Hawaii Lawmakers Meet With President Obama During National Summit

State Senators Will Espero (Senate Dist. 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) and Jill Tokuda (Senate Dist. 24 – Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu), along with State Representative Chris Lee (House Dist. 51 – Kailua, Waimanalo) were among more than 50 Democratic lawmakers from around the country at the White House on Wednesday to meet with President Barack Obama.  The President encouraged them to push for domestic policy change at the state level because “you can act when Washington won’t.”
Lawmakers whitehouse

The Hawaii lawmakers were in Washington, D.C. to participate in discussions on how the states can address issues including raising the minimum wage, paid family leave and sick days for workers, expanding pre-Kindergarten education, college affordability, and reforming licensing laws to allow more people to get jobs.

Following the summit, the Hawaii delegation clearly understood the burden and opportunity for change that befalls legislators.

“The meetings with the White House staff were productive and informative. Hawai’i families are counting on us to make good policy and improve the quality of life where they live. I look forward to working with the President to pass legislation which supports working men and women and families in our state,” said Sen. Espero.

Sen. Tokuda said the meeting “was a good opportunity to connect with senior White House officials and lawmakers from other states to discuss how we can move forward on important issues like paid leave, early childhood education and criminal justice reform. These discussions were timely as we head towards our legislative session and prepare priorities and bills that will be introduced in concert with local and national efforts.”

Rep. Lee said, “Issues like paid family leave and medical leave aren’t red or blue issues. They will benefit everyone and are overwhelmingly supported by people around the country, but Congress has been unable to take action. Families in our community are hurting. I have friends just starting families who are being forced to choose between caring for their newborns or keeping their jobs. That isn’t right. The United States is the last developed nation in the world without meaningful paid family leave. If Congress won’t act to fix that, then it’s up to us at the state level.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I do this to keep the spammers away * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.