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    Moanalua Lion Donna helps out at the Island Style Breakfast
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    Donna volunteers during Palama Settlement’s Going Green Recycling event on September 28, in which proceeds will go to support Palama Settlement's mission.
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    Donna and other community leaders celebrated the academic achievements of six Towers at Kuhio Park residents who have been awarded scholarships from The Michaels Organization Educational Education.
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    Moanalua High School's new Performing Arts Center was unveiled on September 23 during a grand opening celebration that included Band Director, Elden Seta, Donna, and other state officials.

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DONNA MERCADO KIM

A Strong Voice for the People

Aloha, Friends and Neighbors

Aloha:

Despite nearly 2,900 legislative proposals up for consideration this session, the 2013 Legislature kept an unwavering focus on several key themes I outlined as Senate President at the beginning of the year, including a prudent budget for the forthcoming fiscal biennium, support for educational priorities, and help for those in need.

While an economic upturn and healthy tax revenues could have tempted legislators to restore the spending cuts of recent years, the Senate and House exercised the fiscal discipline that should enable state government to provide essential services, without creating new programs or seeking new sources of revenue.

Some of the fiscal highlights included taking steps to address the long-term liability of the state’s pension system; approving capital improvement funding for schools, public housing, and other key projects in Senate District 14 and elsewhere; and replenishing the Hurricane Fund and emergency reserves to protect us against emergencies.  We will also be modernizing the state’s aging technology infrastructure to better serve the public.

We approved 293 bills, covering a range of services.  Money was allocated to help the homeless, specifically in the areas of health and social services, housing, and employment.  We will establish a school readiness program as part of an early learning system, start a pilot project to provide digital devices for students, and purchase materials for our public libraries.  We also hope to use public school land for public purposes that generate revenue to build and retrofit our schools and create more school-centered communities.

In the sustainability arena, the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Loan Program will offer low-cost financing to make green infrastructure installations accessible and affordable for Hawaii’s consumers, while low-interest loans will be made available to stimulate growth in farming and ranching.

Altogether, this was a very productive legislative session that will pay dividends for years to come.  Your counsel and input were vital in my decision-making, and I am very grateful for your interest and involvement.

Mahalo and best wishes,

Donna

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