Press Releases


MEDIA ADVISORY – For immediate release
November 16, 2015

Senate Contact: Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Media Contact: Jill Kuramoto 808-586-6261

WHO: State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu)
State Senator Will Espero (Dist. 19 - ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages)
State Senator Clarence Nishihara (Dist. 17 - Waipahu, Crestview, Manana, Pearl City, Pacific Palisades)

WHAT: West O‘ahu Education Town Hall Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, December 1, 2015
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

WHERE: UH West O‘ahu Multi-Purpose Room
91-1001 Farrington Highway
Kapolei, HI 96707

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – All things education in West O‘ahu is what is on the agenda at the Town Hall meeting on December 1st from 7-9 p.m. in the UH West O‘ahu Multi-Purpose Room. Co-Sponsored by State Senators Mike Gabbard, Will Espero and Clarence Nishihara, the evening discussion will focus on the Ewa, Kapolei, and Waipahu communities and will include an update on public K-12 school facilities, including electrical upgrades and AC, planned new schools, and curriculum. Leaders from UH West O‘ahu will talk about the long range plans for the university, its innovative programs, and its role in serving the broader community.

Some of the invited speakers are:

• Suzanne Mulcahy, Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support – Department of Education
• Dann Carlson, Assistant Superintendent, Office of School Facilities and Support Services – Department of Education
• Kathy Wong-Nakamura, Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration – UH West O‘ahu
• Doris Ching, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs – UH West O‘ahu

The public is invited to attend the event that includes time for Q & A from the community.

PlantPure Nation Premieres on Oahu at State Capitol plus Additional Hawaii Screenings

HONOLULU -- July 24, 2015 – Senator Mike Gabbard and Transition O’ahu, are hosting the premiere screening of the documentary feature film, PLANTPURE NATION, on Tuesday, July 28 at the Hawai‘i State Capitol Auditorium and Thursday, July 30 at Kahala Theaters. Both Oahu showings are at 7pm. It will also play at Aloha Theater in Kainaliu on Hawai‘i Island on July 30. Tickets are at PLANTPURE NATION was written and directed by Nelson Campbell, son of Dr. T. Colin Campbell (Co-author, The China Study), the 95-minute film examines the political and economic factors that suppress information on the benefits of plant-based nutrition, while making the connections to larger issues such as medical practice, farming, and food deserts. The film’s story follows three people working to spread the word about one of the most important health breakthroughs of all time.

The filmmakers plan to use PLANTPURE NATION to create a broad grassroots movement across the nation. PLANTPURE NATION FOUNDATION, a nonprofit organization, will establish local chapters called PLANTPURE PODS in cities and towns across the United States and Canada. Members of these chapters will help to plant seeds of change around the message of plant-based nutrition in their communities. One tool they will use in this effort will be the same 10-day Jumpstart program featured in the film, which gives people the experience of a whole food, plant-based diet.

Senator Gabbard, Chair of the Water, Land & Agriculture Committee, will introduce the Capitol and Kahala Theater screenings. Having lived a plant-based lifestyle for over 40 years, Senator Gabbard feels the film’s time has come. “Transitioning to a plant-based diet has been shown to have immense health and environmental benefits,” said Gabbard, who has worked to promote a healthy diet, including introducing legislation to support plant-based school lunch options in public schools.

After the showings, the PLANTPURE PODS will be explained and information will be given on how people can participate in the local pod that will provide needed support in moving towards a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

PLANTPURE NATION was filmed across the USA and features Steve Forbes, Jr. (Editor-in-Chief Forbes Magazine,) Dr. T. Colin Campbell (Co-Author, The China Study,) Dr. Neal Barnard (Founder and President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,) Dr. Michael Greger, (Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture, and the Humane Society of the United States. The Production team includes Producer John Corry & Writer Lee Fulkerson from the acclaimed documentary film FORKS OVER KNIVES.

PlantPure Nation is theatrically distributed by Evan Saxon Productions

Publicity Contact:
Donna Lay, Transition Oahu 808-224-2462

Firefly Media 323-874-0776
Penny Guyon

Film Distribution Contact:
Evan Saxon Productions (323) 570-0130
Evan Saxon


HONOLULU, HI (April 17, 2015) – Brave members of the Legislative and Executive branches of our state government will showcase their hidden talents when they take the stage for a good cause.

Capitol Idol III kicks off on Monday, April 20 from 5-7 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. The public is invited to the show where members of the Senate and the Ige Administration vie for the audience’s support in the hopes of winning the perpetual individual and team trophies, not to mention major bragging rights. This year’s show will be emceed by radio show host, actor and former State Representative Devon Nekoba.

The event is FREE, but state employees will be voting for their favorite acts by purchasing $1 for a scrip worth one vote. Per the State Ethics Commission, only state employees can purchase scrip. The winner of Capitol Idol III will be the act with the most votes (scrip). There is no limit to the number of scrip a state employee can purchase.

In 2012, Capitol Idol raised $1400 for the Hawai‘i Foodbank and in 2014, $1700 was collected. “This is the time of the year when my fellow colleagues voluntarily offer themselves up for public scrutiny and possible embarrassment all to support an incredibly important agency in our community, the Hawai‘i Foodbank,” said Senator Mike Gabbard, the show’s organizer. “We want to encourage everyone to join us in supporting this worthy cause and have a good time smiling and laughing with us as well.”

Past performances have been a lineup of Legislators singing original songs, juggling, dancing hula and more. Previous winners have been Representative Marcus Oshiro dressed in drag, dancing and belting out “I Will Survive” and Blake “Disco” Oshiro of the Governor’s office. With his Executive branch dancers, Oshiro stole the show last year.

So who will be the next champion in Capitol Idol III? Join us to find out!

Senators Josh Green and Mike Gabbard to hear Bills on the Health Impact of Pesticides

Honolulu (February 9, 2015) - Senator Josh Green, M.D. (D - Kona, Kau), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, and Senator Mike Gabbard (D - Kapolei, Makakilo), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, have scheduled a joint hearing on SB 793, RELATING TO THE HEALTH IMPACT OF PESTICIDES, which would establish mandatory notice, reporting, and use requirements when pesticides are applied outdoors near sensitive areas.

The hearing will be held on Thursday, February 12 at 3:00 PM in Room 414 of the State Capitol, and will include SB1037 and SB797, which also deal with the health impact of pesticides by requiring notice, reporting, and disclosure of pesticide use near sensitive areas.

“Exposure to pesticides has been linked to diseases from autism to cancer,” Green said, "and may be especially harmful to children and pregnant women, so it is very important for us to take steps to protect Hawaii's most sensitive populations from the risks of pesticide exposure.”

Children are the most vulnerable to toxic exposure of pesticides because it can disrupt critical development processes, and pesticide exposure early in life has been linked to long-term health effects including cancer, serious diseases, decreased cognitive function, and behavior problems. According to a recently published report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, their main concerns for children are increased risk of childhood cancers, neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits, adverse birth outcomes, and asthma all due to pesticide exposure.

Pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where chemical pesticides were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay, a study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found. The associations were stronger when the exposures occurred during the second and third trimesters of the women’s pregnancies.

"The people of Hawai‘i have the right to decide that the risks of toxic pesticides are unacceptable, and to take action to reduce and prevent their potential negative impacts,” Green said. "The State has the legal authority to address local pesticide use and its impacts on our keiki and kupuna."

At least 26 schools in Hawaii are located within a mile of large agricultural companies that spray restricted-use pesticides. Many residents, including children, have complained about sickness they attribute to pesticide drift. Hawaii is one of 19 states that does not have regulations addressing the impacts of pesticide use on or near schools.

Senators Green and Gabbard have both made environmental health a policy priority, particularly the health impact of pesticides.

“I’m very pleased that we’re hearing these important bills that seek to better regulate pesticide use in our islands,” Senator Gabbard said. "In addition to the big impacts that pesticides have on human health, we also have to focus on the damage that pesticides wreak on our lands and water supply. It’s time for the state to take this more seriously.”

“Our children deserve to grow up, go to school, and play outside without being exposed to toxic pesticides,” Green said, “and these bills will prevent unnecessary exposure to our most sensitive populations around schools, hospitals, and child care facilities. There’s no reason for us to risk our children’s health by exposing them to toxic chemicals, when we can protect Hawaii's kids without hurting farmers.”

Green is an Emergency Room doctor with 15 years of experience caring for Hawaii’s families.

“The courage to do the right thing is all that matters," Green said. "It’s time for us to make the right choice for Hawaii’s kids."


HONOLULU (January 15, 2015) - State lawmakers will hold a joint Senate-House informational briefing on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 1 p.m. in Conference Room 329 to get an update on Hawaiian Electric Company’s (HECO) recent policy changes to solar interconnection. The new policy, which went into effect on September 6, 2013 requires approval from HECO before any solar photovoltaic (PV) installation. Since the policy change, many solar customers have been facing delays in getting their PV systems connected to the grid.

Topics of the briefing will include the status of the solar interconnection queue, non-export solar PV systems, and plans for the future integration of distributed generation. Presenting will be Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawai‘i Solar Energy Association, Hawai‘i PV Coalition, and The Alliance for Solar Choice.

In October, HECO announced a plan to start clearing the backlog of customers awaiting connection to the grid by April 2015, and along with solar installers, funded a study to find out how residential solar can continue to grow in the state. An update on HECO’s progress and results of the study will be discussed during the briefing.

“As we kick off the 2015 session, this is a perfect time to hear where we are on roof top solar", said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Committee on Energy and Environment. “Policies that make it easier for people to get solar PV continues to be one of my top legislative priorities.”

The briefing is hosted by Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, Senate Committee Commerce and Consumer Protection, House Committee on Energy and Environmental, and the House Committee on Protection and Consumer Protection and Commerce.

Hearing Notice:

*For media inquiries and interviews, please call the office of Sen. Mike Gabbard at 808-586-6830.


Honolulu (January 6, 2015) – The Senate Committee on Energy and Environment (ENE) and House Committee on Energy and Environment Protection (EEP) have scheduled an informational briefing on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 10 a.m. in conference room 225 to get an update on invasive species threats to Hawaii. The committees will hear from state departments and organizations tasked with implementing the programs for the prevention, control, research and outreach related to invasive species issues.

The Department of Agriculture will be bringing deceased specimens of invasive species including the coconut rhinoceros beetle, little fires ant, coffee berry borer, coqui frog, brown tree snake, stinging nettle caterpillar, and Madagascar hissing cockroach.

“Invasive species threaten our quality of life, native species, the health of our agricultural industries and the economy as a whole,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of ENE. “Whether it’s little fire ants, coconut rhinoceros beetles, coqui frogs, or albizia, all our communities are being negatively impacted. Eliminating the spread of invasive species continues to be a top priority for lawmakers. We’ll be looking at a variety of legislation this session to continue the fight against invasive species.”

“The spread of invasive species is an environmental and economic issue,” added Rep. Chris Lee, chair of the EEP Committee. “In recent months, we’ve seen the coffee berry borer make its way from Hawaii Island to Oahu and possibly now Maui. This briefing will help inform lawmakers on current threats, what preventive and offensive measures are in place, and what more can be done.”

Presentations by:
· The Nature Conservancy
· Hawaii Invasive Species Council
· Department of Agriculture – Plant Quarantine Branch
· Department of Agriculture – Plant Pest Control Branch
· Invasive Species Committees
· Department of Land and Natural Resources – Division of Forestry and Wildlife
· Watershed Partnerships
· Department of Land and Natural Resources – Division of Aquatic Resources

More information on the briefing can be found on the hearing notice:



HONOLULU (September 10, 2014) – Senate and House lawmakers have scheduled a hearing to get an update from the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and various solar organizations on the current status of solar interconnection and future plans for distributed generation.

Last September, HECO notified its customers of a policy change that would require permission from the company to proceed with the installation of a PV system. Since the policy change, many solar customers have been facing delays in getting their PV systems connected to the grid.

“There are a lot of moving pieces right now and we need to bring all stakeholders together to connect the dots,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Energy and Environment Committee. “We have solar companies and customers still very unhappy that they can’t connect to the grid. The bottom line is we want to know more about what has already been done and what’s planned for the future to ensure that solar continues to be an option for our residents.”

The hearing is scheduled for Friday, September 19 at 1 p.m. in Conference Room 325 of the Hawaii State Capitol with Senate and House committees on energy and environment, and commerce and consumer protection. It can be viewed live on Olelo Channel 49.

The hearing notice can be found on the Legislature’s website at:



Honolulu (April 15, 2014) The Capitol Idol II: The Return of Capitol Idol, a government talent show, raised over $1,700 for the Hawaii Foodbank. In 2012, the event raised $1,400.

Members of the executive branch and legislature didn't hold anything back to win the coveted individual and team perpetual trophies. However, Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Neil Abercrombie, and his backup dancers outshone everyone with "Last Dance."

Sen. Mike Gabbard organized the fundraiser and comedian Champ Kaneshiro volunteered as emcee.

"We all had a lot of fun for a good cause as we approach a hectic time during the legislative session," said Gabbard. "We surpassed what we brought in last year and it's all thanks to our guests and the performers."

Performers included:

Team Executive Branch: Linda Rosen, Director of the Dept. of Health; Keali‘i Lopez, Director of the Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Maria Zielinksi, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Accounting and General Services; Audrey Hidano, Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation; Keone Kali, Chief Information Officer; Joshua Wisch, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Taxation; Jesse Souki, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources; and Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff

Team House: Reps. Lauren Cheap Matsumoto and Ken Ito

Team Senate: Sen. Russell Ruderman, backed by Sens. Rosalyn Baker, Will Espero, Mike Gabbard, Michelle Kidani and Suzanne Chun-Oakland; Sen. Mike Gabbard; Sen. Malama Solomon with back-up singers Sen. Brickwood Galuteria and senate staff; and Da Kolohe Bruddahs, consisting of Sens. Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria and Russell Ruderman.


Honolulu (April 11, 2014) – Everyone’s got talent, right? We’ll see about that at Capitol Idol II: The Return of Capitol Idol, a government talent show fundraiser for the Hawai‘i Foodbank, featuring a handful of brave government leaders from the executive and legislative branches. Members of the Senate, House and executive branch will sing, dance, and showcase other talents to win the applause of audience members on Monday, April 14 from 5-7 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. Admission is FREE. The event is hosted by Senator Mike Gabbard, with Champ Kaneshiro, of The Champ Show on OC16, emceeing.

The first Capitol Idol was held in 2012, with Rep. Marcus Oshiro (aka “Madame Moshiro”) stealing the show. People are still talking about the lady in the red dress today. However, the word lingering about Capitol hallways is that the Senate will definitely be rocking the House this year. Individual and Senate/House perpetual trophies are at stake, but more importantly, bragging rights go to the winners for a year.

“We hope to see lots of smiling faces in the audience this year,” said Gabbard. “We want to surpass what we raised last year and encourage everyone to dig deep and support this very worthy cause. You won’t be disappointed in the show.”

Competing from the executive branch are Linda Rosen, Director of the Dept. of Health; Keali‘i Lopez, Director of the Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Maria Zielinksi, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Accounting and General Services; Audrey Hidano, Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation; Keone Kali, Chief Information Officer; Joshua Wisch, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Taxation; Jesse Souki, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources; and Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff.

In the House’s corner, Reps. Lauren Cheap Matsumoto and Ken Ito will take the stage on behalf of their 51 members.

Representing the Senate are Sens. Russell Ruderman, Mike Gabbard and Malama Solomon. In addition, a group called Da Kolohe Bruddahs, given their name, will surely rouse laughter in the auditorium. The group wishes to remain anonymous, so the only way to find out who they are is to attend.

Although this is a FREE event, it is also a fundraiser to raise money for the Hawaii Food Bank. Therefore, state employees are encouraged to donate $1 for a scrip worth one vote. Per the State Ethics Commission, only state employees can purchase scrips.

Votes (scrips) from the audience will determine the winner. Scrips can be picked up in Gabbard’s office, Capitol Room 201, until 5 p.m. on Monday, April 14. After 5 p.m., scrips can be picked up in Capitol Room 016 until 15 minutes after the end of the show. There is no limit on the number of scrips that a state employee can purchase. And people can vote for their favorites as much as they wish.



Date: March 7, 2014

“On Wednesday, I went on a tour of the Navy’s Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility with other legislators to see first-hand the situation with the recent fuel leak on January 13th. Today, we heard from the U.S. Navy, the Department of Health, and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply during an informational briefing at the Capitol. We definitely appreciated the openness of the Navy and have learned much about the current situation with the leak of 27,000 gallons of fuel. Our main goal is to work toward a situation where we can hopefully prevent any future leaks, so that we can ensure the safety of our water supply and the surrounding environment. This will require a major, ongoing effort by all agencies involved.”

Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Energy and Environment Committee