Shan Tsutsui to Resign as Lieutenant Governor

Shan S. Tsutsui announces his resignation as Lieutenant Governor, effective Jan. 31, 2018. Photo Courtesy

Shan S. Tsutsui announces his resignation as Lieutenant Governor, effective Jan. 31, 2018. He will be returning to Maui and will be joining Strategies 360, a public affairs, strategic communications and research firm with offices in Hawaii, 11 other Western states and Washington D.C as a Senior Vice-President.

His statement follows:

“With a grateful, yet heavy heart I am announcing today that I will be resigning as the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi, effective January 31, 2018. Over the past 15 years, it has been my honor and privilege to have served the people of Hawaiʻi, first as a State Senator from Maui and Senate President, and currently as your Lieutenant Governor. Throughout that time, I have always been mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes with public office. I have greatly appreciated the trust and confidence that was bestowed upon me and have done my best to build a better Hawaiʻi through collaboration and hard work, while honoring our shared core values of honesty, integrity and respect.

As Senate President, I was fortunate to draw upon my many years in the Senate and the relationships that I had established to exhibit a collaborative style of leadership, and I did my best to ensure that all Senators were respected and heard. As your Lieutenant Governor, I have continued to work cooperatively with leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as members of the public, with that same level of respect and attention. During this time, I am proud to have established the Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health (R.E.A.C.H.) initiative to support after-school programs for middle and intermediate public school students. As a father, I was especially concerned with ensuring that middle school students engage in positive activities and relationships during hours when many are left unsupervised because their parents are working. Since 2013, R.E.A.C.H. has invested approximately $2.75M in more than 40 public middle and intermediate schools, including charter schools, statewide, reaching thousands of students. Funds have helped to provide robotics programs; hula, ukulele, music and other dance lessons; basketball, soccer, wrestling and other sports; cooking, fishing, art, and hydroponics; and many other clubs and programs. Participating students have shown improved attendance, attitude, behavior and even grades.

Additionally, I was excited to have taken the reigns of the Farm to School Initiative, which we have developed into the “‘Aina Pono: Hawai‘i’s Farm to Cafeteria Initiative,” to increase the purchase and consumption of local food in our school cafeterias. With an enthusiastic team of advisors and ‘doers,’ along with support from the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, private partners such as The Kohala Center, and many other generous donors, a burgeoning pilot project was launched to infuse local foods and flavors into our school menus, while providing healthier options for our keiki. As the project continues to grow and expand throughout the State, the effects will have a lasting impact on our keiki, the agriculture industry, and the state’s procurement processes.

Throughout my time in office, it has been an absolute pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet so many talented and inspiring individuals. I have witnessed firsthand the many hardworking families who fight traffic in their daily commutes, while holding down multiple jobs to provide a better life for their keiki; the bright, dedicated students who not only excel in Hawaiʻi but can also compete with their counterparts nationally; and the small businesses and farms using innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to revitalize family businesses. You have all inspired me and helped to make me a better person and leader. I will cherish these experiences and lessons and carry them with me throughout my life.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the people of Hawaiʻi for the opportunity to have served you all these years. Truly, I have been blessed with the support of so many individuals, family and friends. I especially thank my incredible family—my wife, children, parents and extended ohana for their tremendous love, support and many sacrifices over the years. I would like to thank Governor Ige for the privilege of serving in his Administration. To Neil and Nancy, Lyndelle and I thank you for your friendship and kindness and the love you have shared with our daughters. I also send my aloha to my former colleagues in the Legislature and the tens of thousands of public employees throughout the State for their hard work and dedication to the people of Hawaiʻi. Finally, a big mahalo to my staff and security for your unwavering devotion and enduring commitment to the office and to helping me best serve the people of the State. Your hard work did not go unnoticed, and I will be forever grateful to each of you.

In his remarks commemorating the 75th Pearl Harbor anniversary, President Barack Obama noted, ‘we cannot choose the history that we inherit. But we can choose what lessons to draw from it, and use those lessons to chart our own futures.’ Accordingly, it’s my hope that we will continue to acknowledge the rich history of our State, and remain grateful for the contributions and sacrifices of generations past; that we will explore new ways to invest in our residents, businesses, and communities to make them more sustainable, competitive, and economically robust. And as I leave public service, I look forward to continuing to be a part of Hawaiʻi’s future and helping to forge a new path that honors our shared beliefs and my continued commitment to improving the lives of the people of Hawaiʻi.”

Strategies 360 is a Seattle-based company with offices in 12 Western states and Washington, D.C. The company offers targeted public affairs, strategic communications and research services to position its clients for success.

Gov. David Y. Ige made the following statement on the resignation of Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui:

“It is with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that I learned of Shan’s decision to step down from his position as lieutenant governor. He has dedicated the last 15 years to serving the people of Hawai‘i. As lieutenant governor he has worked tirelessly on Aloha Stadium and the Farm to School Initiative in our effort to boost local food production in our state. I also applaud Shan’s effort to support after-school programs in our public schools. I wish Shan and his family the very best always.”

Lt. Gov. Tsutsui to Lead New Sports Development Initiative

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today appointed Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui to spearhead the state’s Sports Development Initiative, which aims to coordinate efforts throughout Hawaii to build a thriving sports industry.

Shan Appointed

“This initiative will help to expand sports entertainment and participation opportunities in Hawaii, while also strengthening our visitor economy – particularly during the shoulder seasons when visitor arrivals are less robust,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “With Shan at the helm, we hope to take advantage of each island’s unique characteristics and bring athletic events that fit into their individual environments.”

While collaborating with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, University of Hawaii System, Stadium Authority, and private sports organizations, the initiative will identify, promote and engage opportunities to establish Hawaii as a premier sports destination for professional, amateur and youth athletics. The improvement of current facilities and development of world-class, state-of-the-art venues are also part of the initiative, intended to attract sporting events and athletic training opportunities not only on Oahu but throughout the state.

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In addition to positive media exposure and awareness, professional sporting events have contributed well over $100 million to the state’s economy each year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“With this Sports Development Initiative, we have the opportunity to diversify our visitor industry and generate more revenue for our state,” Lt. Gov. Tsutsui said. “Everyone can benefit from this initiative – from keiki to kupuna. They will be able to either participate in or attend a variety of sporting events.”

“With this Sports Development Initiative, we have the opportunity to diversify our visitor industry and generate more revenue for our state,” Lt. Gov. Tsutsui said. “Everyone can benefit from this initiative – from keiki to kupuna. They will be able to either participate in or attend a variety of sporting events.”

Through this initiative, community involvement and outreach will expand with more mentoring, camps and clinics to develop young athletes using unique concepts, utilizing teams, players and participants. It will also encourage active lifestyles and improve the health of keiki and adults

 

Lieutenant Governor Tsutsui’s New Hawaii Intermediate/Middle School Challenge Initiative

At a press conference held at 10:00 a.m. today, Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui announced his plan to develop a new initiative geared towards enhancing the learning experience of intermediate and middle school students throughout the State.

“The Hawaii Intermediate/Middle School Challenge will endeavor to provide a comprehensive social and educational foundation that will enrich the lives of intermediate/middle school students throughout the State through exposure to a broad base of programs and activities, outside of regular instructional hours,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “The scope of the program will span academic enrichment, arts and culture, and sports and will be designed to help prepare the students for high school, college, the workforce, their communities and beyond.”

Lt. Governor Tsutsui at the press Conference

Lt. Governor Tsutsui at the press Conference

Studies indicate that students between the grades of 6th and 8th are often left on their own during the hours immediately following the conclusion of school.  Furthermore, studies also show that crimes committed by or against juveniles occur with greater frequency on schools days and roughly between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Efforts to increase or improve school attendance, behavior and coursework have proved key indicators in whether a middle school student will graduate.  Keeping our keiki engaged in school and positive activities that will enhance their learning experience will help them succeed in school and in life.

“The Hawaii State Department of Education welcomes opportunities to work with community partners to provide enrichment activities for our middle-school students,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii State Department of Education.   “This is a significant time in a young person’s life, and initiatives such as this help our keiki stay in school and succeed.”

Effective and positive after-school programs provide not only an educational benefit to students but also a social value to the overall community by reducing juvenile crime.  The State has long focused on providing after-school programs to our State’s elementary and high school students; however, successful programs for intermediate/middle school students have been sporadic and decentralized.  In October 2012, the Department of Education (DOE) introduced the Intermediate Athletics Pilot program, to be piloted in the Zones of School Innovation (ZSI) in the Nanakuli-Waianae complex, and the Kau-Keaau-Pahoa complex on Hawaii Island.  Through partnership with generous community donors, the DOE introduced several sports for boys and girls last fall to several campuses.  All intermediate school athletes are required to maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) to participate.

While programs like these will make a difference in the lives of our students, because there is currently no comprehensive program to provide intermediate/middle schools with the support and guidance to implement these effective and positive after-school programs statewide, the Hawaii Intermediate/Middle School Challenge will work with the organizations currently utilizing successful platforms at the various intermediate/middle schools throughout the State, with the goal of bringing these programs under one umbrella organizational structure.

Board of Education member Keith Amemiya, Washington Middle School All-Stars member Macey Honjiyo, and Supt. Kathryn Matayoshi.

Board of Education member Keith Amemiya, Washington Middle School All-Stars member Macey Honjiyo, and Supt. Kathryn Matayoshi.

Hawaii Intermediate/Middle School Challenge will start immediately after-school and is intended to be a comprehensive and structured statewide program to fill the gap of youth activities available to students between the 6th and 8th grade.  Programs offered will be from three general categories—academic enrichment, arts and culture, and sports.  Currently, the majority of existing intermediate/middle school programs is supported by unpredictable federal funding, a more reliable source of funding would provide greater stability for the programs, as well as greater participation.  Accordingly, using a community based approach the program will seek to utilize available federal and state funds, while also partnering with the schools, parents and the private sector to provide funding and resources to facilitate the program’s success.   The partnership with these stakeholders will ensure that the after-school programs will be well established in their respective communities and will likely be financially viable for the long-term.

Program goals include:
·        Continuing the Department of Education’s vision of utilizing a school-community network approach to engage community-wide support and responsibility for our intermediate/middle school students’ education, health and well-being.
·        Providing students at all intermediate/middle schools within the State, the opportunity to participate in before- or after-school programs that will enrich and encourage student growth in academics, personal responsibility and maturity, creativity and the development of social skills.
·        Reducing the number of student dropouts by providing a seamless transition of after-school programs that promote student participation in school related functions from elementary through high school.
·        Providing health, fitness, educational and social enrichment opportunities to intermediate/middle school students.

50 Schools to Receive Excellence in Wellness Awards

Lt. Gov. Shan S. Tsutsui and the Hawaii Departments of Health (DOH) and Education DOE) together announced the state’s inaugural Excellence in Wellness Awards for Hawaii schools that have reached high levels of achievement in meeting DOE Wellness Guidelines.

DOE Release

Eight windward schools were the first to receive their awards, presented yesterday at the annual Windward District Fitness Meet at Castle High School.  Each school scored 90 percent or above on the state’s Safety and Wellness Survey in school year 2011-12.

“I commend these and other Hawaii schools for taking the important steps toward improving the health and wellness of our keiki,” said Lt. Gov. Tsutsui. “The Wellness Guidelines play a critical role in helping our students to be healthy and ready to learn. By setting standards for food and beverages provided to students, as well as goals for health

and physical education along with activities that promote a healthy environment, we are setting our children on a path to making healthier choices as adults.”

Windward schools honored today were Ahuimanu, Benjamin Parker, Heeia, Kaneohe, Kapunahala, Keolu, Laie, and Blanche Pope Elementary Schools. A total of 50 schools statewide will receive awards at local ceremonies in the coming weeks.

“Schools play an integral role in promoting student health through education, good nutrition, and other school-based activities that lend to achievement and learning,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

Hawaii’s public schools have direct contact with more than 80 percent of the state’s children ages 5-17. By promoting regular physical activity and offering nutritious foods, schools are ideal locations to nourish children’s minds and bodies.”

“The Excellence in Wellness Awards demonstrate the success of DOE-DOH partnership in creating healthy school environments that support student and staff well-being,” said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “We will continue to work closely with schools to sustain high standards for health education and create healthier learning environments.”

All 50 schools will be eligible to apply for DOH grant funds up to $8,000 per school to support implementation of Wellness Guidelines in school year 2013-14. A total of $160,000 will be available to be divided and awarded between the best qualified applicants. More information about the DOH funding opportunity will be released soon.

The DOE Wellness Guidelines include standards for foods and beverages provided to students, as well as goals for health education, physical education, and other activities that support a healthy school environment. All public (non-charter) schools are expected to comply. The Safety and Wellness Survey (SAWS), an annual online survey jointly administered by the DOH and the DOE to public school principals statewide, is used to monitor implementation of the Guidelines. The Windward District Fitness Meet is an annual event that demonstrates Windward District schools’ commitment to wellness. Through out the school year, students have been preparing for the Fitness Meet in their Physical Education class. Physical Education is an essential component of the DOE Wellness Guidelines and helps students reach the recommended amount of physical activity.

For more information on the Wellness Guidelines, see the HIDOE Wellness Guidelines Toolkit at: http://doe.k12.hi.us/foodservice/toolkit/index.htm