AGENDA FOR A BETTER HAWAI‘I, COUNTRY AND WORLD
Our country faces challenging times. These arise from both worsening dysfunctional government and the uncertainties of a rapidly changing world. Not just our country but our Hawai’i and world depend on our overcoming these challenges.
Our Congress is at the center of both those challenges and their solutions. I know from my prior service that it’s impossible to describe or anticipate every challenge or solution. But I also know that we must prioritize and act on what we know we face now and believe we will face later.
Every leader should have an agenda to address these challenges and built on a foundation of core beliefs to carry it out. Here are the beliefs and agenda I would take back to Congress:
Ours is the greatest country. Not just our founding principles, but our history and our continued promise. Our fine balance of democratic majority rule and the freedom to think and be different. Our inclusion of new peoples and cultures. It’s not always easy being an American: we do make mistakes, we sometimes get out of balance, our path to a better future is rarely straight. But our foundations are sound, we can and do self-correct, and we have bettered our world, often at great sacrifice. If and as we stay true to our principles and heritage, we will prevail in all we face.
We do have a very special and unique home. “Lucky you live Hawai‘i” is not just a saying; it’s a way of life, admired and envied everywhere. But it can’t be taken for granted; it must be protected and nurtured always, from our natural environment to our pan-ethnic culture and beyond.
To truly serve one’s fellow citizens, as JFK called on us to do, as do ministers, or teachers, or those in uniform, or so many others. Not for personal gain, but because it helps others and gives meaning to life. And because, as one to whom much has been given, much is in fact expected.
It is, after all, no more or less than our agreement to act together toward our common good. Yes, many of us feel unrepresented and burdened today. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t bettered ourselves and our world through our government, for we have. Our task is not to reject but to improve it.
The Limits of Government
It neither can nor should do everything, any more than we can or should solve all our world’s challenges. Individual and private enterprise and contribution still ultimately drive our advancement, and must be sustained to do what they do best. Our goal is always to decide what should be left to government and then make sure it does it well.
When we exclude, through overly partisan politics or special interest control or rejection of differing perspectives, we divide, and decisions are not accepted as the common will. But if and as we feel included in, connected with, our government, as our representatives communicate openly with us and account for our views and needs in their decisions, as we always reach out to help those among us in need, so are we stronger and wiser together, vested in our collective choices.
Ours is a group effort, helping those of us in need, picking each other up, the whole more than the sum of its parts. It’s all of us, in our own personal and work lives, working together and with our government, and vice versa. And it’s our elected officials working with each other, regardless of party or belief or interest, toward win-win solutions. Not that we’ll always agree with each other, because we shouldn’t and won’t. And not that it won’t sometimes come down to a vote, because it will and must. But effort must always made to find common ground, no view should be disrespected, and where we disagree, we should do so agreeably and move on together as fellow citizens to the next challenge.
Hard Work & Perseverance
So true in life, indispensable in the pressure cooker of national office.
The responsibility and obligation of every elected official to make the best decisions possible for us all. To face our mutual challenges realistically and squarely, identify the options and consequences of each, consult with those we represent, consider our own experience and judgment, make the decision, explain it, and be accountable for it. And, in doing so, to look always not just to today, but to the next generations.
A Better Way Forward
In change. Not just any change, not to our foundations, nor just for the sake of change, and not that change isn’t often discomforting or that it shouldn’t be approached with caution. But change that recharges, offers new opportunities, different approaches, other solutions, fresh starts, unavoidable adjustments to a changing world in a changing time. Change as a part of life and of our country’s own heritage, as directing our destiny rather than reacting. I believe that there’s always a better way forward and that we can and will find it if only we seek it out and forge it.
Break Partisan Gridlock
We must forge a new way of governance that rejects pure partisan politics and incorporates our best ideas regardless of origin.
- Reach across the aisle for broad inclusion
- Act and vote for people and not party first
- Reject culture of no regardless of party
- Participate in Outside-The-Beltway efforts to reform Washington
Secure Our Homeland
We must provide for our common defense against the reality of terrorism and international uncertainty.
- Continue terrorism prevention efforts both internally, at our borders and overseas
- Maintain a strong military and take care of our troops both in the field and at home
- Strengthen our intelligence capabilities and continue needed reforms
- Support our allies and friends especially in the Asia-Pacific
Lead Our World
We must work within our global community toward worldwide peace and prosperity.
- Continue policy of constructive engagement with rest of world especially Asia
- Work to fulfill the promise of the United Nations
- Work with other countries to address problem states such as North Korea and Iran
- Continue international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts
Invest In Our Future
We must provide the foundation and tools today with which our next generations can succeed.
- Support expanded legal immigration
- Support healthy families initiatives
- Support fair accessibility to higher education through affordable student loan programs
- Address today’s problems today and without handing them off to our children
Fulfill Our Promises
We must preserve and strengthen Social Security and Medicare and fulfill our commitments to our veterans and others.
- Lockbox Social Security trust funds and kick habit of spending them for non-SS purposes
- Amend unfair Medicare reimbursement formula as applied to Hawai‘i
- Fully fund all veterans health, education, housing and other entitlement programs
- Support continued affordable pension guaranty programs
Care For Ourselves
We must assure available healthcare and help our fellow citizens in need.
- Continue/improve national health care reforms
- Continue welfare reform efforts of past decades
- Focus federal health care efforts in Hawai‘i on Hawai‘i-specific needs e.g. disproportionate ethnic illnesses
- Support community health centers, telemedicine and other health care components of greater utility in island state
Protect Our World
We must preserve and protect our natural heritage for future generations.
- Join other nations of the world in climate change convention.
- Enhance programs and funding targeting environmental protection.
- Protect/expand national park and reserve system
- Focus on our world’s oceans
Strengthen Our Country
We must include all Americans in our national decisionmaking and demand integrity and honesty in our governance.
- Continue Talk Story with Congressman Ed Case open community meetings throughout district
- Continue to push envelope on interactive e-communications with constituents
- Reform ethics laws to break tie between insider lobbying and decisionmaking
- Reform campaign contribution laws to eliminate dark money
Cherish Our Country
We must keep alive, strengthen and hand down to the next generations the foundations and values of our great nation.
- Defend our Constitution
- Defend civil rights and basic freedoms
- Fulfill my constitutional duties as a member of a separate, independent and coequal branch of government
- Educate fellow citizens especially our youth on our government and system
Perpetuate Our Hawai‘i
We must preserve the soul of our special home and pass it on.
- Support federal health, education, business, cultural and other programs targeted to our Native Hawaiian community
- Maximize federal assistance to Hawai‘i-specific environmental protection efforts
- Reject one-size-fits-all federal programs without full appreciation and accommodation of our ethnic, cultural and place of origin diversity
I welcome your own agenda and questions at [email protected].
Case for Congress
PO Box 2941
Honolulu, HI 96802
Days Until General