Governor touches on accomplishments, wish list at in-person town hall

Green previously said he might call legislators back to the capitol for a special session to deal with unfinished business
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 10:10 PM HST|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 9:28 AM HST
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AIEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly six months into his term, Gov. Josh Green wanted to use his first in-person town hall appearance to highlight the progress that’s been made since he took office.

The gathering at Pearlridge Elementary School was hosted by Aiea and Pearl City lawmakers and was the first of its kind since the start of the pandemic.

But the public had to write down their questions on index cards to be read by the governor’s staff.

That upset opponents of House Bill 525, which is awaiting the governor’s signature — or veto.

“It’s the digital currency bill,” said some members of a small group of people at the end of the regular question and answer session. “Before you make a decision, we’d like another meeting on it.”

“What is that going to do? Are we not going to have cash anymore?” asked another opponent, who was concerned about having a government central bank digital currency.

“I’m sure we’re going to have cash,” Green replied. He added that there would be more meetings.

“One of the less dramatic moments was Green’s pitch for more tiny homes for the homeless, like the Kauhale that’s been built right next to the governor’s mansion.

“I thought it would be appropriate to do it next to my house and show that we are doing it, OK?” the governor said, drawing a round of applause from an audience of about a hundred.

He said he wants communities statewide to share the responsibility of hosting kauhale.

“Each community is different, and they’ll give me their input,” he said.

The governor also said he isn’t giving up on charging a $50 fee to visitors to help pay for environmental support.

“If we think about this, say just 20% of our tourists — that’s two million people — do this, we would have $100 million a year to help deal with the very, very heavy use of a lot of our places,” Green said.

The governor is also continuing to push for a new Aloha Stadium. Now that the legislature has appropriated up to nearly $400 million, the state will soon welcome proposals from developers.

Green also said he might call legislators back to the Capitol to deal with unfinished business but said he would wait for more input from lawmakers.

He also said there would be more in-person meetings around the state.