Press Releases

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.

Senator Mike Gabbard Introduces Bill To Keep ATVs Off Our Beaches

HONOLULU -January 28, 2007- Senator Mike Gabbard has introduced SB 1891, which will allow the Department of Natural Resources' (DLNR) Enforcement Division to solve the problem of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and other vehicles driving on our beaches and creating safety and environmental hazards. The legislation will restore criminal penalties to Chapter 171, relating to public lands.

The criminal provisions of the law were removed several years ago by the Legislature, making it increasingly difficult for DLNR to protect the safety of beachgoers, wildlife, and the environment.

Gabbard said, "After recent media reports, speaking with DLNR police officers, and getting complaints from the community, we've got to take action. Enough already! I've got nothing against ATVs, but it's time we give DLNR the tools they need to keep our beaches safe for families, especially our keiki."

"SB 1891 will solve this statewide problem," Gabbard continued, "by allowing DLNR to make the offense of illegally driving on public lands a 'petty misdemeanor'. This means DLNR police officers will have the ability to make arrests, issue criminal citations, and even seize vehicles. I guarantee that if a couple of these vehicles get confiscated, the problem will be solved very quickly."

Gabbard said, "This is not only a public safety problem, but it's also a serious cultural and environmental concern. If they haven't already, ATVs and other vehicles can potentially desecrate sacred burial grounds, as well as cause enormous destruction to our natural ecosystem."

Senator Gabbard intends to also introduce a resolution this session to ask DLNR to look at expanding the hours of the Kahuku Motocross Park and consider other locations around the state so that ATV riders have places to enjoy their sport.

If people want more details, please contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830 or visit the State Legislature website at

Gabbard Takes The Oath Of Office At Hawaii State Senate

HONOLULU - January 23, 2007 - American Samoa native, Mike Gabbard, took the oath of office as a Hawaii State Senator on Wednesday, January 17, 2007. Gabbard represents District #19, which is comprised of the West Oahu communities of Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Makakilo, Kapolei, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale and portions of Waipahu and Ko Olina.

It is a tradition at the Hawaii State Legislature that after elected officials are sworn in, the Senators and Representatives open the doors of their offices and receive members of the public with refreshments.

Gabbard said, "It was wonderful to share this experience with my family, friends, and so many supporters. Some even flew in from the Neighbor Islands. I'm humbled to have this opportunity to serve the people of Hawaii as a State Senator. I look forward to doing my best to make life better for all of Hawaii's residents."

Gabbard previously served as a Honolulu City Councilman (Ewa, Kapolei, Waianae Coast) from 2003 to 2005. He was born to Benjamin Harrison Gabbard and Agnes Yandall Gabbard of Leloaloa and lived in American Samoa from 1971-1983. During this time, Gabbard taught at Faga’itua and Samoana High School, and served at American Samoa Community College as a guidance counselor, Assistant Dean of Instruction and Dean of Adult and Community Education. His daughter, former Hawaii State Representative Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo is currently at Officer Candidate School for the Hawaii National Guard in Fort Hood, Alabama and is on leave from her position as a legislative aide in Washington D.C. to U.S. Senator Dan Akaka.