09/06/18: Busy August
The House of Representatives was not in session in August, so it was great to be able to spend a few weeks at home. What a month it has been. This year, we've been hit especially hard by natural disasters -- from major flooding and mudslides on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu in April, the ongoing volcanic eruption in Puna on Hawai‘i Island, and just recently, the flooding and wildfires on multiple islands related to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Lane.
Time and again, our community has proven to be strong and resilient, and continues to mobilize to take care of each other. Mahalo to our local and state leaders, FEMA, our brave first responders, organizations like the Red Cross, churches, schools, and leaders of our community who stood up and took action during this great time of need.
Here are a few highlights from my time at home:
- Pushed for a presidential disaster declaration for the emergency response to Hurricane Laneandurged FEMA to address immediate recovery needs, assess the damage, and swiftly approve any request for federal funding to help Hawai‘i recover and rebuild
- Met with DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FEMA Administrator Brock Long, and other federal, state, and local officials for an update on federal disaster assistance in response to major flooding on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu in April, the ongoing volcanic eruption in Puna on Hawai‘i Island, and damage from flooding and wildfires on multiple islands related to Hurricane Lane
- Joined Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Kaua‘i County local and state representatives, and leaders from across the community at a mahalo blessing for the Līhuʻe Town Core Mobility and Revitalization Project
- Recognized and thanked the Kaua‘i Police Department (KPD) for 75 years of service to the community
- Joined students, farmers, and community leaders at the 2018 Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) Conference and Hoʻōla ʻĀina O Māʻilikūkahi Youth Food Sovereignty Congress
- Toured the UH West Oʻahu Student Organic Garden with student leaders who farm and work at Maʻo Farms in Waiʻanae
- Attended the repatriation ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to honor the return of dozens of American servicemen who were killed in the Korean War
- Joined Native Hawaiian community leaders at the 4th Annual Native Hawaiian Organizations Association (NHOA) Business Summit Conference and spoke about working across party lines to deliver results for Hawaiʻi
- Honored the life and legacy of service of Police Officer Bronson Kaliloa, who was shot in the line of duty and died on July 18
- Led a congressional delegation to survey the impact of the recent Kīlauea eruptions in order to help determine needed federal actions to support the community
- Met with the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region IX Administrator, Mike Stoker, to discuss key concerns like Red Hill and septic tanks, and other environmental threats to Hawaiʻi’s people
- Received a briefing from the City and County of Honolulu Department of Environmental Services on the Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements
- Honored Hawai‘i Army National Guard soldiers and their families at a deployment ceremony
I joined Hawaiʻi Army National Guard soldiers, family, and friends at a deployment ceremony to say aloha and share our gratitude for their service and sacrifice.
Here are some additional highlights:
Staying Safe during Natural Disasters
We are so fortunate to live in Hawaiʻi, a place filled with tremendous beauty and natural resources. However, we have some seasonal disasters that are unique to HawaiʻI, so it’s important to be prepared. Because of their level of devastation or frequency of occurrence, our top three hazards are hurricanes, tsunamis, and flashfloods. However, earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides, wildfires, and pandemic outbreaks are also all potential threats. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared.
Click here to learn how to build your emergency preparedness kit and more: https://gabbard.house.gov/ready
Do you need assistance with a Federal agency?
In 2017, my team and I assisted more than 800 Hawai'i families with federal agency casework, which included issues like veteran benefits, Social Security and Medicare claims, passports and visas, federal student loans, and much more. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to call my office at 808-541-1986 or email TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov. My staff also hosts regular one-on-one casework sessions in each county to offer assistance:
- Sept. 6: Kona, Hawai‘i Island- Federal Grants 101 workshop with Ilihia. West Hawaiʻi Civic Center, Building A, Kona Council Chambers. 9am – 12pm
- Sept. 7: Hilo, Hawai‘i Island- Federal Grants 101 workshop with Ilihia. Aupuni Center Conference Room. 9am – 12pm
RSVP:Gabbard.house.gov/RSVP or call (808) 541-1986
Protecting the Ballot Box
As we head into the 2018 general elections, we must urgently address the gaping vulnerabilities in our elections infrastructure. Earlier this year at DefCon 26 Voting Village, an annual hacking conference, middle school-aged children were able to hack into our election infrastructure in mere minutes, highlighting severe vulnerabilities that threaten our American democracy. These vulnerabilities erode voter confidence and expose our election outcomes to manipulation. I'm urging Congress to pass my Securing America’s Elections Act and work with the states to safeguard our electoral infrastructure, ensuring that each and every American vote is counted accurately.
Click to watch my speech in Congress on the Securing America’s Elections Act to provide the American people with a secure, auditable paper record of their votes.