Ige Delivers 2020 State of State Address

January 21, 2020, 2:30 PM HST (Updated January 21, 2020, 2:16 PM)
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State and county leaders and community members gathered in the House Chambers at the State Capitol as Gov. David Ige delivered the 2020 State of the State Address Tuesday morning.

Ige started the speech by asking for a moment of silence for Honolulu Police Officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama, who were killed in the line of duty on Sunday.

“Chief Ballard – Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the HPD ʻohana and with the families of these two brave officers,” Ige said.

The governor went on to discuss is support for a joint bills package from the House and Senate that is meant to improve the quality of life in Hawai‘i. A study sponsored by the Aloha United Way reported that a family of four in Hawaiʻi needs a combined annual income of $77,000 just to survive…to pay for food, housing, health care, childcare and taxes.

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“If you asked working families in Hawaiʻi whether they make $77,000 a year, many would answer, ‘no,’ Ige said. “If you asked families who made $77,000 whether that was enough, I suspect the answer would still be, ‘no.'”

The package addresses a living wage, education and housing and homelessness.

“We committed to shaping these bills and ushering them through the legislative process,” Ige said. “And we made a promise to make life better for our working families.”

The governor also hopes to continue to build on a future of sustainability covering energy, economic development and the environment.

“How do we sustain our economy, our lifestyle and our natural environment? We do it first by developing clean energy sources,” he said.

Perhaps the longest transition the state as has experienced recently has been the transformation of the agricultural industry from large-scale farming to more diversified farms.

Also, Hawai‘i is leading the nation in solar power, with commercial projects and homeowners increasing their use of the energy. This  has allowed the state to meet its 2020 energy goal of attaining 30% of its energy needs from renewable sources.

“The significance of this initial pivot to clean and renewable energy cannot be overstated,” Ige said.

Stewardship of the ʻāina has always been a central part of public policy here in Hawaiʻi.

“It is embedded in our state motto and in the awareness of our children from an early age,” he said. “The life of our lands has always depended on right thinking and a love of this place we call home.”

However, Ige emphasized the new danger threatening the ʻāina comes from climate change. He added, the Legislature can work to permanently set aside 10,000 acres in conservation under the State’s Legacy Land program, as they’ve done for the past year and a half.

“We can mandate 100% clean energy usage by 2045,” the governor said. “But without your involvement, public policy is just that: a policy written on a piece of paper. It is your support and daily participation that transforms those policies into meaningful actions.”

At the start of a new decade, Ige believes the community and legislators have the power to change the lives of working families. The governor also believes that “we” can overcome the challenges facing the state and work together to create better lives for everyone.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to stand up and be counted. It is time for us to put some skin in the game,” Ige said. “I believe in Hawaiʻi, and I believe in all of you. Let’s get to work.”

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.

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