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New Lieutenant Governor Targets Health Care, Education

Sherry Bracken

Monday is inauguration day for Governor David Ige’s second term. It’s also the start of the first term for Lieutenant Governor Josh Green — and he has several pretty specific plans.

Dr. Josh Green feels his medical background will help him tackle a number of issues.

“I intend to take up a serious discussion about gun violence. We’re seeing more gun violence and I see that as a public health concern. I don’t tread on peoples second amendment rights. But there has to be protection for people and we have to support our law enforcement. Mental illness and drug addiction is very serious and if someone has a gun and we haven’t done an adequate job helping them, we haven’t done our job as a society.”

Green has worked as an Emergency Room doctor on the Big Island for the past 20 years. For the last 14 years, as a State Rep and State Senator, he was sometimes at odds with previous Department of Health administrators over handling of issues like dengue and rat lungworm. Now, he plans to be a strong advocate on any outbreaks.

“I’m gonna be the first person on the ground, with the Department of Health. And that’s gonna be a big advantage, from an appropriations standpoint, from deployment of resources standpoint.”

Green also sees education and teacher retention as priorities.

“We do have to provide more resources to keep teachers but maybe some of those resources are already contained in the Department of Education, so a comprehensive assessment, audit, of the DOE, I think that’s coming. The Governor feels there are many millions of dollars that are not being captured through our tax system . . . illegal rentals . . . I’d like to see a hunk of that revenue go toward teacher retention. I’ve proposed some basic teacher retention programs, to pay back loans, to help teachers perhaps pay down their mortgages, so that they have very clear incentive to stay. These are the kind of things that can make a difference but it can’t be a dart thrown at the board. It’s gonna have to be a smart, solid plan. My office is gonna work on a deep dive into what education should look truly like in the 21st century."

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