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Senator Kahele to Kick-Off Statewide Higher Education Tour at UH Hilo Next Wednesday

State Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele, Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, is announcing a statewide higher education tour for its committee members. The tour will also include discussions with students, faculty, staff and administrators, that will focus on “transforming the University of Hawai‘i System for the next decade.” Arrangements are being made to visit all 10 University of Hawai‘i System campuses and affiliated education centers this fall as follows:

  • University of Hawai‘i at Hilo 
  • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa 
  • University of Hawai‘i at West Oahu 
  • University of Hawai‘i Maui College 
  • Hawai‘i Community College (Hilo) 
  • Honolulu Community College 
  • Kapi‘olani Community College 
  • Leeward Community College 
  • Windward Community College 
  • Kaua‘i Community College 
  • Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui (Kona) 
  • North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center (Honoka‘a) 
  • Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (Kaneohe)

To kick off the statewide tour, Senator Kahele is hosting an East Hawai‘i Higher Education Town Hall on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at UH Hilo in UCB100. Topics of discussion will include leadership, enrollment, tuition, governance, student life, facilities, athletics, community engagement and new programs. University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College students, faculty, staff, administrators and the community are encouraged to attend.

For questions regarding the higher education statewide tour or the town hall meeting, please contact the office of Sen. Kahele at 808-586-6760 or senkkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Senator Kai Kahele’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Senator Kai Kahele

Aloha Damon and mahalo for your email. Although we (the Senate) have not seen a bill yet there has been speculation to what a bill may look like to help fund the Honolulu Rail Project shortfall, however I can provide a response to your questions based on the knowledge I have so far.

Question #1: Answer: NO. I do not support increasing the TAT Statewide to fund the rail project. Front loading the rail project with money from a TAT statewide increase is bad policy for the State. Leisure tourism is our number one industry and is what drives GE revenues. Raising the TAT hotel tax statewide has the potential to hurt our tourism industry. In addition, I have heard from many of my constituents in Hilo and they are opposed to raising the TAT hotel tax statewide which would make on island and off island travel for hard working Hawaiʻi Island families, youth sports teams and church groups that much more expensive when they need to stay in our island hotels. If it makes Hawaiʻi Island hotels more expensive for local families, to fund the rail project on Oahu, I cannot support that.

Questions #2: Answer: YES. I do support the extension of the GE surcharge on Oahu to fund the rail project. The GE surcharge on Oahu has been paid and collected by Oahu residents since 2007 and is set to expire in 2027. An extension of this broad based tax, which the voters of Oahu voted for seems reasonable to me. It will also not impact the neighbor islands or the tourism industry. I do support a 6 year extension of the surcharge to complete the rail project.

Questions #3: Answer: YES. If front loading the rail project to decrease total cost and interest paid was what the voters and residents of Oahu wanted than I would support that. The Hawaiʻi GE tax is inherently a regressive tax and has the potential to affect lower income individuals and families which we would need to weigh appropriately. However, if this proposal could decrease the amount of years for the GE extension, which also helps lower income families, and ends up costing less in total interest paid, the legislature should consider it. Again, I would like to see what the residents of Oahu think about this proposal, maybe an informal poll could be taken.

Continue reading

A Message From Senator Kahele

Photo courtesy “Hawaii State Senate.”

Aloha,
This Monday, August 7, 2017 is the start of the new school year and I wanted to take this moment to welcome back our students, teachers and administrators and wish all of you a fantastic school year.

As the school year begins, there will be many students walking to school and crossing our streets. As a reminder to our drivers, please be extra vigilant of our keiki on our roadways starting next week.

I’m especially excited about the implementation of the Farm to School program into our Hilo schools this year. Led by Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture and The Kohala Center, the program emphasizes the use of more locally grown food within our public school cafeterias. The pilot phase took place last year at Kohala elementary, middle and high schools. This year, the program is expanding to Kalaniana‘ole Intermediate School, Ha‘aheo Elementary School and Keaukaha Elementary School.

Farm to School is focused on improving student health by reducing processed foods, sourcing local ingredients and serving nutritious meals cooked from scratch. The program will expand the relationship between Hawai‘i public schools and local agricultural communities. In the classroom, students will learn how their food choices as consumers impact their health, environment and community.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, I will be conducting a series of statewide visits to all University of Hawai‘i System campuses to speak with students, faculty, staff and administration. These site visits will be an opportunity to answer questions and hear concerns so that we can make the necessary changes to strive for a world class University of Hawai’i System.

To kick this off, I will be holding a Higher Education Town Hall on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. I would like to invite the UH-Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College faculty, staff, students and administration. The town hall will be held at UH-Hilo in UCB 100 at the University Classroom Building.

Again, my office and staff are always available to you should you need any assistance. I hope to have an opportunity for us to talk story. Be sure to swing by my next Saturday with your Senator event on August 12, 2017.

Me ka haʻahaʻa,
Kaialiʻi Kahele

Senator Kahele Hosting Town Hall Meeting on Legislative Updates

On Monday, May 15, 2017, the community is invited to attend a town hall style meeting hosted by Hawai‘i State Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele who will present an update on the recent legislative session.

“The East Hawai‘i delegation worked together to pass vital legislation for higher education, health, and community development, while also securing over $80 million in funding to help with capital improvement projects in the district,” said Sen. Kahele. “I encourage the public to come listen and provide any questions they may have regarding this past session.”

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 PM at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in UCB Room 100. To RSVP, please contact (808) 586-6760 or toll-free 974-4000 ext. 66760.

  • Date: Monday, May 15, 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Location: University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, UCB Room 100, 200 W. Kāwili St. Hilo, HI 96720

VIDEO: Senator Kahele Announcing the “Hilo Community Economic District” Bill

Senator Kai Kahele announces the “Hilo Community Economic District” Senate Bill that he is about to introduce during the 2017 Hawaii State Legislature.

Building on the work of the Banyan Drive Hawai‘i Redevelopment Agency, this bill will expand the application and scope of their effort and move toward crafting a master plan of all state lands in the Hilo urban core, including Banyan Drive, Wailoa State Park, Kanoelehua Industrial Area, the Hilo International Airport and Pier, and other nearby state lands.

“This initiative combines the strengths of the public sector, private enterprise, and the community to conduct long-range planning and community building unlocking the economic potential of East Hawaiʻi,” said Sen. Kahele. “This is truly a game-changer for Hilo. With this kind of synergy, we can build a Hilo for the future. A Hilo that our children can thrive in.”

Senator Kahele Invites Public to His Last Landing with Hawaii Air National Guard

Tomorrow, Sunday, January 8th 2017, Senator Kai Kahele will command his final flight back to Hilo with the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard, where his flying career began in 1992 as an 18 year old student pilot at Benchmark Flight Training.

Senator Kahele has told me that this is open to the public and folks will be able to check out the C-17 in person. He is estimated to arrive at 10:00AM and will have the C-17 Globemaster III on display for the public until 11:15AM.

Hawaiʻi Air National Guard Major Kahele was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force in 2001. He earned his USAF pilot wings at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi in 2002 and has flown numerous aircraft in the USAF to include the T-37, T-38, F-15, C-130 and C-17. He is a veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and has accumulated over 3000+ hours of worldwide military flight time. He has commanded numerous USAF combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the recipient of the USAF Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal & USAF Commendation Medal.

“Mahalo to my HIANG 204th airlift squadron ‘ohana for a great pau hana Saturday before my C17 final flight tomorrow back to where it all started…Hilo” stated Sen. Kai Kahele tonight on his Facebook page

Children, friends, family and aviation enthusiasts are invited. Participants will get to view the cockpit and the entire aircraft as well as talk to an F-22 Raptor Pilot and other C-17 pilots and loadmasters about how to become a United States Air Force military pilot and pursue a USAF career.

**Bring your kids and family to Hilo airport tomorrow morning at 10:00AM to check out the C17 Globemaster** (Old Hilo Airport Tower/Cargo Terminal by NAS Swimming Pool)

Cameras are welcome and please bring your families!

Senator Kaialiʻi Kahele to Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education

Newly elected State Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele (Dist. 1 – Hilo), was selected to Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education (HED) by Senate leadership earlier today. Sen. Kahele will fulfill the final two years of his late father’s term in the Senate representing the residents of Hilo after being elected to the seat on November 8, 2016.

senator-kai-kahele-profileSen. Kahele, a 1992 graduate of Hilo High School, pursued his higher education at Hawai‘i Community College, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and received his Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 1998.

As Chair of HED, Sen. Kahele will oversee the formulation of legisation for the University of Hawai‘i System – including three baccalaureate universities, seven community colleges and four educational centers across Hawai‘i. In addition, his committee purvue includes the Senate confirmation of the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents.

Sen. Kahele will also serve as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Education (EDU) with Chair, Sen. Michelle N. Kidani.

“It is an honor and I am humbled to represent the residents of Senate District One in Hilo,” said Sen. Kahele. “I appreciate the trust and confidence the Senate Leadership has in me with these important committee assignments. I have a passion for education and providing quality, affordable education for all keiki, at all levels, across our State. Working together with Senator Kidani, I am looking forward to reshaping P-20 education throughout Hawai‘i and providing opportunities for our children to compete in the global arena as well as giving them the tools to shape the future of our Island home.”

I Proudly Endorse Senator Kai Kahele

I too endorse Senator Kai Kahele for Senate District One.
kai-for-district-1

THIS IS NOT A PAID AD!

Senator Kai Kahele Says Mahalo Hilo!

Senator Kahele Mahalo

This was not a paid ad and I’ve placed this on my website at my own will.

Hawaii Senate District 1 Awarded Over $89 Million in Capital Improvement Project Funds

With the adoption of the supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2017, Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele (Dist. 1 – Hilo) is proud to announce more than $89 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding has been appropriated for various projects for District 1. These projects address aging infrastructure, improve existing schools and facilities, and establish additional safety measures.

Kai Kahele Profile

“The projects funded by the budget will help move East Hawai‘i forward by creating jobs, enhancing our public infrastructure and facilities, and investing in education,” said Sen. Kahele. “By working collaboratively with my colleagues, Senator Lorraine R. Inouye, Representatives Mark M. Nakashima, Clift Tsuji and Richard H.K. Onishi, we will continue to secure funds to drive our economy and improve our quality of life.”

In realizing that the real future lies in the hands of our children and grandchildren, legislators reflected a Senate Majority priority goal of providing for our families and allocated funds for a covered play court at Chiefess Kapi‘olani and Ha‘aheo Elementary Schools, providing kitchen equipment for the Keaukaha Elementary School cafeteria and electrical upgrades for Waiākea Intermediate School.  In passing SB3126 SD2 HD2 CD1, $100 million was allocated to the Department of Education to assist in moving forward their program to install air conditioning and other heat abatement measures in our public schools and providing students with a better learning environment.

Lawmakers also recognized other imperative concerns of District 1 and allocated significant resources for the airports, harbors and health services.

“Throughout my life, my father taught me the importance of community service and I’m honored to carry on his legislative initiatives,” said Sen. Kai Kahele.

Notable CIP funding highlights for District 1 include:

  • $31.8 million for renovations on the Keaukaha Military Reservation
  • $2 million for covered playcourt for Ha‘aheo Elementary School
  • $1.5 million for design and construction for a covered playcourt at Kapi‘olani Elementary School
  • $252,000 for plans, design and construction for electrical systems upgrades for Waiākea Intermediate School
  • $6.75 million for improvements for the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $300,000 for construction for a new adult day care facility at the Hawai‘i Island Community Development Corporation
  • $2 million for land acquisition to expand the Hilo Forest Reserve
  • $21 million for design and construction of a new support building, housing and support offices and security system for Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center
  • $3.5 million for improvements at Hilo International Airport
  • $7.95 million for demolition of pier shed and water tower and other improvements for Hilo Harbor
  • $2.2 million for plans for rehabilitation and/or replacement of Wailuku Bridge along Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19)
  • $600,000 for design and construction for cafeteria equipment installation; ground and site improvement; equipment and appurtenances at Keaukaha Elementary School

In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-in-Aid (GIA) were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Hilo community:

  • $1 million for design and construction for an education facility for Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce
  • $1 million for plans, design and construction for a health facility for Panaewa Community Alliance
  • $500,000 for construction for a new Island Heritage Gallery Exhibit at Lyman House Memorial Museum
  • $217,000 for Rainbow Falls Botanical Garden and Visitor Center
  • $200,000 for program to assist with at risk and low income school students to prevent from dropping out of High School in Hilo
  • $150,000 for Kamoleao Laulima Community Resources Center

Senator Kai Kahele Responds to Question of His Residency

I just spoke to Senator Kaiali’i Kahele and his office has sent me the following press release regarding a question of his residency:
Senator Kai Kahele Legislature Profile

In response to a recent inquiry regarding his residency, Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele (Dist. 1 – Hilo), offers this statement:

“I live in the First Senatorial District – Hilo. In 2012, I moved to Hilo and have resided in Hilo continuously from that time. At that time, my parents and I agreed to take out a mortgage to remodel their house to allow me and my family to live there. Since 2012, I have continuously had the residence in Hilo as my primary residence and have used that residence for all purposes, including voter registration.

The question has been raised regarding the agreement I entered into in 2011 with my Aunt, Sally Kahikinaokala Dacalio, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources for a property in Miloli’i.

In 2011, I was approached by extended family with a request to assume my Aunt’s lease for the property in question. My Aunt was in poor health and her family was afraid that the lease would be lost by our family. Under those circumstances, I agreed to pay off my Aunt’s mortgage and assume the lease with DLNR. The matter was handled informally without legal advisors. Since I became aware of the terms of the lease, I have contacted DLNR for the purpose of addressing the situation. I am hopeful and confident that I will be able to resolve this matter with DLNR in the near future.”