Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., made a campaign stop Friday at Charles F. Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio.
Hawaii’s values, traditions can inspire a nation
Islands' pioneering history can help guide us through any challenge
When I set out to achieve universal health care as first lady back in 1993, I knew I needed to learn from Hawaii's pioneering example. So I traveled to your state and met with health care professionals and community leaders to discuss how Hawaii's approach to health care could be a model for America. I was greatly impressed by what I saw.
I was impressed by your passionate belief that health care is not a luxury -- but a fundamental right. I was impressed by this state's proud progressive tradition and firm commitment to caring for all its citizens. And I was impressed by Hawaii's rich cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty.
But I know Hawaii also faces unique challenges -- from education to energy to the economy. And the people of Hawaii deserve a president who won't just talk about solutions to those problems -- but will actually deliver. I will be that president.
I have a comprehensive "Solutions for Hawaii" plan to help families across Hawaii live out their dreams. My plan starts by putting Hawaii -- and America -- on the path to energy independence. Hawaii is currently the most petroleum-dependent state in America, with ramifications for your economy and our environment. In fact, left unaddressed, the International Panel on Climate Change estimates a rise in sea level of 7 to 23 inches by the year 2100 -- an increase that would decimate Hawaii's magnificent coast. We don't have a moment to waste -- we need to act immediately.
I will invest $50 billion in a Strategic Energy Fund to research and develop new, clean energy technologies -- from solar and wind to tidal and wave energy. I will also create a $1 billion Green Building Fund to improve energy efficiency in public buildings and weatherize 20 million low-income homes, including 84,000 in Hawaii. These initiatives will help protect our environment, lower energy costs for Hawaii's residents, and create good jobs along the way.
Altogether, my energy agenda for America will create at least five million new "green collar" jobs nationwide -- high-wage jobs that won't be outsourced.
Next, I will address Hawaii's teacher shortage and honor the promises made to Hawaii by the federal government. The gap between the funding promised for No Child Left Behind and the funding actually delivered is more than $320 million -- funding Hawaii could use to hire thousands of new teachers, provide high quality pre-kindergarten programs, and so much more. I'll also have an education policy that rewards schools that are succeeding, instead of punishing schools that are struggling. And I'll provide more flexibility so that school districts with very diverse populations, like those in Hawaii, will be able to meet their goals.
In addition, when I'm president, we will finally pass universal health care. When our effort in 1993 didn't succeed, I didn't give up. I worked to create the Children's Health Insurance Program, which today ensures 15,000 children in Hawaii. In the Senate, I passed bipartisan legislation to give our National Guard and Reserves -- including 5,000 people here in Hawaii -- access to the health care they've earned.
Today, I am the only candidate in either party with a health care plan that will cover every single man, woman and child in America -- no one left out. We will cover every one of the 110,000 uninsured people in Hawaii; we will lower costs for everyone; and we will provide tax credits to small business owners to help them cover their employees.
I will also fight for comprehensive immigration reform, including allowing Filipino veterans to reunite with their families and passing the AgJOBS bill to ensure Hawaii's agricultural sector remains sustainable. I'll advocate for our veterans -- for the health care they have earned and for a new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century. And I'll launch a major public-private initiative with states and local communities to attract tourists to the United States, which will help Hawaii's economy.
Achieving all of this won't be easy. But I'm confident that together, we can face Hawaii's challenges -- and seize its opportunities -- in this new century.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, New York) is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.