Press Releases

New Entertainment and Sports Office Introduced by Sen. Gabbard

HONOLULU -February 6, 2008- A proposal to create a new state agency that would promote the entertainment and sports industries of Hawaii has been introduced by Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 19- Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Makakilo, Kapolei, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Portions of Waipahu and Ko 'Olina).

"With the success of the UH football program and the Lost TV show, it's critical that we take advantage of this opportunity," Gabbard said. "Over 325 states and cities in the U.S. have had success in creating authorities and commissions. We should be positioning ourselves as a center for these important industries in the Pacific region and Asia."

SB 2362 would establish an Entertainment and Sports Authority with the goal of marketing, promoting, developing, and coordinating entertainment and sports-related activities and events in the state.

The Authority would be housed in the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and have a policy-making board similar in structure to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Funding for the agency would come from the Transient Accommodation Tax, legislative appropriations, gifts and grants, and interests and revenues generated by the Authority.

Gabbard envisions the Entertainment and Sports Authority acting as a clearinghouse to bring together all of Hawaii's entertainment and sports-related businesses, clubs, trade associations, and government agencies to maximize their potential growth and development.

"The Authority would help these industries establish their own voice in promoting our state to the rest of the world," Gabbard continued. "Given that the U.S. sports industry alone is worth over $200 billion, the potential is enormous."

SB 2362 will be heard by the Senate Economic Development and Taxation/Tourism and Government Operations committees on Thursday, February 7th at 1:15pm in Conference Room 229 at the State Capitol. The bill can be accessed by visiting the State Capitol website at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2008/bills/SB2362_.htm.

For more information, please contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830.

GE Labeling, Farm Notification Bills Introduced by Senator Gabbard

HONOLULU -January 25, 2008- Food labeling and farm notification bills related to genetically engineered (GE) crops, also known as genetically modified organisms – GMOs, have been introduced in the Hawaii State Legislature by Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 19- Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Makakilo, Kapolei, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Portions of Waipahu and Ko 'Olina.)

Senate Bill 3232 would require labeling for all GE whole foods sold in Hawaii (fruits and vegetables in their raw or natural state). Senate Bill 3233 would require companies to reveal the location of test plots and production of GE crops.

“These bills are about consumer choice,” says Gabbard. “People have a right to know what food they put in their bodies and what is happening on our lands, and they should be informed.”

Gabbard said his bills reflect the wishes of almost all Hawaii residents. A local study published last year by a professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo showed that 85% of the people surveyed felt it was important that genetically modified fruits be labeled. Gabbard says this finding confirms polls conducted on the mainland, which concluded that an overwhelming majority of people favor the labeling of GE foods.

"The bottom line is that people have the right to choose whether they eat a GE papaya or not,” he explains. “And, they have the right to know whether a company is testing GE crops nearby.”

Knowing the location of GE test fields is of particular concern to organic and conventional farmers worried about the potential for GE contamination of their crops. Their concern is understandable, says Gabbard. “With over 4,000 permits having been issued to conduct GE testing in the state, Hawaii is one of the primary biotech research and development centers on the planet.”

For more information about this legislation, contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830.

Gabbard Announces Extended hours for Barbers Point Post Office during the Christmas Holidays

HONOLULU -November 9, 2007– Senator Mike Gabbard announced today that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has agreed to extend the hours at Barbers Point Post Office during the Christmas Holidays. From December 1 to 24, post office hours will be 9:00am – 3:45pm, Monday – Friday, and 9am – 12pm on Saturdays.

"It's great news to hear that USPS listened to the community and added hours to their operations", said Gabbard. "During the Christmas Season, the Barbers Point and Kapolei post offices are jam packed with people trying to mail gifts to their loved ones. These extra hours at Barbers Point will be a welcome relief."

Gabbard had launched a petition drive in early 2007 after USPS made their November 6, 2006 decision to scale back weekday hours at Barbers Point Post Office from 9am – 4:00pm to 9:00 – 12:00pm.

Gabbard continued, "I got many calls and emails from concerned Kapolei and Kalaeloa residents who were upset with the decision. We were able to get over 1,000 residents to sign our petition in support of extending the hours and this definitely helped our cause."

In addition to the extended Christmas hours, Post Office Operations Manager, Mr. Greg Wolny, wrote in a November 5, 2007 letter to Senator Gabbard that "effective Saturday, November 10th residents can bring their 'Late Notice' slips to Barbers Point Station rather than drive to Kapolei to pick up their mail." This second change will also be big improvement for area residents and will be permanent.

If you would like more information, please contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830

Gabbard Announces Kaleiopuu Elementary School to participate in Operation Caring Classroom National School Initiative.

HONOLULU -November 2, 2007- Senator Mike Gabbard announced today that Kaleiopuu Elementary School in Village Park has been selected as the only school in the state participating in the 2nd Annual Operation Caring Classroom national school initiative.

Operation Caring Classroom is sponsored by the Armed Forces Foundation and has the goal of remembering and supporting military children during a week long celebration from November 5th to 9th, leading up to Veteran's Day. This year the program was launched by U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, and will involve one school from every state in the country.

"It's great to see the students at Kaleiopuu Elementary supporting their peers who have parents in the military", said Gabbard. "Keiki who have parents deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other places around the world have added responsibilities and stress. Operation Caring Classroom is a nice example of the aloha spirit in action."

Each participating school, like Kaleiopuu Elementary, has received a school kit with patriotic items, such as flags, magnets, bookmarks, and activity books for the students. Teachers will engage their classes in writing letters to a military child, coloring patriotic pictures, creating a patriotic display case, and building a strength chain.

If you would like more information about the program, please contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830 or Principal Carolyn Alexander at 675-0266.

Gabbard Switches Parties To Better Serve Constituents

HONOLULU -August 30, 2007- Republican State Senator Mike Gabbard, (Waikele to Ko Olina) announced his decision today to join the Democratic Party at the party’s new headquarters in Ward Warehouse.

“I made this decision after a great deal of thought and soul searching,” said Gabbard, “and after many, many discussions with my daughter Tulsi, a former state representative and a card-carrying Democrat who works for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka. It was also talking story with Senator Akaka, Congressman Abercrombie, and other Democrats in leadership, as well as my constituents—Democrat, Republican, and Independents—that helped me make this decision. In the past few months, I’ve come to know and respect Senator Akaka and I’ve been greatly influenced by the aloha and welcoming attitude that he and others have extended to me.”

Gabbard said, “While working together with my colleagues and constituents, we’ve been able to accomplish many things. However, my experience at the legislature has convinced me that to be even more effective, it would be best if I were a member of the majority Democratic Party.”

“Some people have told me that my move could damage me politically,” Gabbard commented. “But I can’t make my decision based on politics. I have to make my decisions based on my conscience, on how I can best serve the people of Hawaii. I’m not a very partisan person, that’s actually why I have a lot of supporters. I’ve been an independent-minded Republican who always follows the dictates of my conscience, not the party line. And I will be just as independent as a Democrat.”

Here are a couple common questions I've received regarding my switch and the answers:

Q: How can you be a social conservative on issues like same-sex marriage and be a Democrat?

A: I'm perfectly in line with the majority of Democrats on this issue. During the same-sex marriage debate, 70% of Hawaii voters agreed with me and voted to protect traditional marriage. The vast majority of those people were Democrats. And on the grassroots level, I have tons of Democrats thanking me for my role in protecting traditional marriage, much more than Republicans.

Q: How can you switch to the Democratic Party when you don't agree 100% with the Party's Platform?

A: If everybody who didn't believe in the Party Platform left the Democratic Party, the Party would consist of a couple thousand people at most.

Senator Mike Gabbard will begin offering free beginning junior tennis clinics in September at the Kalaeloa tennis courts.

August 16, 2007 - Senator Mike Gabbard (Waikele to Ko Olina) will begin offering free beginning junior tennis clinics in September at the Kalaeloa (Barbers Point) tennis courts.

Gabbard said, “Back in the 1970s I was the head tennis pro at the Kuilima Hyatt (now Turtle Bay Resort), and I also coached hundreds of juniors when we lived in American Samoa. My wife Carol and I play almost every day, and I’ve been noticing more and more juniors coming out and banging the ball around. So I figured why not offer some free lessons, so they can learn the game properly.”

The free beginning tennis clinics are open to kids ages 7-12 and will be held on three Saturdays from 4:30 to 6 pm on September 15, 22, and 29th at the Kalaeloa tennis courts at Saratoga and Franklin Avenues. The 3-lesson clinic will include the serve, groundstrokes, volleys and scoring. Registration is limited, first come/first serve, so call Senator Gabbard at 682-0676 or email him at mike@MikeGabbard.com. Kids need to bring a tennis racket.

Gabbard And Har Co-Host Talk Story

February 22, 2007 - Senator Mike Gabbard and Representative Sharon Har will co-host a community talk-story at the Kapolei High School cafeteria on Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 9:00am.
Gabbard said, "I'm happy that both Representative Har and I can hold these meetings together. Both of us know the most important thing is helping people and not whether we're Republicans or Democrats. This is what's best for the community."

Shortly after being elected, Senator Gabbard and Representative Har agreed to hold a series of talk stories to coordinate their work in the communities they both represent. Senator Gabbard represents Senate District #19, which stretches from Waikele to Ko Olina and Representative Har serves Representative District #40 -Kapolei, Makakilo, and Royal Kunia.

Gabbard Honors Christian Mahuna For His Bravery

HONOLULU -February 22, 2007- Senator Mike Gabbard presented Christian Mahuna with an honorary certificate from the Hawaii State Senate on February 21, 2007. Christian is a 6th grade student at Kapolei Middle School and lives in Kalaeloa. He was joined at the Capitol by his mother, Ellena Young, and family friend Marcus Miles.

On Friday, February 2, 2007, Christian was waiting for his school bus at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Lexington Street when a reckless driver struck Christian, severely breaking both his legs with compound fractures .

Gabbard said, "Christian and his family have been through a terrible ordeal because of this hit and run driver. It's my hope that the perpetrator will be brought to justice, that Christian will make a full recovery, and he and his family will regain their emotional well-being and peace of mind."

According to Crime Stoppers and the Honolulu Police Department, there have been no leads in this unsolved case. The driver of the vehicle that hit Christian faces two possible charges: vehicle negligent injury in the 2nd degree – a misdemeanor which caries up to a year in jail and failure to render aid – a class C felony which carries up to 5 years in jail.

If you have any information on this case, please contact Crime Stoppers at 955-8300

Gabbard Honors Rudy Gabrillo Winner Of George S.B. Walters Shipyard Service Award

HONOLULU -February 21, 2007- Senator Mike Gabbard presented Rudy Gabrillo with an honorary certificate on behalf of the Hawaii State Senate during a ceremony at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

Senator Gabbard recognized Mr. Gabrillo for receiving the first civilian George S.B. Walters Shipyard Service Award at the 46th Annual Navy League Sea Services Awards luncheon on December 8, 2006 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

Gabbard said, "It was a privilege to acknowledge the hardwork and dedication of one of Makakilo's finest. Rudy deserves all the accolades that he's received."

The award is given to one outstanding civilian at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard who is characterized by industriousness, enthusiasm and team spirit. Rudy is a Rigger Supervisor and general foreman at the shipyard. His duties include repairing ships underwater and training sailors.

Senator Gabbard was joined at the ceremony by Captain Frank Camelio, Commander - Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Captain James Stone, Deputy Commander - Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Mr. Bob McDermott, Executive Director - Honolulu Navy League, CWO-3 Eric MacDonald, and Mr. Kerry Gershaneck, Congressional & Public Affairs Officer - Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

Gabbard Honors Kapolei Middle School Speech Contest Winners

HONOLULU -February 7, 2007- Senator Mike Gabbard honored Ms. Joy Lynch and former Kapolei Middle School students Flora Cross, Rebecca Manahan, and Tafia Taimalelagi on the floor of the State Senate on February 5th, 2007.

Gabbard said, "It was a pleasure to honor Ms Lynch, Flora, Rebecca, and Tafia at the Capitol. Ms. Lynch should be commended for all her efforts and dedication in helping these students find success. I'm sure the students have made their families proud and have bright futures ahead of them."

Ms. Joy Lynch, an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Kapolei Middle School, was honored for her leadership role in the development of the USS Arizona Memorial Scholarship Speech Contest. Ms. Lynch had been moved to action by a visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the peace memorial in Hiroshima, Japan. She wanted Hawaii students to have the opportunity to speak at the Pearl Harbor memorial, so that she could one day pass on to future generations the historical significance of the events of December 7, 1941.

The first USS Arizona Memorial Scholarship Speech Contest speech contest was held on June 16, 2006. Flora Cross who is now a 9th grade student at Kamehameha Schools, won first place. Ninth grade Kapolei High School students Rebecca Manahan and Tafia Taimalelagi won second and third place respectively. As part of their award for winning the speech contest, each student received a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to present their speeches at the 65th Pearl Harbor Anniversary Symposium. On December 2nd and 5th, 2006, Flora, Rebecca, and Tafia became the first students in the nation to speak at a USS Arizona Memorial Museum Association event.

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