Isle officials to attend stimulus talks in D.C.


POSTED: Saturday, March 07, 2009

County and state officials are continuing talks with federal officials in Washington, D.C., to get a better grasp of how local governments can best utilize funds from the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

City Council members Todd Apo, Nestor Garcia, Donovan Dela Cruz and Romy Cachola head to the nation's capital this weekend for the National Association of Counties' annual legislative conference.

Meanwhile, Gov. Linda Lingle is sending a representative to the White House next week for a conference called by President Barack Obama to discuss how best to spend money from the stimulus bill.

Apo said he has had some conversations with staff from the state's congressional delegation, but he is looking forward to discussing the package with federal officials in Washington who have been dealing with the issues firsthand.

“;The big piece that we're all looking for is a lot of talk about the stimulus bill and how that's going to affect the counties—what we can be doing to prepare ourselves and be prepared for those moneys,”; Apo said. “;There's just so much stuff and such a large amount of potential money, it's hard to say exactly what the questions are.”;

The meetings for the National Association of Counties run today through Wednesday.

The White House meeting is set for Thursday.

Officials say it is intended to make clear the need for effective, transparent and efficient spending of the money.

Each governor was invited to send a senior official to the White House event, at which Cabinet members and other administration officials will speak.

Lingle's office is sending Mark Anderson, deputy director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Anderson also accompanied the governor last month during her trip to Washington when she attended the winter meetings of the National Governors Association and met with congressional and agency officials about the stimulus bill.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann also traveled to Washington last month for talks with Obama and Cabinet officials meeting with a delegation from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.