Kauai Legislators Meet with Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Students

Senator Ronald D. Kouchi, Representative James Tokioka, Representative Derek S.K. Kawakami, advisor Robyn Herbig, and students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

Senator Ronald D. Kouchi, along with Representatives James Tokioka and Derek S.K. Kawakami, presented students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School (CKMS) with legislative certificates commending them on their achievement at the Jr. SkillsUSA Convention Construction and Technology Challenge. The Jr. SkillsUSA Convention Construction and Technology Challenge was held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu on February 20 to 21. After the competition, the CKMS students and their advisor, Robyn Herbig, met with members of their Kauai Legislative Delegation at the Hawaii State Capitol. Participating in this year’s event included: Ben Brady, Sydney Brady, Kaylee Braun, Seeley Byers, Scott Cushnie, Mariflor Delos Santos, Kiyib (Erina) Garbphin, Ku‘ulei Ikeda, Camron Navor, Ryan Smith, Rina Takabayashi, and Shirying Tay.

A non-profit student organization serving more than 300,000 student and professional members, SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. The organization hosts annual local, state, and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills. It also provides students with leadership, teamwork and character development.

KAUAIBOTS Participate in 2012 First in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition

HONOLULU – The KAUAIBOTS Team (Team #2465), composed of students from Kapa‘a High School, Island School, Kaua‘i High School, and Waimea High School, are on Oahu today to compete in the 2012 First in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition.  The three-day tournament is being held at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Stan Sherriff Center.  This is the 5th consecutive year that a team representing the island of Kaua‘i is participating.

Hawaii State Senate Passes Ocean Safety Collective Bargaining Bill

OAHU – The Hawaii State Senate passed SB 2967 (SD1), which seeks to establish a separate collective bargaining unit for Ocean and Water Safety Officers, at a floor vote during Session on March 6, 2012.  Under SB 2967, Bargaining Unit 14, which represents ocean safety and water safety officers, would be created.

Upon passage of SB 2967, Kauai Senator Ronald D. Kouchi commented, “Ocean safety personnel and water safety officers are an integral part of our first line of emergency responders.  Kauai has some of the most beautiful, but also dangerous beaches in the world, and our water safety officers put their lives on the line everyday as part of their job.  By having their own bargaining unit, they will now have the chance to represent themselves collectively and have their issues and concerns unique to their group addressed.”

Senator Kouchi continued, “I am greatly pleased with the passage of this bill since it reflects our understanding and appreciation for the service that ocean safety personnel provide.”

SB 2967 has crossed over to the House of Representatives where it will await assignment to a Committee for a hearing.

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Students Take Home Top Awards in State Competition

Senator Ronald D. Kouchi, Representative James Tokioka, Representative Dee Morikawa, Representative Derek S.K. Kawakami, teachers Justin Carvalho and Robyn Herbig, and students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

OAHU – Thirteen students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School (CKMS) won first and second places in the SkillsUSA Convention Technology Challenge Contest held on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, in Honolulu.

SkillsUSA is a non-profit educational association which serves high school and post-secondary school students. The organization hosts annual local, state, and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills.  The association works to provide quality educational experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development.

Representative Derek S.K. Kawakami, Representative James Tokioka, CKMS teacher Justin Carvalho, Senator Ronald D. Kouchi. Bottom row: Representative Dee Morikawa, CKMS teacher Robyn Herbig

CKMS students participating in the SkillsUSA contest were Keala Iwasaki, Scott Cushnie, Keegan Loo, Sean Ebueng, Trevor Fruedig, Branden Remegio, Scott Ota, Saedy Tumaneng, Marissa Martinez, Sarah Matsunaga, Sydney Brady, Marilyn Clement and Elizabeth Makizuru.  CKMS teachers Justin Carvalho and Robyn Herbig accompanied the group.

While in Honolulu, the CKMS students and their teachers met with their Kauai Legislative delegation, Senator Ronald D. Kouchi, Representative James Tokioka, Representative Dee Morikawa and Representative Derek S.K. Kawakami.  Each student was presented with a legislative certificate commending them on their achievement at the SkillsUSA Convention.


Hawaii State Senate Recognizes Author of “The Descendants”

Senators recognize Kaui Hart Hemmings for the success of her novel, “The Descendants,” which was turned into a screenplay for the movie with the same namesake.


HONOLULU –  Just a few days after attending the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of  the novel, “The Descendants,” was recognized by the Hawaii State Senate.

Today, Senators honored Hemmings with a certificate of recognition for the success she received in having her novel adapted into a screenplay for the movie, “The Descendants,” which won an Academy Award for the Best Adapted Screenplay Sunday night. The film also garnered four Oscar nominations.

We are very proud of Kaui Hart Hemmings and the role she played in showcasing Hawaii in her novel.  She shares the story of life in our islands through the eyes of a Kamaaina, which everyone in the world would be able to appreciate,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria, who presented the certificate.

Along with the Oscars, the movie was nominated and has won numerous other awards, including two Golden Globe Awards.   The Descendants stars George Clooney, Amara Miller and Shailene Woodley.  The film was shot in Honolulu and in Kauai’s Hanalei Bay.

Scenery from Kauai’s iconic properties and landscapes are beautifully photographed and highlighted in the film, thanks to Kaui and the producers of the movie,” said Senator Ronald D. Kouchi, who represents Kauai.   “We are pleased with being able to share our island lifestyle with those who watch the movie.”

The soundtrack uses Hawaiian music, featuring artists including Gabby Pahinui, Ray Kane, Keola Beamer, Lena Machado, Sonny Chillingworth, Jeff Peterson, and Reverend Dennis Kamakahi.

Senate Ways and Means Committee Passes SB 2986

OAHU – The Senate Ways and Means Committee passed Senate Bill (SB) 2986 on Thursday, February 23, 2012, extending the sunset date on Act 198 of 2009 for five years from 2012 through 2017.  SB 2986 recognizes and affirms the Senate’s belief that utilities like Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) that use environmentally cleaner naptha fuel for power generation should continue to realize reduced tax requirements.

In proposing an extension of five years instead of the previous three, Ways and Means Chair Senator David Y. Ige, stated, “As part of our state-wide site visits this past interim, I was able to visit the KIUC facility and meet with the directors and employees.  During these discussions, KIUC’s concerns relating to this issue were raised and a determination was made that a five year extension was more appropriate at this time.”

Senator Ronald D. Kouchi added that, “I would like to thank Ways and Means Chair David Ige for taking the time to visit Kauai to get a firsthand look at our concerns and problems.  KIUC’s  lower tax rate will save Kauai cooperative members approximately five million dollars a year, which is a great help to our residents paying one of the highest kilo watt cost in the state.”

The bill now goes before the full Senate for a floor vote on March 6, 2012 before crossing over to the House of Representatives.

Senator Ronald D. Kouchi Presents Chance Bukoski with Senate Certificate

Kauai native Chance Bukoski with Senator Ronald D. Kouchi.

OAHU- Senator Ronald D. Kouchi presented Kauai’s Chance Bukoski with a Senate Certificate at the State Capitol on Monday, January 30, 2012.  The Senate Certificate commended Bukoski on his athletic achievements throughout his collegiate soccer career.  Bukoski, a Hawaii Pacific University senior forward on the men’s soccer team, was voted on to the 2011 Daktronics NCAA Division II All-American First Team.  Bukoski was also recently featured in Sports Illustrated’s  “Faces in the Crowd”  January 9,2012 issue

Senator Ronald D. Kouchi Meets With Leilehua High School Students Participating In Youth Capitol Commentary

Senator Ronald D. Kouchi with Jeff Galicinao of Olelo Community Media and students from Leilehua High School.

OAHU- Director of Olelo Community Media, Greg Davis, and students from Leilehua High School, interviewed Kauai Senator Ronald D. Kouchi for the 9th Annual Youth Capitol Commentary on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, which was the Opening Day of the 26th Legislative Session.

Olelo Community Media is Oahu’s Public Access television station.  Leilehua High School students interviewed Senator Kouchi on various issues affecting Hawaii. Coverage of the interview will be televised on Kauai via Olelo Community Media’s, “Capitol Commentary” on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. on Focus 49.

For further information on future airdates, please check the Olelo Website at  http://www.olelo.org/capitolcommentary.


Photo Caption: Sen. Kouchi presents a certificate of recognition to Kalaheo Elementary School's Robominations Lego Team

KAUAI- Senator Ronald D. Kouchi, along with Darlene Chung, owner/operator of McDonalds Restaurants on Kauai, and Ruth Johnson, Kauai McDonalds Human Resources Manager, teamed up to honor the students and coaches of Kalaheo Elementary School’s Robominations Lego Team.  The Robominations Lego Team captured the District Championship Title at the First Lego League 2011 Food Factor Kauai Tournament, by accumulating the highest overall points in the competition among twelve participating elementary schools on Kauai.  As District Champion, the team had the honor of representing Kauai at the State Championships held on the island of Oahu.

Senator Ronald D. Kouchi recognized the team’s hard work and dedication by presenting each team member and coach with a senate certificate commending their accomplishment. “Academic achievements are far too often overlooked and it gives me great pleasure to congratulate and recognize the team members and coaches,” he said.

In recognition of their success, McDonalds Restaurants of Kauai awarded gift certificates to the team and coaches.  Upon seeing the children’s excitement and appreciation, Senator Kouchi added, “I think it is wonderful that Darlene Chung and McDonalds of Kauai are strong supporters of the robotics program.  It is programs such as these that inspire student interest in science, math, and technology.”

The Kalaheo Robominations Lego Team is comprised of team members Alexandra Centra, Sage Cierras, Olivia Gegen, Kenyon Johnson, Kaden Keep, Emily Melchor, Jaedyn Pavao, Coby L. Simon, Levi Snowden and Luke Sullivan.  Robominations coaches include Rosemary Laulea Smyth, Traci Sullivan, and Gaetano Vasta.

The First Lego League Food Factor Tournament provides students the opportunity to utilize and develop their skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by researching the topic of food safety, and providing innovative solutions to problems involving food sanitation, preparation and storage.  Students are judged on developing, building, testing and programming an autonomous robot to address these specific food safety concerns.

Senate Committee On Tourism Visits Kaua‘i

Senate Committee On Tourism Visits Kaua‘i

KAUA‘I – On Monday, August 22, 2011, Senate Committee on Tourism Chair Senator Donna Mercado Kim joined Senate Committee on Tourism Vice Chair Senator Ronald D. Kouchi on Kauai to tour various visitor attractions. Both senators also met with visitor industry professionals in a roundtable discussion to talk about current issues and concerns relating to Kaua‘i.

Many issues were discussed, but one overriding message attendees raised was the appreciation for preserving Kauai county’s share of the transient accommodation tax (TAT).

In attendance of the roundtable discussion: George Costa (Office of Economic Development for the County of Kauai), Pat Griffin (Lihue Business Association), Rowena Cobb (Kauai Board of Realtors), Mattie Yoshioka (Kauai Economic Development Board), Sue Kanoho (Kauai Visitors Bureau), Kirk Nakamoto, Tom Shigemoto, and Randall Francisco (Kauai Chamber of Commerce), Mike Hough (Kapaa Business & Professional Association), and Sandi Kato-Klute (Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association).

On behalf of the Senate Tourism Committee and its chair, Senator Kim, Senator Kouchi would like to thank the attendees and Randall Franscisco for organizing the meeting.

For more information regarding the Hawaii State Senate Tourism Committee and the legislature, please visit the capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

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