Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kohala Okinawa Kenjin Kai

Mark recently participated in the Kohala Okinawa Kenjin Kai New Years Party and presented House Certificates to all senior members.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gong Xi Fa Ca!

"Wishing you prosperity" is the traditional Chinese New Year Greeting in Mandarin.  2012 is the Year of the Male Water Dragon, the 29th of the Stem-Branch in the system.  Because water is connected to Black in the five element system, Year 2012 is also called the Black Dragon Year.

The Dragon, the fifth animal in the cycle follows the Year of the Rabbit.  While the Year of the Rabbit was characterized by calm and tranquility, the Year of the Dragon will be marked by excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity.
The Rabbit imbues people with the sense of cautious optimism, but people respond to the spirit of the Dragon with energy, vitality, and unbridled enthusiasm, often throwing all caution to the wind - which can be an unwise move:  The Dragon is all about drama, but if you take unnecessary risks, you may find yourself starring in your own personal tragedy.

Mark feeds the Lion for Wishes of Good Luck in 2012!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Opening Day Visitors

University of Hawaii at Hilo Student Senators make their annual visit to Big Island
Legislators to promote their legislative priorities.  This year, the College of Pharmacy
permanent facilities is the number one need.
Friends from ILWU Hawaii Division drop in to say "hello."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 Legislative Session Opens

2012 Session of the 26th Legislature convened on Wednesday, January 18, 2012
For the first time since my election in 2008, I enter a legislative session that is not charged with identifying hundreds of millions of dollars to balance the budget.  While we are by no means out of the woods, it is a sign that prudent economic policy enacted by the legislature in the past several sessions has had the desired effect of strengthening our economy and allowing for the state and it's people to weather the unprecedented financial crisis brought about by unbridled economic greed and catastrophic natural disaster.

This year, my legislative priorities include the promotion of sustainable agriculture by promoting the re-establishment of the Future Farmers of American (FFA) Program in the public schools.  At one time, the FFA had 20 chapters statewide and involved over 2000 students.  Today, there are eight chapters and less than 300 students involved.  I believe that this is a reflection in large part of the Hawaii Department of Education's priorities places on "passing the test" as opposed to providing students with a well rounded educational program.

To get around this problem, I am proposing the creation of a Center for Agricultural Leadership at the University of Hawaii that will provide support to the DOE and the Future Farmers of America program so that we will start "growing the farmers" that will be needed if we are to obtain agricultural self-sufficiency.