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Saturday, May 9, 2020
Not done yet with 'Let Hawaii Work' petition
By Grassroot Institute @ 3:09 AM :: 2259 Views :: Economy, COVID-19

Not done yet with 'Let Hawaii Work' petition

From Grassroot Institute, May 8, 2020

We’ve had an incredible response to our petition asking Gov. David Ige to “Let Hawaii Work”. In just a week, we’ve gathered more than 5,000 signatures from people who are eager to restart the local economy.

At the same time, we’ve also had a few people ask us what we mean when we say we want a balanced reopening of the state’s economy. 

As I explained in my interview on KITV4 News last weekend, we are not arguing for the sudden, reckless opening of the state. Nor should we disregard the health and safety concerns that prompted the lockdown in the first place. 

However, we must recognize the immense social and economic damage that already has taken place and will continue after the shutdown. After all, an economic depression has public health implications as well.

“I think it’s important to understand that the public health needs and reopening the economy are not either/or. It’s not one or the other,” I told KITV. “The fact is, we have to go aggressively after both goals. We need to keep the public safe, but we also need to begin opening sectors of the economy.”

Fortunately, Gov. Ige heard our plea to begin a rational reopening of the economy. This week, he announced the first lifting of the closures and restrictions. What’s more, he modified his March 16 order that suspended the state’s transparency laws, proving that our efforts to persuade policymakers to reconsider the severity of the lockdown has started to work.

Some may be disappointed that the governor walked back a few of the changes he initially proposed. However, this only shows that our work is not done. We need to persuade the governor and our county mayors that there is a strong and determined movement in favor of a rational approach to reopening the economy.

That’s why we are continuing the petition campaign to “Let Hawaii Work.” As the movement to “Let Hawaii Work” grows in strength, it will become harder and harder for our lawmakers to ignore. 

Yes, the reopening has begun, and the governor and other state and county leaders are responding to the voice of the people. But they need to be encouraged to continue down this path. 

We had a successful first week with our petition drive, but there still are more challenges before us. Let’s keep up the momentum and get our economy going again.

E hana kakou! (Let’s work together!)

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.


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