Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, November 12, 2001

Big Island senator defends
golf trip during special session

A Big Island senator defended her decision to miss four days of the recent special session to go on a planned golfing vacation in Nevada.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye left for four days during the 10-day session to play golf with friends in Reno. The session called by Gov. Ben Cayetano to address the state's economy began Oct. 22 and ended Friday.

Inouye (D, Hilo-S. Kohala) told West Hawaii Today last week that she flew to Reno for an annual gathering of Hawaii expatriates.

"We had already made plans for our vacation before Sept. 11, and we felt that during these critical times, supporting the airlines during this time was the best thing to do," Inouye said. "This also gave me a good idea of how hard it is to travel now."

Inouye said she thought about canceling the trip, but said she realized she could miss part of the session while fulfilling her duties as a senator and co-chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Water, Land, Energy and Environment.

"We (Democrats) had already agreed on our package during the first two days," Inouye said. "And we got back for the last four days."

As committee co-chairwoman, Inouye held a resolution that would have allowed the privatization of Ala Wai Harbor on Oahu and Honokohau Harbor on the Big Island.

Inouye said she was against passing the measure without proper testimony and would reconsider it during the regular session that begins Jan. 16.

Governor gives thanks: With the war in Afghanistan as a backdrop, Gov. Ben Cayetano is encouraging Hawaii citizens to remember the sacrifices made by the men and women in the U.S. armed forces.

"Once again, we have had to call upon the brave men and women of our military to enter foreign soil in defense of our country," Cayetano said in his Veterans Day message. "They have answered this call without hesitation, and we are eternally grateful to them."

Cayetano said that technology has changed the face of war, but members of the military share the same sense of patriotism.

"Our ideals and way of life have been preserved for over two centuries only by the heroic measures of citizens willing to sacrifice their lives."

School accountability: The Department of Education will hold a series of public meetings beginning tomorrow to get feedback and community participation on a proposed school accountability plan.

Meetings will be held tomorrow at Wilcox Elementary on Kauai, Wednesday at Kealakehe High School in Kona, Thursday at Washington Middle School on Oahu, Nov. 19 at Maui Waena Intermediate School, Nov. 20 at Hilo Intermediate School, Nov. 26 at Lanai High and Elementary School, and Nov. 28 at Kaunakakai Elementary on Molokai.

All meetings begin at 7 p.m.

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