As he marks 100 days in office, Gov. Josh Green points to progress and acknowledges stumbles

Legislative leaders give Green A for taking on tough issues -but offer an "E for effort" or an "I for incomplete" in terms of actual accomplishment
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:49 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 5:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The first 100 days. It’s a traditional milestone for new office holders, as it was Wednesday for Gov. Josh Green. A chance to point to progress on major issues and the challenges ahead.

One way to evaluate any new administration is to look back at the campaign’s promises.

“I’m happy to be judged on anything,” Green said, during an interview with Hawaii News Now. “During a campaign, you do all that you can to absorb what people share as the top priorities.”

Gov. Josh Green says that some projects will take time to be completed.

Legislative leaders told Hawaii News Now they give Green an “A” grade for taking on tough issues, but offer “E for effort” or “I for incomplete” in terms of actual accomplishments.

Green agrees the evaluation is fair.

“Totally,” he said. “First of all, we’re 100 days in and a lot of these projects are going to take a long time.”

But Green’s overall campaign theme was that he could speedily solve chronic issues. On Wednesday, he repeatedly cited the emergency proclamation on homelessness he signed during his State of the State address.

But what he promised during the campaign was an emergency declaration to build affordable housing.

“That looks like May,” the governor said. “So, we are in our third draft.”

He added, “We have to be very careful, because we want to honor and respect issues like kupuna iwi, the environmental protection that is already built into our land use rules.”

Meanwhile, halfway through the legislative session, his pledge to repeal the excise tax on food and drugs is dead (he points out that some excise tax relief is still alive in other tax bills targeting lower income taxpayers).

His fee on every tourist is watered down to a park visitation fee.

And His support for legalizing recreational marijuana for adults and for paid family leave ran into opposition from his own appointees.

HNN asked what he expects of his department heads in terms of staying loyal to his pledges.

“My instruction to them is use your mind; give people the best advice that you can,” Green said, in the one-on-one interview. “I do not micromanage or try to dominate my own cabinet.”

Green and legislative leaders are meeting at least weekly, which led to agreements on how to proceed with new stadium construction and tourism marketing and management contracts.

He said their relationship and communication should also bring long-term success.

Asked what lesson he’s learned from his first 100 days he said: “I knew all this stuff beforehand. The lesson is that it takes a while to change the way people approach things.”