Hirono Highlights Hawaii Priorities and Historic Nomination of Rep. Haaland for DOI Secretary in ENR Confirmation Hearing



Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) highlighted issues she hopes to focus on with the Department of the Interior (DOI) during the first day of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s hearing on the nomination of Representative Deb Haaland (D-N.M), President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior.


“I thank you for meeting with me a little while ago to discuss policy matters that are very important to me—and of course, the issues that relate to Hawaii’s indigenous, Native Hawaiian community are very important to me. I note, as several have already have noted, how historic and important it is that you will be the first Native American woman…poised to serve as Secretary of the Interior,” Senator Hirono said.


As an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, Rep. Haaland’s “people were in our country long before the rest of us ever came here. So I think the significance of your background is not lost on any of us,” Senator Hirono continued. “Based on my conversation with you, I would expect that you will be very committed to working with us on Native Hawaiian issues, as well as issues relating to other indigenous peoples—of course the Alaska Natives and American Indians.”


Click here to download broadcast quality b-roll of Senator Hirono’s exchange with Rep. Haaland during the hearing.


Senator Hirono also noted that if Rep. Haaland is confirmed as Secretary, she wants to work with her to protect native and endangered species and mitigate invasive species in Hawaii. The Senator encouraged Rep. Haaland, if confirmed, to work collaboratively with the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and members of Congress to fairly and collaboratively renegotiate the Compacts of Free Association with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau, as they are set to expire in 2023 and 2024. Senator Hirono also noted that she hopes to work with Rep. Haaland to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and children. The Senator asked about how a transition to clean energy could create jobs—even for families that have worked in the fossil fuel industry. Rep. Haaland responded that there is the potential for millions of clean energy jobs, and that renewable energy technology and innovation will help to create those jobs. Finally, the Senator emphasized the importance of Rep. Haaland’s track record of bipartisanship during her time in the House of Representatives in accomplishing policy goals.


Senator Hirono and Rep. Haaland met last month to discuss shared priorities for Hawaii and the United States.


Source: https://www.hirono.senate.gov/news/press-releases/hirono-highlights-hawaii-priorities-and-historic-nomination-of-rep-haaland-for-doi-secretary-in-enr-confirmation-hearing




At the direction of the President of the United States, Gov. David Ige has ordered that the United States flag and the Hawai‘i state flag will be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol and upon all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard in the State of Hawai‘i immediately, until sunset on ­­Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.


“This action is being taken today, as the U.S. marks a half-million COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began. Let us reflect on this loss and the memory of the more than 500,000 fellow Americans – including 431 in Hawai‘i -- who have died of COVID-19. Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones on this day,” Gov. Ige said.


More Americans have died in a single year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined, according to the White House proclamation.


President Joseph R. Biden is also asking Americans to observe a moment of silence at sunset, in honor of those who have died of COVID-19.


The president’s proclamation can be found here.




The death of one (1) male Halawa Correctional Facility inmate, between 60 to 70 years old, is being classified by the Hawaii Department of Health as a COVID-19 related death. The death occurred in early February. No additional information is being provided to protect individual medical privacy. Halawa currently remains clear of active positive inmate cases.


For more information on PSD’s planning and response to COVID-19, inmate testing data, and information detailing the efforts made to safeguard the inmates, staff and public, visit our webpage at: http://dps.hawaii.gov/blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-resources/.


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