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U.S. Sen. Schatz working on federal funding for Hawaii

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 01:50 a.m. HST, Jan 21, 2013

WASHINGTON >> It has been less than a month since U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz took office, and while he is still in temporary offices, he says he has settled in and is working to tackle big economic challenges facing the islands.

The biggest of those challenges is the so-called "Inouye cliff" — the drop in federal funds expected because of the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye and Hawaii's loss of seniority in the U.S. Senate.

Speaking to the Star-Advertiser Sunday from his Senate offices, Schatz said since being appointed to fill Inouye's seat Dec. 26, he has been building relationships with Senate colleagues, hiring staff and settling in. He said he has filled about half of the positions in his office.

Schatz, D-Hawaii, said there is "no doubt that there is going to be a reduction in federal spending across America" in the coming year.

He said the loss of Inouye's seniority in the Senate will be an additional impact for the islands, but added at this point it's unclear just what that reduction in federal funds will look like.

"It's not as if the federal government is going to go away," he said, adding, "We have challenges in front of us."

Schatz was in his offices to greet Hawaii residents (and a few reporters), and said he's excited to see so many islanders in the nation's capital for President Barack Obama's inauguration Monday.

Among those who dropped by his offices today to pick up free tickets to the inauguration was Czarina Amian, of Kalihi, who traveled to Washington, D.C. with five members of her family.

Amian said she didn't see Obama's inauguration in 2009, so she wanted to make it to this one.

Who knows, she says, when Hawaii will have someone in the White House. 

"I wanted to go to honor him," she said. "For the state, it's really, really big."

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false wrote:
on January 20,2013 | 11:30AM
1local wrote:
The fed has already taken from Hawaii - all paychecks in Hawaii in 2013 are already less thanks to Washington - the four from Hawaii will continue to move more moneyfrom Hawaii to Washington...
on January 20,2013 | 12:44PM
Kawipoo wrote:
Local Mok! Hawaii takes more than it gives.
on January 20,2013 | 03:22PM
serious wrote:
Incorrect, with the Jones Act we PAY!!!!
on January 20,2013 | 03:35PM
MalamaKaAina wrote:
way over his head!
on January 20,2013 | 02:54PM
islandsun wrote:
Good! Get hot, the military is already looking at cuts for Hawaii.
on January 20,2013 | 11:38AM
allie wrote:
No news here. Every senator is looking for federal funds.
on January 20,2013 | 11:51AM
turbolink wrote:
In the exclusive fund raiser last night, photos shown by Hawaii News Now made him look more like a frat boy than a senator seriously working on funding.
on January 20,2013 | 12:19PM
localguy wrote:
Sen. Brian Schatz would to well to do nothing. Taking the Nei off the federal dole, or at least greatly reducing it, would be in everyone's best interest. For too many years the Nei has gotten fat off federal funds, time to go on a diet and let the system work. Great time for the state to complete pension reform, moving to the Roth 401k for all state workers, protecting taxpayers from future increases. Will also make workers take responsibility for their pension, having to contribute does wonders for reducing wasteful bling spending. Time will tell if the Nei's bureaucrats finally get it or just do business as usual, maintaining our 4th world status, ward of the mainland USA.
on January 20,2013 | 12:15PM
Maipono wrote:
"Sen. Brian Schatz would to well to do nothing. " localguy, the "senior" senator will have exactly the same result, whether he works hard at it or not, since he has as much influence in the senate as Hirono.....none. And in regards to the guv learning something new, what was that saying about old dogs? He's still trying to find novel ways to raise the tax on all of us, by claiming its in our best interest, like the soda tax. Hawaii's future is bright, we just have to go through a fair amount of darkness first with this group of "leaders".
on January 20,2013 | 02:50PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Such a defeatist attitude!! (if correctly quoted by the Mary). With an attitude like that he is sure to fail. What a shame...
on January 20,2013 | 01:16PM
niimi wrote:
Yawn. No news here. Of course he's working on Federal Funding for Hawaii. Watch and learn, young ones!
on January 20,2013 | 02:09PM
serious wrote:
If you have never been to DC to see your representative, you MUST go to their office to register in order to get a seat in the audience at the senate or congress and you sit there to watch the debate. C Span has it right--they show the speaker only because there ain't nobody else present. And when I asked our rep about that she said all the bills are decided in caucus, the speaker just wants to get on the congressional record so he/she can send it back to the home state to look IMPORTANT. it's all a sham. And when you register with your rep, you are then on their mailing list FOREVER----at taxpayer cost!!!!
on January 20,2013 | 02:59PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Headline: U.S. Sen. Schatz working on federal funding for Hawaii

Guess what Sherlock.....that is your job. That's like saying Lex Brode working on fixing tires. Like Karen's kitchen working on loco mocos. Like Abercrombie working on getting ukus out of that beard. You get my point.

on January 20,2013 | 04:11PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Now serving number 96. Number 96? Now serving number 97...
on January 20,2013 | 07:14PM
soundofreason wrote:
Did you already call number 95? Cause I'm number 95............yada yada yada
on January 21,2013 | 08:10AM
sailfish1 wrote:
People cry and moan when congressmen put out bills laden with fat for their home state. But it's a different story when the fat comes to your state.
on January 20,2013 | 10:09PM
Mythman wrote:
Sorry, can't write anything - have to hurry down town to pay my property tax bill then come home to pay my state income tax and my federal income tax. Then I have to pay my homeowners insurance, my drivers license fee, and pay for my increased cost for my medical insurance for my employees. Did I leave anything out?
on January 21,2013 | 04:04AM
radianthawaii wrote:
Congress has failed us, and will continue to fail us, if they do not put the fiscal interest of the US in total, as #1 rather than their own state. We are in this fiscal mess because the system encourages those in Congress to be selfish for their own state. The bill is $16 Trillion, or per taxpayer it's $145,846. I want our congressional people to fix the fiscal problems.
on January 21,2013 | 05:29AM
soundofreason wrote:
"U.S. Sen. Schatz working on federal funding for Hawaii">>> Newsflash......."Brian". Govt has no money and by digging for some, YOU'RE becoming PART of the problem. Get back here and CREATE some jobs. ATTRACT companies to want to come to Hawaii to do business. DO something new at a time when OTHER states are lining up to CUT corporate tax rates for a better business climate to COMPETE for jobs against states with neanderthal mindsets, like ours, who have politicians going to "the Feds" to make up for their inability to make things happen.......for themselves.
on January 21,2013 | 08:08AM
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