Hawaii hosting first fundraiser for Obama library - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii hosting first fundraiser for Obama library

POTUS Barack Obama POTUS Barack Obama
Proposed Kakaako site for a Presidental Library Proposed Kakaako site for a Presidental Library
AJ Halagao AJ Halagao
Robert Perkinson Robert Perkinson
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

President Obama hasn't started his second term yet but plans are well underway for what to do after he leaves office.

President Obama is somewhat unique for a President because he calls two states home, Hawaii and Illinois.  Both also want a stake in his presidential library and both could get it.

There's no doubt Hawaii is a special place to the President.  But is it special enough to have his Presidential Center, the place where he would build his library, museum, public policy center, and overall base of operation for after his time in office?

"We still have a lot of work to do but I do like our chances and we have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the President and his team," said AJ Halagao, Chair, Hawaii Presidential Center Inaugural Gala.

Beyond the golf and shave ice which we know the President likes Hawaii is also the gateway to Asia and a place to get work done.  The state already has an eight acre $75 million piece of land in Kakaako in mind.

"We're setting aside the land.  We're priming the University and various institutions to be ready to partner with him when he's ready to begin the formal process," said Robert Perkinson, University of Hawaii Professor and Obama Presidential Center Initiative Project Director. "It's a place he can recuperate and rest and recreate but it's also a place where he can carry on important work."

Talks actually began right after the President took office four years ago.  Now before he is sworn in for his second term Hawaii is throwing a Presidential Center Inaugural Gala.  It's the first fundraiser to raise money to create a professional proposal to show the President and help point out Chicago doesn't have views like this although Hawaii folks are downplaying the competition.

"We don't think we'll be competing with Chicago we actually think we'll have an opportunity to collaborate with Chicago and we hope there might be an opportunity to have two centers for the president," said Halagao. "One in Chicago where he's made his political home and one in Hawaii where he was born."

"We're bidding for and we actually think Hawaii would be a perfect place to locate everything so that's also an option," said Prof. Perkinson.

Interest in the second inauguration isn't quite as high as the first.  There are still about 50 tickets left at $400 per person for the Hawaii Presidential Center Inaugural Gala.

If it is built in Hawaii there is expected to be a huge economic impact.  President Bill Clinton's center in Arkansas gets 300,000 visitors a year and created $1.5 billion since it opened in 2005.

"We actually think (President Obama's) will be the most visited Presidential center and we think it will be a huge economic boon for Honolulu and the rest of Hawaii," said Halagao.

President Obama will ultimately decide where the center will be. A decision is expected toward the end of his term.

For information regarding the Hawaii Presidential Center Inaugural Gala click here.


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