Maui News

Hawaii’s Senators Weigh in on State of the Union

February 13, 2013, 10:58 AM HST
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Hawaii Senators with a unique vantage point of today's festivities

Hawaii Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono.  File photo of presidential inaugural events 2013, courtesy Office of US Sen. Brian Schatz.  Both provided comments following the President’s State of the Union address. 

By Wendy Osher

In response last night’s State of the Union address, Hawai`i’s US Senators, both of them Democrats, responded with positive feedback.

Senator Brian Schatz praised President Obama for what he called a “clear plan to strengthen our middle-class” and his commitment to a “clean energy economy.”  He said the President’s plan will help middle-class families grow and prosper once again.

“While we’ve made progress to get our economy back on track, the President’s commitment to a thriving clean energy economy ensures that we will get people back to work and continue to address climate change, the most urgent challenge of our generation,” said Sen. Schatz.

“I look forward to working with the President and the Hawai`i delegation to craft policies that create good-paying jobs across the country and to ensure that Hawai`i continues to establish itself as a leader in clean energy both nationally and internationally,” said Sen. Schatz.

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Meantime, US Senator Mazie K. Hirono said the president laid out a “strong and compelling course” for Hawai`i and the country.

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“He was right to focus on the economy and jobs. Our economy is still trying to recover from a deep recession, and we should do everything we can to create sustainable economic growth,” said Sen. Hirono.

“In the near term, that means averting sequestration — the indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts that are projected to cost Hawai`i some 11,000 jobs. Averting these cuts before March 1 is not just an economic necessity; it’s a matter of national security,” she said.

Sen. Hirono said top military officers warned colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee that these cuts would impact the military’s readiness, including in the increasingly important Asia-Pacific region.

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“I applaud the far-sighted plan the President laid out for broad-based economic growth that creates dependable jobs and expands opportunities for everyone, not just those at the very top of society,” said Hirono.

She continued saying, “As the President mentioned in his speech, expanding access to early childhood education is one of the smartest things we can do as a nation to ensure our economic future.”

“The President charted a clear course tonight for Hawaii and our country, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to see his ideas through,” said Hirono.

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