When others think of Hawaii, they undoubtedly picture our brilliant sunshine. Crashing waves. Warm breezes. Lush vistas.
Because we live here, we know these aren't just visions in the mind's eye or images on a postcard. Our sun and our waves, our winds, and our landscapes -- together with our unique and diverse population -- are the characteristics that make Hawaii the crown jewel of the Pacific, the envy of nearly everyone not fortunate enough to call our state home.
These abundant resources also have the potential to make Hawaii less dependent on foreign oil and more independent of mainland energy sources. Lower our cost of living. Power our homes, our vehicles, and our businesses. And breathe new life into Hawaii's economy by creating the kinds of good-paying, highly-skilled local jobs no one can ship overseas.
With some of the highest energy and gas prices in the nation, Hawaii needs leadership that recognizes we can't sustain our over-reliance on imported oil or drill our way to energy independence -- but that, with the right policies and priorities, we can create new jobs and innovate our way to a clean-energy tomorrow.
Many of us remember scenes like that at the Republican National Convention in 2008 -- where Alaska's Sarah Palin and other politicians rallied the delegates with chants of, "Drill, baby, drill!" It showed those of us who believe in a cleaner, more efficient, more energy-independent future for Hawaii that some people just didn't get it. Because, in Hawaii -- we have a better, brighter vision of America's energy future.
With that future firmly in mind, in Congress I've fought to secure millions of dollars for research and development of local energy alternatives like bio-diesel and other alternative fuels -- a natural fit for Hawaii with our year-round growing season and abundant agricultural and water resources.
My push for clean energy and the jobs it creates also includes supporting incentives for more efficient, American-made cars and trucks that run on renewable fuels, and fighting to redirect the tens-of-millions of dollars in outrageous taxpayer subsidies Washington currently gives away to oil and gas companies toward production of clean fuels and energy-efficient manufacturing.
In Hawaii today, we look at our keiki and marvel: "They have so much energy!" It's so true. But when I look at Hawaii's children, I'm also thinking: "They can produce tomorrow's energy." The kind of clean, renewable energy that creates the jobs of today and the careers of the future. The kind of home-grown energy that powers Hawaii from within, makes our state more self-sufficient, lowers energy prices for our people, and preserves both our precious environment and our unique heritage.
In the U.S. Senate, I'm determined to continue reordering America's energy priorities -- moving us from an economy where fossil fuel exploration makes only a few people wealthy, to an economy based on renewable energy innovation that creates jobs for thousands of people here in Hawaii and protects our air and water for generations to come.