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.

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