There were fireworks at the State Capitol Friday as lawmakers questioned Gov. David Ige and emergency officials over Saturday’s false missile alert.
State House and Senate committees held a joint informational briefing to find out what exactly went wrong during and after a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency worker accidentally sent out a ballistic missile threat alert to cell phones across the state.
HI-EMA has since apologized and said steps are already being taken to prevent the mistake from happening again.
During his line of questioning, Rep. Gene Ward was interrupted by Rep. Gregg Takayama, chair of the House Committee on Public Safety.
Takayama: May I proceed?
Ward: I’m not finished. I’m not finished!
Takayama: The senators are imminently beginning their floor session.
Ward: Chair, point of order, please don’t cut me off.
Takayama: This is an informational briefing, Rep. Ward.
(Lawmakers talk over each other.)
Ward: You’re not being reasonable. You’re not being reasonable! This is a national issue, and you’re not being reasonable.
Ward eventually tossed his microphone onto the table, got up in a huff, and left the room.
Later, he released a statement that said:
“After waiting a week for this hearing to take place, I was not allowed to ask more than one question. After I was cut off on my second question, I walked out of the hearing. I was going to ask General Miyagi if he was still on active duty and this missile alert happened on his watch under his supervision, what would he do as the commander of the unit—would he sack somebody, and would the Generals above him sack or transfer him? Maybe the Chair cut me off to not embarrass the General?
“I am disappointed that members were not given the adequate time needed to get our questions fully answered and I urge the respective Committee Chairs to convene another meeting in which the Governor and his Generals can fully be vetted by members of the Legislature.”
Ward said he was also “extremely disappointed” to see Ige leave the briefing early. The governor slipped out after 40 minutes.
Ige’s communications office tells us he “had previously scheduled meetings, courtesy calls and a phone conference. He rescheduled his morning because he wanted to attend the legislative hearing. The rest of his day was packed with appointments, as is the norm.”
The meetings had nothing to do with Saturday’s false alarm.