December marks the end of Gov. David Ige’s first year on the job.
It was a year of accomplishments and tough criticisms.
KHON2 asked Gov. Ige what kind of letter grade he would give himself for his first year in office.
“I would probably give myself a ‘B.’ There have been some challenges, but I think we’ve made progress,” Ige replied.
The progress Ige is referring to includes moving some of the homeless off the streets and into shelters, closing the deal to preserve land at Turtle Bay, and working to privatize management of Hawaii’s state hospitals in Maui County.
“How would you raise that grade to an ‘A’?” KHON2 asked.
“Well, I do think we’re well-positioned. This next session will be very critical. It really is about focusing on our priority areas, working with the legislature and all of the stakeholders involved,” Ige said.
Ige has been criticized for some of his decisions and comments, such as his comment about welcoming Syrian refugees to Hawaii.
“I don’t regret saying that. We are committed, working with the federal and state government, we work to ensure the health and safety of our community every day,” Ige said.
The Internet has given people a chance to voice their opinions, some anonymously.
“Every decision has a reason and I continue to take action I believe is in the best interest in the people of Hawaii. I do know that for every decision I make, someone will be supportive, and someone will not, and I know that’s part of the job and I embrace that,” Ige said.
When asked what his goals are for 2016, Ige replied, “It really is about remaining focused. We are definitely looking to improve the core government services, continue to work in that area. It’s about public education, affordable housing, diversifying our economy.”
One word to sum up his first year in office: “I would say rewarding. It really has been a memorable experience. There have been many challenges and many successes, and I look forward to continue serving the people of Hawaii.”
Gov. Ige on…
TMT: “I support the project. I think it’s very important. The opportunities that the Thirty Meter Telescope provides to the scientific community is very significant. We have been committed to being better stewards of Mauna Kea and I believe we need to do a better job of balancing culture and science on Mauna Kea.”
Homelessness: “More than half of the homeless up until this point have chosen to move into a shelter, so we know we are making a difference each and every day. The reality is that not everyone will choose to be off the streets and we will continue to offer them the opportunity to move into a condition that we think is better for them.”
Affordable housing: “For me, it is personal. I have three children and I want them to have the opportunity to choose to call Hawaii home. We are focused on affordable housing, and housing in general. We do know that part of the challenge over the last few years is that supply has not been able to keep up with demand. We are focused on state properties along the transit rail to begin with.”
His family: “It has been a big change for Dawn and I and the family. It takes some time getting used to a security, about living in Washington Place. I think Dawn has made a good transition. Sometimes it’s harder for the family to take some of the criticisms, but I think they enjoy the fact that we can make a difference.”
Re-election: “I am committed to serving the people of Hawaii and I will be running for re-election.”