectual property relating to their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression and manifestations.

Senators who signed the letter include: Senators Malama Solomon, Committee on Water and Land; Brickwood Galuteria, Senate Majority Leader; Clayton Hee, Judiciary Committee; J. Kalani English, Transportation and International Affairs Chair; Maile Shimabukuro, Hawaiian Affairs Committee Chair; Gilbert Kahele, Tourism Committee Chair and Michelle Kidani; Ways and Means Committee Vice Chair.

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To read the full letter, click here:  Hawaiian Affairs Caucus Letter to Qpid.me

District 4 on Hawai‘i Island to Receive Almost a Half Billion Dollars in Capital Improvement Project Funding

Residents of the new North Hawai‘i Senate District 4 were assured they will receive a larger share back of the General Excise Taxes (GET) and Transient Accommodation Taxes (TAT) that this community generates as a result of the passage on final reading today of the 2014 Legislature’s supplemental budget bill, according to District 4 Senator Malama Solomon.

With the passage of this biennium budget (HB 1700 CD1), Sen. District 4 will receive close to a half-billion dollars in Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) — $380M in the first year of the biennium and $100M in this, the second year of the biennium budget, said Sen. Solomon.

District 4 includes Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikaloa, Puako, Kawaihae and North Kona.


“Up until these past three years, our large district has not received back a fair share of the revenue it generates. After more than 15 years of serious neglect, coupled with population growth and shifting economic and community priorities, our District’s public facilities – schools, parks, agricultural infrastructure, roads and hospitals – are aging and some are in alarming disrepair.  I am very grateful that we were able to secure the support of Senate and House colleagues to fund repairs and, in some cases, make dramatic improvements that will both create short term construction employment, and also enhance quality of life, protect the environment, and address serious health, safety and social needs,” said Sen. Solomon.

Highlights of CIP funding to District 4 include:

$1.7M                   Waimea Irrigation System Improvements
$1M                       Lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed Project
$3.5M                   Waimea Homestead Community Agricultural Park (Waimea Nui)

$9.89M                 Waimea Middle School (construction and equipment for a 9-Classroom Science-
Technology Building)
$1,7M                   Kanu O Ka ‘Aina Learning ‘Ohana (construction of a new community recreation center emergency shelter that would double as a school-community cafeteria and recreation center)
$2M                       Honoka‘a Elementary School (construction of student drop off and parking area)
$2M                       Honoka‘a High School (athletic facility improvements)
$300,000              Kealakehe High School (construction of an all-weather and synthetic track)

$33M                     College of Pharmacy (a new instructional facility)

$2.5M                   Astronomy (modernization and repair of 2.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea)
$500,000             College of Agricultural, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (establish the Hilo International Flight Training Center)

$60,000                 Kailapa Community Association in Kawaihae (plan for a resource center)

$250,000              The Food Basket, Inc. (repairs and maintenance)

$1M                       West Hawai‘i Community Health Center

$200,000              Hawai‘i Island Humane Society (construction of the Hawaii Island Animal Community Center)

$3,000,000           Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Structure Improvements and Dam Compliance
$8,000,000           Waimea District/Regional Park Plans (A 1:1 match with the County of Hawai‘i)

$1.9M                   Kona International Airport at Keahole (south ramp taxiway and ramp improvements)
$500,000              Hilo Harbor (modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies)
$2M                       Wai‘aka Stream Bridge replacement and realignment at Kawaihae Road
$2M                       Highway 130 and Homestead Road intersection improvements
$1M                       Saddle Road Extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway
$1M                       Sidewalk Improvements to Mamane Street in Honoka‘a
$1M                       Traffic Operational Improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities

Mamalahoa Highway
$6.2M                   Drainage improvements by Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Ranch Road
$4.5M                   Drainage improvements at Kawa
$810,000              Rehabilitation or replacement of Hilea Stream Bridge

Belt Road
$500,000              Rehabilitation or Replacement of Pahoehoe Stream Bridge
$4.9M                   Drainage improvements by Hakalau Bridge
$1.3M                   Rehabilitation or replacement of Ninole Bridge

$2M                       Youth Challenge Academy (upgrade and renovation of Keaukaha Military Reservation)





$1.5 Million Project to Modernize the Kahilu Theatre

The Kahilu Theatre will finally have a new look thanks to the release of a $1.5 million general obligation bond fund grant by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The Legislature appropriated these funds in 2013.

“The Kahilu Theatre has and will continue to play a substantial role in bringing culture and the arts to Waimea,” said Sen. Malama Solomon, who represents District 4-Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, and Kona. “It holds a special place in the hearts of many of our Hawaii Island residents, including my ‘ohana who has shared hula in this theatre numerous times over the years.”

“The $1.5 million will really set the stage for the theatre, performers and community members. The theatre has been part of Waimea for more than 30 years and has not had significant repairs or upgrades since being built in 1981. These funds are needed to update and modernize a beloved Hawaii hub for the performing arts,” she added. “I was also delighted to see the theatre back from its yearlong intermission last year, and with its new and invigorating strategic plan for the future, including becoming more of a community hub, I hope to see it flourish for another 30 years.”

The Kahilu Theatre was built by Parker Ranch owner Richard Smart to the cost of $1.5 million. After years of economic hardship due to several factors, the Theatre Board chose to close its curtain to focus on paying off debts and creating a new strategic plan to propel it into the future. Today, the theatre is focusing on establishing itself as a community hub for culture and the arts as well as community events and youth arts education programs.


Senate’s Capitol Idol Raises Over $1,700 for the Hawaii Foodbank

The Capitol Idol II: The Return of Capitol Idol, a government talent show, raised over $1,700 for the Hawaii Foodbank. In 2012, the event raised $1,400.

Members of the executive branch and legislature didn’t hold anything back to win the coveted individual and team perpetual trophies. However, Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Neil Abercrombie, and his backup dancers outshone everyone with “Last Dance.”

Sen. Mike Gabbard organized the fundraiser and comedian Champ Kaneshiro volunteered as emcee.

“We all had a lot of fun for a good cause as we approach a hectic time during the legislative session,” said Gabbard. “We surpassed what we brought in last year and it’s all thanks to our guests and the performers.”

Performers included:

Team Executive Branch: Linda Rosen, Director of the Dept. of Health; Keali‘i Lopez, Director of the Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Maria Zielinksi, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Accounting and General Services; Audrey Hidano, Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation; Keone Kali, Chief Information Officer; Joshua Wisch, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Taxation; Jesse Souki, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources; and Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff

Team House: Reps. Lauren Cheap Matsumoto and Ken Ito

Team Senate: Sen. Russell Ruderman, backed by Sens. Rosalyn Baker, Will Espero, Mike Gabbard, Michelle Kidani and Suzanne Chun-Oakland;  Sen. Mike Gabbard; Sen. Malama Solomon with back-up singers Sen. Brickwood Galuteria and senate staff; and Da Kolohe Bruddahs, consisting of Sens. Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria and Russell Ruderman.


State Leaders Take the Stage for Capitol Idol II

Everyone’s got talent, right? We’ll see about that at Capitol Idol II: The Return of Capitol Idol, a government talent show fundraiser for the Hawai‘i Foodbank, featuring a handful of brave government leaders from the executive and legislative branches.  Members of the Senate, House and executive branch will sing, dance, and showcase other talents to win the applause of audience members on Monday, April 14 from 5-7 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. Admission is FREE. The event is hosted by Senator Mike Gabbard, with Champ Kaneshiro, of The Champ Show on OC16, emceeing.

The first Capitol Idol was held in 2012, with Rep. Marcus Oshiro (aka “Madame Moshiro”) stealing the show. People are still talking about the lady in the red dress today. However, the word lingering about Capitol hallways is that the Senate will definitely be rocking the House this year.  Individual and Senate/House perpetual trophies are at stake, but more importantly, bragging rights go to the winners for a year.

“We hope to see lots of smiling faces in the audience this year,” said Gabbard. “We want to surpass what we raised last year and encourage everyone to dig deep and support this very worthy cause. You won’t be disappointed in the show.”

Senator Gabbard plays the guitar for Capitol Idol 2012

Competing from the executive branch are Linda Rosen, Director of the Dept. of Health; Keali‘i Lopez, Director of the Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Maria Zielinksi, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Accounting and General Services; Audrey Hidano, Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation; Keone Kali, Chief Information Officer; Joshua Wisch, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Taxation; Jesse Souki, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources; and Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff.

In the House’s corner, Reps. Lauren Cheap Matsumoto and Ken Ito will take the stage on behalf of their 51 members.

Representing the Senate are Sens. Russell Ruderman, Mike Gabbard and Malama Solomon. In addition, a group called Da Kolohe Bruddahs, given their name, will surely rouse laughter in the auditorium. The group wishes to remain anonymous, so the only way to find out who they are is to attend.

Senator Solomon dancing at Capitol Idol 2012

Although this is a FREE event, it is also a fundraiser to raise money for the Hawaii Food Bank. Therefore, state employees are encouraged to donate $1 for a scrip worth one vote. Per the State Ethics Commission, only state employees can purchase scrips.

Votes (scrips) from the audience will determine the winner. Scrips can be picked up in Gabbard’s office, Capitol Room 201, until 5 p.m. on Monday, April 14. After 5 p.m., scrips can be picked up in Capitol Room 016 until 15 minutes after the end of the show. There is no limit on the number of scrips that a state employee can purchase. And people can vote for their favorites as much as they wish.


Solomon Supports New Laws Honoring Veterans and their Families

With a family of veterans, including a brother who lost his life during the Vietnam War, Senator Malama Solomon today attended the bill signing of HB2071 and HB1770 by Governor Neil Abercrombie in the ceremonial room to show her support of these bills.









Photo Credit: Office of Senator Malama Solomon

HB2071 designate the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Family Day,” and HB1170 requires notation of veteran status on state driver’s licenses and identification cards if desired by the applicant. Hawaii will join Illinois, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Guam in celebrating this day of remembrance

“Our military men and women deserve as much support and honor as we can provide,” said Solomon. “Today is a special day for my family and I. Both my father and brother, Randolph Solomon Sr. and Randolph Solomon Jr., are veterans, with my brother giving the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War. We love them very much and are so proud of their service to this great country.”


Senator Malama Solomon Applauds Richard Ha’s Leadership in Agriculture

Submits testimony in strong support of the Hawaii Island farmer’s Board of Agriculture appointment

In written testimony to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Malama Solomon (District 9 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, and Kona) expressed strong support for the appointment of Richard Ha to the state Board of Agriculture.

“The challenges that face the agricultural business in Hawai‘i are daunting,” Solomon said in written testimony. “This is why we need Richard Ha’s leadership. His community involvement has given him in-depth knowledge of how the government, public, and private sectors cooperation is necessary so we can decrease our dependency on imported food and increase our local food production.”

Solomon also called to the committee’s attention the unfortunate, unwarranted and unfair scrutiny Ha received over the past week due to a targeted campaign to stop his reappointment.

“These falsehoods have targeted Mr. Ha’s pro-active positions and his strong avocation for the furtherance of geothermal energy development on the Island of Hawai‘i,” she wrote. She pointed out that geothermal energy development would reduce the electricity costs substantially and that it is key to accelerate local food production within the State.

Solomon called Ha an outstanding farmer and praised his holistic approach to agriculture.

Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture unanimously approved Ha’s appointment with many of the senators praising his leadership in agriculture and willingness to serve amidst unjustified public assaults on his integrity. During discussion before decision making, one lawmaker said that the state is fortunate to have a man of his caliber in this position.

Richard Ha’s nomination will now go to the floor for a full vote by members of the Hawai‘i State Senate.

solomon pdf (Copy)


Statement from Senator Malama Solomon on the Release of $850,000 for State Parks on Hawaii Island

 Senator Malama Solomon, District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona, today released the following statement on the release of $850,000 capital improvement project funds for the following state recreation areas on Hawaii Island:

1) Hapuna Beach Recreation Area ($500,000)
2) Mauna Kea Recreation Area ($350,000)

“I am happy that the administration has released the funds to improve our state recreation areas on Hawaii Island.

“From picnicking and camping to swimming in our oceans and hiking our mountains, our state parks allow our residents to enjoy nature and Hawaii’s unique environment.

“In order to better serve the community in my district and create a better quality of life for both residents and visitors, we must continually invest in maintaining the beauty of our natural spaces.

“My colleagues and I worked to get this funding in the budget, and I am pleased to see the state’s commitment to maintain our lands, beaches and parks, and look forward to seeing these projects get started.”


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