Parties debate Obama's early term report card for Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Parties debate Obama's early term report card for Hawaii

Brian Schatz Brian Schatz
Adam Deguire Adam Deguire

By Duane Shimogawa bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's been three months since Obama took the oath of office. While he has faced many national issues, local leaders focus on what he's done for Hawaii.

Hawaii Democratic leaders say he's accomplished a lot for the Aloha State in that short amount of time. But Republicans disagree.

Recently released numbers show unemployment in Hawaii is the highest it's been for more than three decades.

Hawaii Democratic Party chair Brian Schatz says Obama's economic plan will tackle this issue head on.

"The Medicaid money and the Department of Education money that's coming in is gonna help stabilize the state budget and help to prevent serious cuts in services," Schatz said.

Additionally, the Federal Stimulus Bill increases unemployment benefits by $25 per week.

It's estimated that $600,000 will be pumped into the state's economy each week.

"The feds are gonna come in with help for ports, with roads, with hospitals, with schools, these are all very needed projects in the first place, but they're even more critical now that construction spending on the private side is almost to a halt," Schatz said.

The Democrats say Obama has done a terrific job in his first three months in office, but the Republican Party paints a very different picture.

"So far in the 12 weeks, we've seen fiscal irresponsibility, we've seen taxes being raised, cigarette taxes, first time in 15 years, we've raised a federal tax," Hawaii Republican Party executive director Adam Deguire said. "Thirdly, the spirit of bi-partisanship that he's promised has been abandoned."

The state has created a Web site, www.hawaii.gov/recovery, to show, project by project, how your taxpayer dollars will be spent to stimulate the state's economy.

"Together parties can work and we can bring forth some solutions to some of our challenging problems," Deguire said.

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