Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Releases Detailed Report on Hawai’i Meetings

January 14, 2013
Press Release
Visit focused on security, veterans and transportation issues

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following detailed report of her meetings and activities during her recent official visit to Hawai’i. She met with officials and constituents throughout the Second Congressional District to discuss issues related to her work in Congress and her recent assignments to the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees.

“Last week, I had the opportunity to hear from constituents, officials and organizations from across the islands – and across the spectrum of issues we face,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “I wanted to visit every island because I know I cannot serve Hawai’i effectively unless we are talking story and listening to what’s happening at home. I am eager to continue these conversations and to give voice to their concerns in Congress.”

Photos from this visit are available here:

Trip details are below.


Maui, January 9, 2013:

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) – Maui Station (Ma’alaea)

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard met with Gene Maestas, Deputy D14 External Affairs, and Captain Joanna M. Nunan, Sector Commander, to discuss USCG activities in the Ma’alaea Harbor. Also in attendance were: Lt. T Joseph K. Carrier III (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration); Lt. Eric D. Stahl, Supervisor Marine Inspector and Investigator; BM1 Joseph V. Vizzi, Executive Petty Officer; BMC Erin M. Stapleton, Officer in Charge; and Larry Ankrum, USCG Auxiliary.

Kahului Airport

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard visited with the State of Hawai'i Airport Managers and Department of Transportation staff to learn more about the challenges facing our island airports. Her tour included the newly expanded Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint station and in-line conveyor belt system, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) curbside checkpoint, and a proposed runway expansion site. The transportation officials briefed the congresswoman about staffing for TSA, limited funding and staffing for USDA and community conflict over runway expansion.

Also in attendance were: Wally Sahara, Asst. Federal Security Director Maui County Airports (TSA); Dale Tsubaki, Asst. Airports Superintendent; and Noel Hashimoto, Port Director (USDA).

Kahului Harbor

Duane Kim, District Manager of Kahului Harbor, provided a tour of Piers 1, 2 and 3 to discuss security and office relocation with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Maui VA Clinic

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard met with veterans and VA staff, including Telemedicine Tech and Navy veteran Gary Shin-Leavitt, to discuss issues facing Maui veterans. In her meeting, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard heard concerns about the lack of shelters available for homeless veterans, nursing home care, the increased veterans population without an equal increase in capacity, lack of technology upgrades, and the diminished travel budget for patient care.

State of Hawaii DOT – Airports (Kea Lani, Wailea, HI)

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard met with State of Hawaii Department of Transportation officials to discuss expanding Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to the neighbor islands for increased capacity for tourism and direct international flights.

Also in attendance were: Ford Fuchigami, Deputy Director for Airports; Chuck Lee, State of Hawaii – Airports Division; Wesley Yonamine, Visitor Information Program Administrator; Marvin Moniz, Maui District Airport Manager; Chauncey Wong Yuen – Hawaii Airports District Manager; Steven Santiago, Assistant Airport District Manager; and Dennis L. Neves, Kauai Airports District Manager; and Roy Sakata, Acting Oahu Airports District Manager.

Oahu, January 10-11, 2013:

Ceremonial Swearing-in

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard participated in a ceremonial swearing-in with Judge Susan Oki Mollway at the U.S. District Court in Honolulu.

Military Partnership Conference

While in Honolulu, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also attended the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Military Partnership Conference today. The conference theme was “Magnifying Security Presence in Hawaii” and addressed matters related to national security, commerce and trade.

National Security Administration Briefing

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also visited the National Security Administration’s Central Security Service office to receive a briefing on Homeland Security issues, which will inform her work on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Big Island, January 12, 2013:

Kona International Airport

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was briefed on airport issues by Kona Airport District Manager Chauncey Wong Yuen. Other local officials were also in attendance.

Civil Defense Briefing

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also received a briefing at the Office of Civil Defense with Director Daryl Oliver and Police Chief Kubojiri on Homeland Security issues and federal funding.

Kauai, January 13, 2013:

Blessing for biomass-to-energy plant

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard participated in a blessing ceremony for a new biomass-to-energy facility to be constructed near Koloa. The plant will provide enough electricity to power 8,500 households, annually replacing about 3.7 million gallons of imported oil. Recently, the Green Energy Team LLC of Kauai and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative announced that Green Energy received a $72.9 million loan guarantee commitment letter from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service that will enable it to begin construction.

The $90-million plant is a state-of-the-art facility that will burn woodchips from trees grown and harvested on Kauai. The plant will provide more than 11 percent of Kauai’s energy needs, contributing significantly to KIUC’s efforts to generate 50 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2023.

Meetings at the Kauai Veterans Center

At the Kaua’i Veterans Center in Lʻhuʻe, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard finished her week of official visits by holding a series of five meetings related to her committee work and issues before the Congress, including community organizations, transportation officials from the airport and harbors divisions, Native Hawaiian organizations, Local businesses and land owners, and other elected officials.

Office Locations