The College of Social Sciences at UH Mānoa has selected state Senator Glenn Wakai and Representative Della Au Belatti as the 2016 Legislators in Residence (LIR). Established in 2002, LIR is designed to provide opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between policymakers and the academic community.
“We are honored to have Senator Wakai and Representative Belatti as part of the 2016 Legislators in Residence program, and appreciate the time they are dedicating to our students and faculty as part of this effort,” said Sharon Moriwaki, LIR coordinator. “Their participation in LIR is a tremendous opportunity to expand upon the college’s dynamic learning environment. It allows our students, faculty and staff to work alongside Hawai‘i’s policymakers, explore significant issues facing our community, and examine ways to develop policies in response to these issues.”
Both legislators are eager to work with faculty and students to explore areas of mutual interest. Representative Belatti has already begun work with the TASI-Pacific Health Informatics and Data Center to implement the health-care analytics project. The college’s Public Policy Center will facilitate the Legislative Oversight Committee’s dialog on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. Senator Wakai is interested in various topics relating to innovation, technology, agriculture and economic development. If interested and projects emerge, both legislators are also open to continuing to work with faculty and students in the Spring semester, developing policy and legislation for the 2017 Legislature.
Past LIR participants have explored a range of topics, such as the effectiveness and usefulness of tax credits; urban mobility alternatives; bi-partisan clean campaign; health insurance for Hawai‘i; Sustainable Saunders project; Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability plan; long-term care; clean energy; new civic engagement models; history and outlook on civil unions and same-sex marriage; and sustainable agriculture.
LIR alumni include former Representative Hermina Morita and Representative Roy Takumi (2002), Senator Brian Taniguchi and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (2003), Senator Les Ihara and former Representative Galen Fox (2004), former Representatives Lyla Berg and Lynn Finnegan (2005), Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland and former Representative Barbara Marumoto (2006), former Senator Gary Hooser and Senator Jill Tokuda (2007), former Senator Russell Kokubun and Representative Ryan Yamane (2008), Senator Will Espero and Representative Cynthia Thielen (2009), Governor David Ige and former Representative Denny Coffman (2010), and Senator Clarence Nishihara and former Representative Blake Oshiro (2011).
Senator Glenn Wakai (D) represents the 15th District (Kalihi, Mapunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Foster Village, Hickam and Pearl Harbor). He is the current chair of the Senate’s Committee on Economic Development, Environment and Technology, and is a member of the Committees on Agriculture and Ways and Means.
Representative Della Au Belatti (D) represents the 24th District (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, and Manoa). She currently serves as chair of the House Committee on Health and is a member of the Committees on Consumer Protection & Commerce, Housing, Human Services and Judiciary.