Less than sixty days into his first term as governor, David Ige spoke openly about the challenges facing Hawaii's future, particularly those involving the state's economy, in his first 'State of the State' address Monday morning.
Using 'home' as a recurring theme, referring to what Hawaii means most to he and his cabinet members, Ige says that a solid foundation for Hawaii's future begins with financial balance.
"We are spending more than we take in," Governor Ige said. "We need to focus our available resources on strategic investments that grow our economy."
Ige says improvements to the state's tax system, along with strategic requests for federal projects and an aggressive spending overhaul, are likely to help. But change, Ige says, has to start from within his own administration.
"We need to invest in our employees and ask them what changes can be made to improve services and reduce costs," Governor Ige said. "And we need to support them when we make those changes."
Ige also addressed change as it pertains to the landscape of Hawaii's housing market, referring specifically to projects across West Oahu, including Honolulu's rail transit development.
"Rail can be the driver to help us build future communities on Oahu," Governor Ige said.
Governor Ige's administration will have a significant role in the development of those future communities, as the State of Hawaii is the largest owner of parcels along the rail transit line.
The Governor also voiced a commitment to keeping U.S. military members and their families in Hawaii.
"The military plays a significant part in our economy, spending more than $6.5 billion annually," Governor Ige said. "We will need to be proactive and aggressive in our efforts to support our troops here."
For continuing coverage of Governor David Ige's inaugural State of the State address, tune in to Hawaii News Now beginning at 5 p.m. on KGMB and KHNL.