Ige talks about legislation, Coco Palms
w Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part story with Governor David Ige.
The Garden Island met Governor David Ige last week on a Zoom call, and he was told all questions were asked, but we only had 20 minutes with him.
Press Freedom: Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), Introduced new legislation to protect journalists and promote press freedom around the world. What are your thoughts on this?
I think freedom of the press is really, really important. I mean, it’s a foundation of democracy, and it’s been such an important part of government and elected officials throughout our history. So I continue to believe in it. I think one of the challenges today is that everyone has a megaphone and anyone can be a journalist, right?
I mean, technology allows anyone to be a blogger and to be able to post them. I think one of the challenges is really to identify real journalists, websites or news sites that fully embrace the whole notion of impartial and impartial reporting, which is the foundation of journalism.
Against only bloggers and those who are biased and report on the activities that are going on. And I think that’s one of the biggest challenges of that time. With social media being so widely available everyone has a megaphone, being able to identify those who can provide balanced and unbiased reporting from those with an agenda is becoming increasingly difficult for the general public.
The Legislative Branch: Do you have any regrets about the legislative session?
I still continue to work to serve the general public, you know, and I admit that we have disagreements from time to time. But you know, I’m engaged. I understand the role of the Legislative Assembly. They set the policy. Even in areas where they overrode my veto. As governor, I am now required to apply the law. We are committed to doing this in the best possible way to serve the public.
Education: Teachers’ bonuses have been vetoed. If you could, would you give a bonus to our hard working teachers?
I know that many officials in our state and county governments have really taken a step forward during this pandemic. Many worked overtime without being paid.
I think officials understand that during this crisis the demand for government services is really higher than others. So I watched the teachers get bonuses with all the public servants who really took the challenge.
I wish we were in a better financial position, then we could consider that. But we’re going to look at all the public servants and try to see what the state can afford, although I know a lot of them have really delivered services beyond expectations.
Historic Places: Coco Plans is about to be auctioned. However, with climate change and water erosion happening over there near the highway, what do you think we should do with it?
I think this facility has really struggled for so many years, first devastated by the hurricane and then, not really being able to be cleaned and refurbished like so many other facilities. I hope that anyone who purchases the facilities can truly renovate them in a way that would add value to the Hawaiian community.
We need housing for residents and, that could be turned into affordable rentals, or if there are investors who want to reopen it as a hotel, that would provide jobs for the community.
I support anyone who acquires property by working with them to really examine what Kaua’i’s needs are. Hopefully we can make some progress, whether it’s affordable housing or homeless shelters or whatever the buyer might want to do. It is truly sad to see such an important asset wasted for so many years.
Becoming Personal: Why did you run for governor? What is your view of our state? Are we getting closer? And who is Governor David Ige?
For me, I focused on restoring faith and confidence in government, one of the reasons I ran for governor. I felt that too many decisions were made in the name of special interests rather than the public interest. And I made a commitment to truly remind myself that I am a public servant.
And I am committed to making decisions that benefit the general public, at all levels. And the second priority, or the second area of focus, is – I have three kids. And right now, they’re all working on the continent. I am committed to creating a thriving Hawai’i, right?
Ensuring that our young people have the career opportunities, the employment opportunities, are able to find and afford a home so that they can choose to call Hawaii home. It’s really important. And it touches a lot of priorities, a lot of things that we talked about.
The whole idea that people find that they can’t afford to live in a way that doesn’t allow them to have the career opportunities that they are passionate about. I am committed to creating a Hawai’i that the next generation can choose to call home and thrive.
Leadership Style: What is your leadership type? How do you stay calm?
I’m just a very collaborative person. I don’t see the point of creating drama or conflict. My parents kind of taught me that. If you don’t have anything good to say about someone, you shouldn’t say anything at all.
I don’t like to speak negatively or badly about people, even those with whom I don’t agree. I try to be respectful in disagreement, and I am always committed to doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. This is the kind of philosophy that drives my post as governor. It’s about serving the public and making decisions that benefit the public.
Stephanie Shinno, an education and business journalist, can be reached at 245-0424 or [email protected]