Clinton Announces "Solutions For Hawaii" Plan
The Clinton campaign today announced a comprehensive plan to address the challenges faced by families in Hawaii. The plan includes creating a thriving green jobs sector, reducing Hawaii's dependence on foreign oil and addressing global warming, helping Hawaii's small businesses pay for their employees' health care costs, providing additional resources to address Hawaii's teacher shortage and provide high-quality pre-K, and providing the 100,000 veterans in Hawaii with the support and benefits they have earned through their service to our country.
"I am proud of the longstanding relationship that I have had with the people of Hawaii and have great memories of my time in the state. Since my visit in 1993 when I met with leaders and health professionals to learn how Hawaii could be a model for the nation, we have made great progress," said Clinton. "Today, through our work, more than 15,000 children and over 5,000 of the state's National Guard members have access to health care. As President, I will work to create thousands of green jobs, lower energy costs, make high quality health care available in Hawaii's rural areas and improve Hawaii's education system so that all of Hawaii's families can participate in the American Dream."
Hawaii is the most petroleum-dependent state in the nation, not only because of the state's reliance on petroleum-fueled power generation, but also because a vast majority of the state's consumer goods must be brought in over long distances by air or container ship. Hillary will invest $50 billion in a Strategic Energy Fund aimed at researching, developing, and deploying alternative and renewable energy, such as tidal and wave energy. She will also create a $1 billion Green Building Fund to improve energy efficiency in public buildings and modernize 20 million low-income homes, including 84,000 in Hawaii. These efforts will create 2,100 jobs in Hawaii, lower energy costs for Hawaii's residents and address the looming problem of global warming, which will erode Hawaii's majestic shores and threaten the economy if left unaddressed.
As President, Hillary will enact a truly universal health care plan that will cover the nearly 110,000 people in Hawaii who do not have coverage today and the thousands more who aren't satisfied with their care. Her plan will provide a tax credit to the 117,000 small businesses in Hawaii for providing health care to their employees and improve rural health care systems.
In addition, she will address Hawaii's teacher shortage and honor the education funding promises that have been made to Hawaii by the federal government. The collective funding gap between what was promised and delivered in No Child Left Behind for Hawaii between 2002 and 2007 is $321.3 million. That funding could attract thousands of teachers to address the shortage and much more.
Hillary Clinton has had a long standing relationship with the people of Hawaii. Since 1993, she has visited the state five different times.
Hillary's Solutions For Hawaii Plan will:
Achieve Energy Independence - Hawaii is the most petroleum-dependent state in the nation, not only because of the state's reliance on petroleum-fueled power generation, but also because a vast majority of the state's consumer goods must be brought in over long distances by air or container ship. Hillary will invest $50 billion in a Strategic Energy Fund aimed at researching, developing, and deploying alternative and renewable energy, such as solar, tidal and wave energy. Hillary's efforts will lower energy costs for Hawaii's residents and address the looming problem of global warming, which will erode Hawaii's majestic shores and threaten the economy if left unaddressed. The International Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations estimates a 7 to 23 inch rise in sea level by 2100 - an increase that would decimate Hawaii's coast, leaving, for example, only a sliver of land remaining above water between Ala Wai Canal and the beaches in Waikiki [Star Bulletin, 2/4/07]. Hillary will reduce global warming pollution by 80 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century; cut our foreign oil dependence by two-thirds; and create five million jobs through the process of transforming to a cleaner and greener economy.
Catalyze a Thriving Green Jobs Sector - Hillary will create a $1 billion Green Building Fund through which the federal government will make grants or low-interest loans to improve energy efficiency in public buildings; and weatherize 20 million low-income homes, including 84,000 in Hawaii, to improve energy efficiency and help homeowners and renters save on energy costs. The Green Building Fund and the weatherization initiative will generate approximately 2,100 new jobs in Hawaii and support efforts underway to retrocommission government buildings to save energy [Pacific Business News 1/21/08]. Hillary will also establish a goal of generating 25% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and making 60 billion gallons of home-grown biofuels, such as sugar ethanol in Hawaii, available for cars and trucks by 2030. And she'll help create a new generation of fuel efficient vehicles by raising fuel efficiency standards to 55 mpg by 2030, investing $2 billion in research and development to reduce the cost and increase the longevity and durability of plug-in hybrid batteries and offering consumers tax credits of up to $10,000 for purchasing a plug-in hybrid. These bold goals will stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship and, along with the major investments Hillary will make in developing alternative energy, provide a major source of new jobs for the 21st Century.
Launch a Tour America Initiative - Hillary will launch a major public-private initiative in partnership with states and local communities to attract potential visitors to the United States. Through this effort, the federal government will fund marketing campaigns to draw domestic and international travelers, create a Web site to promote tourism to the United States and disseminate information about American travel policies, in order to dispel any misperceptions about the difficulties associated with traveling to our country. Hillary recognizes that encouraging people to visit our country not only helps Hawaii's economy but also increases our exposure and standing in the world. When she is President, Hillary will work to make the United States a preeminent tourism destination.
End The Unfunded Mandate of No Child Left Behind The No Child Left Behind Act is not working for Hawaii's children, parents, teachers, and school administrators. Hillary wants to end this one-size-fits-all approach to education reform and start fresh. She will put in its place an education law that rewards schools that are succeeding instead of punishing schools that are struggling, and she'll provide more flexibility so that school districts with very diverse populations, like those in Hawaii, will be able to meet the goals laid out for them. Hillary will also honor the funding promises that have been made to Hawaii by the federal government. The collective funding gap between what was promised and delivered in NCLB for Hawaii between 2002 and 2007 is $321.3 million. That funding could attract thousands of teachers to address Hawaii's teacher shortage, provide high-quality pre-K, and much more. As President, Hillary will:
* Address the Teacher Shortage. Hillary will provide more than $2 million to help recruit and retain the best and the brightest to teach in Hawaii's toughest to staff schools.
* End the Crisis of Untapped Potential. About one-third of Hawaii's students don't graduate from high school on time. Hillary will bring proven initiatives like early college high schools and multiple pathways to graduation to Hawaii.
* Enact Universal Pre-K. Hillary will provide $43 million to Hawaii to help ensure that every child starts school ready to learn by creating a voluntary pre-K program.
* Make College Affordable. Hillary will double the federal college tax credit, to cover 86 percent of the cost of tuition in the 2008-2009 school year at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, for example; keep the Pell Grant on pace with the rising cost of college; and enact a Student Borrower's Bill of Rights to protect students against predatory student lenders.
Provide quality, affordable health care for all the people of Hawaii - When Hillary set out to achieve universal health care in 1993, she visited Hawaii to learn how it could be accomplished. Hillary said in a 1993 interview with NPR, "I want everyone in America to know that in Hawaii, we have a state which on its own has nearly achieved universal health care coverage for all of its citizens no matter who they are, where they work, or what their health problems are" [NPR, 7/13/1993]. Today, Hillary has proposed a plan that builds on those lessons by requiring large employers to provide health care for their employees. As President, Hillary will enact a truly universal health care plan that will cover the nearly 110,000 people in Hawaii who do not have coverage today and the thousands more who aren't satisfied with their care [U.S. Census Bureau]. Hillary's American Health Choices Plan will:
* Lower costs. Residents of Hawaii will receive a generous refundable tax credit so that their premiums never exceed a certain percentage of their income. In addition, Hillary has a comprehensive plan to cut costs and improve the quality of care throughout the entire health care system through chronic care management, electronic medical records, and prevention, and more.
* Support small business owners. Hillary's plan will provide a tax credit to the 117,000 small businesses in Hawaii to offset the cost of providing health care to their employees [U.S. Small Business Administration, 2007].
* Eliminate racial and ethnic disparities. Hillary will provide $50 million to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care by developing culturally competent clinical care programs and recruiting a diverse health care workforce. These efforts are especially important in a diverse state like Hawaii where nearly half of the population is of Asian descent.
* Improve rural health care. Almost 30 percent of Hawaii's residents live in rural areas where it is harder to find specialists and access high quality care [U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2008]. Hillary will launch a major recruitment effort aimed at bringing more doctors to Hawaii's rural areas. She will also increase the Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates to ensure that rural providers can sustain their practices. Rural areas traditionally have lower reimbursement rates and, as a result, have a harder time attracting health care professionals.
Expand Affordable Housing - Hillary also has a plan to address the lack of affordable housing in Hawaii and elsewhere in America through a $1 billion fund to provide federal support for state and local housing trust funds. The new federal fund will partner with organizations like Hawaii's Rental Housing Trust Fund, helping to deliver new affordable housing units for Hawaii residents. Hillary also has plans to make owning a home easier - she will crack down on unscrupulous brokers, curb mortgage lending abuses, and help homeowners avoid foreclosures.
Ensure a Sustainable Agriculture Workforce - Hillary strongly supports the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act (AgJOBS), which will ensure that Hawaii's agricultural sector remains sustainable by: allowing workers with a significant work history in American agriculture to stay here legally; and overhauling and streamlining the broken and cumbersome H-2A legal guest worker program.
Stand with our Veterans and Troops - Hillary believes that when service members sign up to serve our country, our country should sign up to serve them. More than 100,000 veterans live in Hawaii and too many struggle to access the health care and other support they need and deserve [Dept. of Veterans Affairs]. When Hillary is President, she will provide:
* Guaranteed, mandatory funding of our veteran's health care system. Hillary will ensure that our wounded heroes receive the level of care they need, the moment they need it.
* A new G.I. Bill of Rights for the 21st Century. Her plan would significantly expand educational benefits available to active-duty service members, Guardsmen and Reservists; it would make available low-interest, no-collateral microloans for veterans' entrepreneurial ventures up to $100,000; and it would enhance opportunities for veterans to purchase, build, repair or improve a home.
* Expanded Employment and Service Opportunities for Veterans. Hillary will increase funding for programs that link veterans with local job opportunities and training. Such as the Helmets to Hardhats program, which Hawaii opened in 2006.
Achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform - Hillary supports Comprehensive Immigration Reform that respects our immigrant heritage and honors the rule of law. As President, she will:
* Allow Filipino Veterans to Reunite with their Families. There are 2,000 Filipino World War II veterans living in Hawaii, most in their 70s and 80s, who risked their lives in service to this country and have been separated from their families for decades. These veterans were promised that they would receive full benefits as veterans, including the right to family reunification for the purposes of immigration, but they are still waiting to be able to bring their children here. The average wait for Filipinos to obtain a visa is 20 years. Hillary will remedy this situation as president. [Honolulu Observer, March 18, 2007]
* Codify the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. The Visa Waiver Program, which began in 1986, allows citizens of countries that are our friends and allies to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. For states like Hawaii which depend heavily on tourism, the Visa Waiver Program provides a significant boost to the economy. Right now, there is no permanent process to ensure that a country will be admitted to the program, even after it has fulfilled the necessary requirements. Hillary will codify this program and allow nations to become a member of the Visa Waiver Program once the rigorous entrance requirements have been met.
Protect Hawaii Natural and Cultural Resources - Hillary strongly supports President Bush's decision to designate the Papahanaumokuakea National Monument in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, and will continue to honor that commitment. She will also continue to support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's efforts at reef cleaning and reclamation, and the Department of the Interior's work to prevent overfishing. Hillary has witnessed the beauty and wonder of Hawaii's natural resources, and she will do everything in her power to maintain it for generations to come.
Hillary's Accomplishments for Hawaii
Hillary's agenda for Hawaii builds on her strong record of delivering results for Hawaii's families, veterans, environment and economy, for example:
* Hillary championed the creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). SCHIP funds in Hawaii pay for coverage for more than 15,500 children, mainly through Hawaii's QUEST program [Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured].
* As a result of Hillary's work with Senator Graham (R-SC), the over 5,000 members of Hawaii's National Guard have access to TRICARE, the military's health care plan, whether they are actively deployed or not [State of Hawaii Department of Defense Annual Report].
* The nearly 650 young Hawaiians that join the Armed Forces each year, along with members of the National Guard and Airmen from the state, now receive regular health screenings to detect Traumatic Brain Injury, thanks to legislation Hillary introduced [Department of Defense, "Population Representation in the Military Services"].
* In the wake of September 11, Senator Clinton worked to successfully extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for 2.8 million Americans. This legislation provided an additional 20 weeks of UI benefits for those impacted around the country by the downturn in the economy and injected $7.25 billion into local economies. She also supported extending the Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation program on several occasions. From 2002 to 2005, more than 18,000 people in Hawaii benefited from extended unemployment compensation [U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration].
* Hillary helped pass legislation to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,400 over the next five years (by 2012). She also enacted legislation to make Pell Grants available year-round so that non-traditional students could attain their college degrees faster. This provision was originally included in her Non-Traditional Student Success Act and was passed into law as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which was signed into law in September 2007. These changes will help the more than 13,000 Hawaii residents who receive Pell Grants [Clinton Senate office; U.S. Department of Education, "2005-2006 Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report"].
* Hillary helped to pass a law that has provided nearly $1.6 million in funding to clean up and revitalize contaminated sites throughout Hawaii including those in Honolulu and Kauai County [Environmental Protection Agency].