Gov. David Ige stresses ‘moving forward together’ at second inauguration
Ige has struggled with attracting support from legislative leaders, many of whom openly supported his Democratic primary opponent Colleen Hanabusa.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
Gov. David Ige stressed the need for unity after being sworn in for his second term as governor in the rotunda of the Hawaii State Capitol on Monday, and suggested that the state is at a crossroads as leaders look to build a more diversified and sustainable economy driven by technology.
“If growth was the desired economic end in the 20th century, sustainable growth has become the mantra of the 21st century,” said Ige.
Ige was joined by his new lieutenant governor, Josh Green, who said he would dedicate his time in office to tackling homelessness and opioid addiction, and increasing services for mental illness.
Ige said that the state needs to continue to diversify its economy while focusing on sustainability. He noted that more than 50 years ago, Hawaii transitioned from a farm-based economy to one dominated by the tourism industry.
“And for more than a half century, it served and continues to serve us well,” said Ige. “Today, however, we find ourselves in a situation very similar to where we were more than a half- century ago.
“Our challenge today is to find ways to make all of our existing industries sustainable. At the same time, we need to nurture other means of economic growth — means that do not strain our resources, do not damage our environment or lower our quality of life.”
Ige said he believes the next great economic transition for Hawaii will be driven by technology, something that had not only created new industries, but also “infused new life into more traditional local businesses, such as food production and fashion.”
Ige also emphasized the need to build more housing for local residents and transform the state’s public education system, but offered few specific proposals. He said he would reveal more details about upcoming policy ideas in his next State of the State address in January.
The ceremony was attended by past governors, Cabinet officials and members of the public and included performances by the Royal Hawaiian Band and the Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus. Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole performed an oli, and Danny Akaka Jr. delivered the invocation. Ige and Green were sworn in by Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.
The theme of the ceremony — “moving forward together” — was emblazoned on blue curtains that adorned the outdoor stage.
“I know it sounds like a given, that we all work together,” said Ige. “But that is often easier said than done. Moreover, without that collaboration — as we’ve seen in our nation’s capital — it can easily lead to gridlock.”
Ige has struggled to attract support from legislative leaders, many of whom openly supported his Democratic primary opponent Colleen Hanabusa. Ige’s comments may have in part been a reference to those divisions.
“I am not asking for anyone’s blind support, but a willingness to keep an open mind, to leave personal agendas outside the door and to commit to an unyielding determination to work together,” said Ige. “I am asking that we debate openly and, yes, passionately but with respect for each other.”
Ige, in his most pointed remarks, took aim at President Donald Trump and his administration’s policies, many of which the Ige administration has actively opposed.
“There are some who talk about making America great again but who do not understand the source of its greatness: its broad and diverse peoples,” said Ige. “We are a nation of immigrants, and Hawaii is one of its brightest examples of what is possible when we work together, when we celebrate our differences and our common heritage. Our immigrant past offers a compelling lesson to those who believe that diversity weakens us as a nation.
“The decisions and policies coming from our nation’s capital today threaten the very core of our values here in the islands. When did it become OK to tear-gas men and women and children for wanting a better future for themselves?” Ige asked, referring to recent images of asylum-seekers from Central America being hit with tear gas along the U.S. southern border.
Green, a physician who served in the Legislature for 14 years prior to being elected lieutenant governor, emphasized that he would focus on homelessness, opioid addiction and mental health issues — areas he focused on throughout his campaign for lieutenant governor.
“In Hawaii no child should ever be homeless. No one should ever face addiction alone. No family should have to choose between buying food or buying medicine for a sick child, or fear that a loved one can’t find the care they need for depression or any other mental health crisis,” said Green. “We will start free clinics across our state to help those suffering the most among us who will give them a hand up out of despair.”
It’s not clear, however, in interviews with Ige and Green following the ceremony, where funding for those clinics will come from or what agency would be spearheading the effort. Green suggested that it would be driven by a joint effort between the public and private sectors.
Text from Hawaii Governor David Ige's Inauguration address on December 3, 2018 by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd