Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Message for the 16th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention

Below is a transcript of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's message for the 16th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention:

Aloha kākou, and mahalo to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and all of your partners who’ve come together to host this 16th annual convention. I feel very privileged to serve you and the people of Hawaiʻi in Congress, and so wish that I could be there with you today.

While I was home recently, I met with the Native Hawaiian Legislative Hui that many of you and your organizations are involved with in one way or another and we discussed many of the issues that you are focused on throughout this convention, and the new set of challenges facing all of us here in Washington. While things have changed since your last convention, our congressional delegation from Hawai’i stands united in putting Hawaiʻi first. We are working to stand up and fight against the harmful cuts that have been proposed to programs that are critical to us in Hawaiʻi, as well as working proactively to secure funding and resources for our state and our people. I remain focused on finding ways to build bridges and friendships and partnerships that ultimately provide opportunities to get things done. Since I’ve been elected to Congress, we’ve been able to reauthorize the Native Hawaiian Education Act and award millions of dollars in federal grants to support Native Hawaiian education, healthcare, housing, economic opportunities, and so much more. Now as we continue through the appropriations process this fall, I’ll continue fighting to ensure that these programs are reauthorized and resourced to continue the important work that you do.

I’d like to briefly touch on two initiatives that I’m working on in Congress right now. First is legislation I’ve introduced called the OFF Act that builds on the progress Hawai‘i has made to address the climate change crisis head on. Hawai‘i has led by example as the first state in the nation to adopt a 100 percent clean energy goal, and it’s long past time for the federal government to take action for the sake of our people, our planet, and our future. My legislation would put us on a path to cut carbon emissions by ending America’s reliance on fossil fuels by 2035 in order to avert some of the most devastating impacts of climate change.

Second, I welcome your input as we work on the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill comes up every five years, and there are many untapped opportunities for us to work to make sure Hawaii has the resources to strengthen its food security, empower our local farmers, and support investments in our local agriculture industry.  My team and I welcome your input and ideas about Hawaii’s agricultural needs and priorities, in order to empower those who are growing food to feed our people rather than providing lopsided support in giveaways to huge industrial, agribusiness corporations.

Mahalo again to CNHA and the many community leaders, cultural practitioners, policy advocates, business owners, agency officials, and so many others working to further the well-being of Hawaii’s native community. Best wishes to you all for a very successful convention!

Aloha.

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