Council Plans to Tackle Tough Issues

By Dan Murphy

Healthcare, education and the environment are always a top priority for citizens on Molokai. To make sure those needs don’t fall on deaf ears in Oahu, an island council appointed by the governor will try to tackle a few of those issues this year.

The Governor’s Council of Neighbor Island Advisors, made up of five Molokai residents, was created by Governor Linda Lingle to ensure that the needs of Hawaii’s smaller islands would not go unheard. They hold community meetings on a monthly basis where the public can come to share any information they think the governor should know about.

“Gov. Lingle created these councils to give us a stronger voice in the government. We report on major issues back to the governor. That has kind of been our mandate in the past,” said Council Chair Janice Kalanihuia.

Kalanihuia said the council leads discussion on these major issues and then relays them to governor through a state liaison who is also present at the meetings.

Along with hearing the concerns of the public, the council has also set out a list of issues they would like to tackle in the months to follow. Healthcare was made a top priority.

Kalanihuia and her fellow council members plan to discuss state health insurance and long-term care for the elderly soon. They plan to investigate the needs of Molokai’s schools and look into Molokai’s aging power plant as well.

In November, the group plans to address the recently proposed change in the insurance policy of a government employees union. The new plan requires members to fill maintenance prescriptions through a mainland pharmaceutical company rather than with the local drug store. The council hopes to gather enough information to present a strong case against the change to the governor.

Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month at Kulana `Oiwi and everyone is welcome to attend.

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