GOVERNOR LINGLE ADDRESSES ENERGY, TRANSPORTATION, INTERNATIONAL TRADE, TOURISM AND HOMELAND SECURITY WITH OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle held a series of meetings with federal officials and Obama Administration senior leadership in Washington, D.C. this weekend. The Governor is in the nation’s capitol for the National Governors Association’s annual winter meeting.
Today, the Governor met with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to discuss transportation matters of critical importance to Hawai‘i residents.
“We talked about the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant they just awarded for our state harbors – a $25 million grant – as well as the proposed rail system for Honolulu,” Governor Lingle said in a satellite feed to Hawai‘i news stations.
“I let the Secretary know that we would be doing a separate, independent financial analysis of the plan for the rail, and I suggested to him that we take our financial analysis and the one that they will have done – that the government requires at the federal level – and share that information so we’re all working from the same set of numbers. They agreed that it’s important for the public to have really one set of numbers that they’re looking at. So when people want to judge whether it can be afforded over the long term or not, at least we're talking about the same numbers. I think that was very, very important today,” the Governor said.
“We also talked about some proposed flights from Haneda Airport in Japan into Honolulu that Hawaiian Air has applied for as well as Delta – some of the new slots that are coming open. It was a good, well-rounded discussion on harbors, on the rail as well as on airports,” Governor Lingle added.
She also met with senior staff from the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss maximizing Hawai‘i’s partnership with the federal government to ensure the health and well being of Hawai‘i’s residents.
This morning, the Governor met with Zhou Wenzhou, the People’s Republic of China’s ambassador to the United States, to reinforce Hawai‘i’s efforts to attract Chinese visitors and promote the export of Hawai‘i products and services to China. During the meeting, Governor Lingle and Ambassador Zhou discussed the official itinerary for the Governor’s planned trip to China in June to promote Hawai‘i exports at the Shanghai Expo as well as work on tourism issues and commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the sister-state relationship with Guangzhou at the invitation of Guangdong Province Governor Huang Huahua.
They also addressed the ongoing partnership to promote leisure and group travel between China and Hawai‘i, the pending start of air service by Hainan Airlines between Beijing and Honolulu this year, as well as efforts to expedite the U.S. visa process for Chinese travelers wishing to visit Hawai‘i and other parts of the United States.
Ambassador Zhou commented on the importance of the Hawai‘i office in China in promoting trade, tourism and business opportunities. The Ambassador also addressed the importance of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting that will be held in Hawai‘i in November 2011.
The APEC meeting was a key focus of a meeting Governor Lingle had on Friday with senior staff for Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secret Service. During the meeting, which was headed by Juliette Kayyem, assistant secretary for intergovernmental programs, Department of Homeland Security, on behalf of Secretary Napolitano, Governor Lingle followed up on the State’s request to designate the APEC Leaders Meeting a National Special Security Event.
Secretary Napolitano’s staff also recognized Major General Robert Lee, Hawai‘i’s state adjutant general, who participated in Friday’s meeting, as the lead for the security effort surrounding the APEC meeting.
Additional positive discussions took place on various other important homeland security and public safety issues, including Hawai‘i’s role in the security of the Asia-Pacific region.
“We discussed among other things the upcoming APEC leaders meeting in Hawai‘i in 2011,” Governor Lingle said in the satellite feed. “And even though I won’t be in office at that time, I feel an obligation to make certain that we get the federal designation for that event because that will open up a lot of federal funding for our police departments and other emergency first responders as we try for the very first time to host 20 world leaders at the very same time.”
The Governor also met with Cathy Zoi, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, to discuss the ongoing Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative partnership between the State of Hawai‘i and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Also, a separate meeting with senior staff from the efficiency branch of DOE took place which focused on new initiatives for Hawai'i. The DOE will participate in events statewide. Details will be announced in the weeks ahead.
“We have a very close partnership with the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, and again I wanted to make certain that when I leave office in 10 months that our relationship and the resources of the federal government continue on,” Governor Lingle said in the satellite feed. “So we had some terrific meetings with the assistant secretaries of different aspects of the Department of Energy, just walking through the issues and talking about where we are in our progress and how we’re going to need their help in the long-term, whether I’m still in office or when the next governor comes in.”
The National Governors Association meeting opened on Saturday with a discussion on the role states can play in improving health care delivery systems to provide cost-efficient and effective health care. The opening session also featured remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama who addressed the nation’s governors on her anti-obesity initiative.
This evening, Governor Lingle attended a governors only dinner at the White House hosted by President and Mrs. Obama. Several cabinet members were expected to attend to discuss important issues facing the states. For example, Secretary LaHood mentioned to the Governor that he looked forward to visiting with her at the White House tonight.
Tomorrow, morning she and the other governors will meet with the President and his cabinet at the White House.
Governor Lingle will return to Hawai‘i on Tuesday.
Hmmmmm…there’s something that is not mentioned even once in this news release…what is it…can’t think of it…hmmmmm…but “it” will be coming up in the House Rules Committee at 5PM EST Monday: Akaka Preparing New Senate Bill: House Rules Committee to consider Akaka Bill Monday