People of Molokai Good-hearted

A response to Senator Kalani English’s March 5th contribution, “The View from Outside”
Opinion by Senator Fred Hemmings

I would gladly meet with Senator English in an open and honest debate to discuss his recent comments made in the Opinion Section of the Molokai Dispatch.

The people of Molokai are overwhelmingly a good hearted and hard working people. I know Molokai as I know all our islands. I've slept under the stars at Hale O Lono and sought refuge in a cave at Papalua Valley where I have heard the winds whisper of ancient Hawaii. I've paddled a canoe from Molokai to Oahu in the most tumultuous seas. My friendships with many of the wonderful people of Molokai are deep and enduring, hence, my aloha for them, but not for the handful of malcontents that are destroying many good lives on Molokai.

Molokai suffers a disproportionate amount of social and economic problems. December 2008 statistics from the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services show that there are 2088 people on Molokai receiving Financial and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance. With an approximate population of 7,000, this means that roughly 30 percent of the people living on Molokai are receiving public assistance. The many other problems the people of Molokai face are due in large part to a lack of economic opportunity.

Unfortunately, I continue to believe that a handful of rebels and malcontents are holding the people of Molokai hostage, resulting in these economic and social hardships. Certain politician's tactics and failures to address these issues throughout the years continue to sustain the status quo. It is my belief that we cannot yield the future of Molokai to a small group of rebels and political antagonists. Life could be so much better for all the people of Molokai. I truly believe we can advance our mutual interest by enlightened leadership, change, and rekindling the passions of hope.

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