Sugar is gone, as are many other aspects of the Hawaii we once knew. In their place, however, there is an exciting new world beckoning us. And that is what I want to talk about this morning—about this new world and the challenges we face as we govern—about doing things the right way to make things happen.
It begins with being truthful.
It begins with being truthful. We, in government, are obligated to be truthful, even when the truth is not easy or popular. When we live without truth, our actions fail to pass the test of time. Moreover, we tend to repeat our mistakes because we have not learned from them.
A few years ago, we saw the demise of the SuperFerry. Its failure has been attributed to environmental objections and a hostile court. But that is not exactly what happened. The fact is the state failed to follow the law. When we tried a legal end run, it also failed. The point is the state should have followed the law and done the right thing in the first place.
While the circumstances are very different, we are now going through some very difficult days with the Thirty Meter Telescope. When I visited Mauna Kea last April, I felt deeply that something was not right.
Even though I personally believe that the telescope needs to be built, it was also clear to me that many things have gone very wrong along the way. As a result, I have taken the time to listen to a lot of people—listening to their hopes as well as their concerns.
In its recent ruling, the Supreme Court did not say don’t do this project. What it did say was that the state didn’t do the right things in the approval process. It told us we needed to do a better job of listening to people and giving them a real opportunity to be heard.
The unrelenting search for truth, knowledge and understanding is an essential part of our human makeup. It helps us become who we are.
So does our obligation to be true to our past and cultural heritage.
That’s why it’s so unfortunate that our past and our future have been pitted against each other on the slopes of Mauna Kea. As Governor, I am committed to realigning our values and our actions. They are what define us as a community and allow us to move forward – proud of our past and facing our future with strength and confidence.
I am committed to pursuing this project and I hope its sponsors will stay with us. And this time, we will listen carefully to all, reflect seriously on what we have heard and, whatever we do in the end, we will do it the right way.