Hawaii’s Senate Ways and Means Committee Visits Puna

Today, as part of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means‘ (WAM) two day visit to Hawai’i Island, Senator Ruderman hosted the group on a tour of sites in Puna.

Puna Community Medical Center

Puna Community Medical Center

The Senators visited the Puna Community Medical Center, Pahoa Public Library, and Pohoiki Boat Ramp. The need for emergency medical facilities, a new library and safe swim area in Puna were discussed. The Senators also experienced the drive from Hilo to Pahoa along perilous State Highway 130 and visited the site of the proposed Pahoa roundabout.

Rene Siracusa (Far Right) explains how the center is funded and talks to the Senators about getting more funding

Rene Siracusa (Far Right) explains how the center is funded and talks to the Senators about getting more funding

The purview of this committee includes those programs relating to overall state financing policies, including revenue enhancement, taxation, other revenues, and cash and debt management; statewide implementation of planning, programming, budgeting and evaluation; and government structure and finance.

Senators got a tour of the facility

Senators got a tour of the facility

Leading the group is Chairman of the committee, Senator David Ige, and Vice Chair, Senator Michelle Kidani. Senate President, Donna Mercado Kim, also joined the WAM committee on this trip.

Senate WAM

The visits on Hawai’i Island included facility tours of State facilities and briefings to update the Senators on programs, projects, and concerns on Hawai`i Island.

Only one of the events, a community information briefing on Grant in Aid funding at Waimea Middle School cafeteria was open to the public.

The itinerary for their Hawai’i Island Site Visit was:

Tuesday, August 20

8:15am ‐ 8:45am Kona Airport
9:30am ‐ 11:15am Judiciary Courthouse
11:30am ‐ 12:45pm Kona Community Hospital
1:15pm ‐ 2:15pm Palamanui Community College
4:30pm ‐ 5:30pm Waimea Middle School
5:30pm ‐ 6:30pm Community Meeting Waimea Middle School

Wednesday, August 21

9:30am ‐ 10:00am Puna Community Medical Center
10:15am ‐ 10:45am Pahoa Public Library
11:00am ‐ 11:30am Pohoiki Swim Area and Boat Ramp Isaac Hale Park
1:00pm ‐ 1:45pm Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy Research Labs
2:00pm ‐ 2:45pm Hale Ala Honua, University of Hawai`i at Hilo
3:00pm ‐ 3:15pm Old Hilo Memorial Hospital
3:30pm ‐ 5:00pm University of Hawai`i at Hilo briefing

At the Pahoa Public Library, the committee was met by Branch Manager, Gaila Vidunas, who talked about the need for more parking and the fact that the facility was used by such a wide diverse group of folks.

WAM at Pahoa Public LibrarySenator Ruderman mentioned the fact that they are looking at the possibility of creating a Puna “Regional” Library somewhere in the Puna District but thoughts are just being tossed around at the moment.
Senate WAM at Pahoa Library
After leaving the library, the Senators then cruised down to Pohoiki Bay where they checked out the harbor and talked with local residents about how things could be improved in the area.

Senate WAM

(Left to Right) Sen. Laura Thielen, Sen. Michelle Kidani, Sen. J. Kalani English, Sen. Donna Mercado-Kim, Sen. David Ige, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, and Sen. Russell Ruderman

I reminded a couple of the Senators that this is where “Ulu Boy” got attacked by a shark a few days ago and they were kind of shocked to realize that!

Senators at Pohoiki

They were treated to a lunch down at Pohoiki by a local family and then after that they got into their cars and headed back into Hilo for the rest of their itinerary.

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.