Hawaii Must Lead – Thinking Global, Acting Local

by Gary Hooser

The 2024 legislative session is over.

Thousands of bills were introduced, and hundreds were passed into law.

Surprisingly, state lawmakers took a meaningful step in the right direction on what I believe is the most important issue of our time.

During the final weeks, the legislature debated and passed SCR13, a Resolution stating Hawaiʻi’s official position on war and peace in Israel and Gaza – supporting a full and permanent ceasefire in the region.

SCR13 was introduced by State Senator Maile Shimabukuro and supported by well-organized grassroots citizen advocates.

Regular folks in the community helped write the early drafts and then pushed hard, and kept pushing hard, and then pushed hard again, and again – until the Resolution was passed.

Our legislators took a rather bold step by passing the Gaza ceasefire Resolution and we should thank them profusely for that.

We should say mahalo plenty, and we should ask them to now go a step further and declare their support for reducing the U.S. military footprint globally – starting here at home with closing down completely the U.S. Army Pōhakuloa Training Area on the Island of Hawaiʻi, and the lands at Kahuku, Kawailoa-Poamoho, and Mākua.

The same request must be made to our 4 member Congressional delegation as well.

Hawaiʻi can, should, and must say officially and out loud what most people are thinking in every corner of our world.

“Thinking global and acting local” is more relevant now than ever before.

We must get off this dangerous path of mutual destruction. Our global conversation must shift to discussions of peace, diplomacy, mutual aid, and friendship.

If you’ve read this far, then it’s clear we share a common goal – to help make our community and our planet a better place.

So please, help me with these two “next steps.”

First: Contact our 4 person Hawaiʻi Congressional delegation and ask them to support ending the military leases at Pōhakuloa, Kahuku, Kawailoa-Poamoho, and Mākua.

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono 808-522-8970,
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz 808-523-2061
U.S. Rep. Ed Case (CD1 urban Oahu) 808-650-6688 
U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda (CD2 rural Oahu, neighbor-islands) 808-746-6220

Next: Identify your district State Representative and Senator and reach out to them with the same message. Here’s an easy tool if needed: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/fyl/ 

Remind them if necessary that there are already 14 different military bases in the islands, over 750 U.S. military bases in at least 80 countries around the world, and the U.S. spends more money on guns, bombs, missiles, ships, and soldiers, that any other country on the planet – more than China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, the U.K., Germany, France, South Korea, Japan, and Ukraine combined (according to globalaffairs.org).

Remind them also about the thousands of acres of once pristine Hawaiʻi lands now littered with unexploded ordinances and the discarded toys of war.

Show them the recent headlines detailing the contamination of our drinking water, the travesty that defines Red Hill, and the long list of broken promises made by the U.S. Military.

Please take note of their response. Call them back a second, or third time if necessary to get one.

Every single person serving in public office will say they support affordable housing, education, and environmental protection. It’s only a rare few who will have the courage necessary to publicly support reducing the U.S. Military’s footprint in our islands. 

And those few are the ones we desperately need.

GARY HOOSER is a former Hawaiʻi State Senator and Majority Leader.

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