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Ige reflects on productive Washington visit


Gov. David Ige held a news conference to provide information about his participation late last month in the National Governors Association Winter Meeting and his meetings with various federal officials and business leaders in Washington, D.C.

“Meeting with the other governors was a valuable experience,” said Ige. “We were able to discuss issues affecting the states and share best practices that lead to innovative solutions.”

Ige was part of a panel discussion on Homeland Security and Public Safety where the focus was on Congressional action related to funding the Department of Homeland Security.

“Funding for the Department of Homeland Security was a priority for all of the governors,” said Ige. “If the funding is not approved, much of the work will continue at great personal cost to the frontline personnel would have to report for duty without being paid. In addition, a lapse in funding will have a real impact on FEMA’s ability to ensure that a wide range of emergency personnel have the resources they need to do their jobs and keep our communities safer and more secure.”

The governors conducted two formal working sessions with President Obama and had dinner at the White House. Ige also attended a signing ceremony with members of Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation and representatives of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and the Japanese American Citizens League.

“Visiting the White House and meeting with President Obama, not once but several times, was a highlight,” said Ige. “It was an honor and a privilege to be part of the Oval Office signing ceremony designating the Honouliuli Camp a National Historic Monument.”

Summary of Ige’s Meetings with Federal Officials and Business Leaders

* John McHugh
Secretary of the Army
Ige reiterated his support for the Military, which is a significant part of Hawaii’s community and economy.

* Anthony Foxx
Secretary of Transportation
Ige assured the Secretary that the State will do a better job of using federal funds in a timely fashion in order to maximize the receipt of federal transportation dollars. Also discussed ease of access for international visitors via Kona Airport and a preclearance program.

* Sally Jewell
Secretary of the Interior
Discussion centered on the state’s critical partnership with the Department of Interior, especially for the protection of natural and cultural resources and support for Native Hawaiian issues. It is clear that Hawaii’s homeless program is aligned with federal initiatives.

* Julian Castro
Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Discussed ways to maximize federal dollars for housing in Hawaii with an emphasis on creating more rental housing and affordable housing options and improving and developing public housing throughout the state.

* Andrew Slavitt
Principal Deputy Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
CMS understands that all the states have faced challenges in the implementation of their state-based insurance exchanges. CMS is committed to supporting Hawaii in achieving success with its state based insurance exchange.

* Patrick Kennedy
Foreign Service Officer, U.S. State Department, Under Secretary of State for Management
Ige discussed and expressed his support for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) 2016. Personally invited President Obama to deliver the keynote address.

* Kevin McAleenan
Deputy Commissioner, Customs and Boarder Protection
Conveyed support for the expansion of the Kona International Airport as a second international port of entry into Hawaii. Highlighted support for Hawaiian Airline’s proposed route to Japan and for the preclearance program.

* Gina McCarthy, Administrator U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Mark Rupp, Deputy Associate Administrator
Discussed Hawaii’s position as national leader in renewable energy. Administration will be working with the states to advance the President’s Clean Power Plan and sees Hawaii is a model for other states.

* Curt Kolcun, VP Microsoft US Public Sector
Jonathan Mantz, BGR Principal
Discussed ways to accelerate State’s move to paperless work environment.

* Bill Hansen
CEO, USA Funds
Spoke about a dedicated pool of money to be used in Hawaii to encourage kids to go to college and get onto a career path. Also discussed potential partnership opportunities.

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