Funding for veterans should come from Feds, says Mark Takai - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Funding for veterans should come from Feds, says Mark Takai

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A veteran himself who served in Iraq, Democratic congressional candidate Mark Takai says the federal government needs to provide more funds to provide adequate services to veterans.

Hawaii State Rep. Takai (D-Aiea) who has served nearly two decades as a member of the state House of Representatives, and currently serves as the chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, noted that there is still a long way to go to improve services. 

"We have done everything I believe that we can to help the vets from our level but the VA issue is really a federal one and if I get elected and go to Congress, that is definitely going to be one of the areas that we're going to have to focus on," he said. 

When Hawaii News Now's Keahi Tucker asked him if he was aware of the extent of the wait times and backlogs here, he said: "Absolutely not. The reports that came out said maybe 30 days -- that's reasonable -- but 145 days is very objectionable and we need to address that."

Takai spoke about the importance of supporting the military on the federal level and added that it is even more critical here as Hawaii is "the pivot to the Pacific."

On the conflict in Iraq, he said the President should consult with Congress before making any actions. "I don't think that's our war," he said. "I don't support going back into Iraq to fight their fight."

Takai also talked about sustainable energy on the islands.

"I believe the future of Hawaii rests with sustainability. My wife and I have an electric car -- we have photovoltaic panels and we teach our kids to conserve electricity whenever we can. 

"But bigger than that, Hawaii is so dependent on foreign fossil fuels and the quicker we can get off of that dependency the better it is for us. And I believe that both the state and the federal government can play a big role in weaning ourselves off of foreign fossil fuels."

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