Why Ed Case Should Vote Yes On Economic Sustainability For Hawaii - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Authors

Sonny Ganaden

Ernesto “Sonny” Ganaden serves as a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives for District 30 (Kalihi Kai, Sand Island, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, Halawa Valley Estate).

Amy Perruso

Amy Perruso is an educator who represents House District 46 (Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, Launani Valley) in the Hawaii Legislature.

We don’t need to be reminded: the pandemic hit Hawaii hard. Households across the state faced — and continue to face — immense hardships, including the loss of income and an increasing lack of affordable housing.

Opinion article badge

Restaurants and retail establishments shuttered. Our houseless population increased. We saw the ongoing climate crisis and sea level rise disproportionately affect the Pacific and our islands.

It is past time that Congress makes sustainable investments in our infrastructure and communities before it is too late. Fortunately, the Build Back Better Act now being debated in Congress makes those investments.

The bill is transformative; it will provide unprecedented funding to create stable jobs, expand affordable health care, reduce prescription drug costs, and invest in solutions to the climate crisis.

It establishes free universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old, expands access to free school meals (which state taxpayers currently pay for), and provides access to affordable child care for families who have struggled to remain in the workforce. It incentivizes affordable rental and single-family homes in our famously unfair housing market rigged for wealthy visitors and corporate developers.

Moreover, the Build Back Better Act is the largest effort to combat climate change in American history — an effort that would have real benefits for those of us who live in the Pacific.

Wildfires, Drought

In August, thousands of people were forced to evacuate after the largest wildfire ever recorded in the state blazed out of control on Hawaii Island. As rainfall has continued to decrease in recent years, drought conditions have led to thousands of acres being scorched, with farmers facing catastrophic losses.

This legislation, which invests over $550 billion in tackling the climate crisis, would make an enormous difference in our ability to conserve natural resources and save homes.

It is indisputable Hawaii needs these investments.

Perhaps most importantly, Build Back Better is not to be paid for by the middle class — it is funded by the large corporations that expanded during the pandemic and an infinitesimally small number of obscenely rich people, who will remain obscenely rich even after they are taxed appropriately.

The necessity of the Build Back Better Act is obvious. Yet our own Rep. Ed Case has been reluctant to help get this popular and necessary bill passed.

Last Friday, Rep. Case, along with four other conservative House Democrats who have been holding up Build Back Better finally pledged to vote on the bill — without watering it down — once he receives fiscal information from the Congressional Budget Office.

Rep. Case, it is indisputable Hawaii needs these investments.

The people of this state deserve the opportunity to have a reasonable cost of living, job opportunities for young adults, safe air and clean water, and the freedom and risk that comes with pursuing happiness. This is our shot to correct decades of divestment and make the transformative change we need, with the federal investment we undoubtedly deserve.

Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Column lengths should be no more than 800 words and we need a photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to news@civilbeat.org. The opinions and information expressed in Community Voices are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.

Read this next:

Hawaii’s Water Irrigation Systems Are Priority Infrastructure

Local reporting when you need it most

Support timely, accurate, independent journalism.

Honolulu Civil Beat is a nonprofit organization, and your donation helps us produce local reporting that serves all of Hawaii.


About the Authors

Sonny Ganaden

Ernesto “Sonny” Ganaden serves as a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives for District 30 (Kalihi Kai, Sand Island, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, Halawa Valley Estate).

Amy Perruso

Amy Perruso is an educator who represents House District 46 (Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, Launani Valley) in the Hawaii Legislature.

Latest Comments (0)

I'd bet that Rep Case will vote for the $778 billion defense bill,  The highly principled objection to raising the deficit seems to only apply to funding programs for the poor and middle class.The war in Afghanistan is over. Yet this bill includes $37 billion more than Trump’s last military budget and $25 billion more than President Biden requested.  No hand wringing over the hundreds of billions of dollars of cost overruns of DOD, which magically eludes independent audits.Additionally, the authorization will have a "competitiveness bill" attached that includes $52 billion in corporate welfare, no strings attached money for few microchip companies.Additionally, taxpayers will be asked to provide $10 billion for Billionaire Jeff Bezos, so he can take a joyride to the moon on his spaceship.The total price tag will be *$1 trillion* to be spent in *one* year.  The Reconciliation Bill is currently $1.7 bil and shrinking and will be spent over 10 years and is making up for money that in normal Congresses would have been already provided during the last 30 years or so.Rep Case's hypocrisy will be on full public display for all to see.

Frank_DeGiacomo · 1 year ago

Congress should have stuck with the 7 trillion dollars initially proffered. Why are we giving the military so much money every single year? We're ignoring the infrastructure and the average Joe of America. Tax the ultra-rich, and use that money to help out the 95% of Americans.

Scotty_Poppins · 1 year ago

Everything has failed that touches this administration touches. Why will this be different? It’s about control and this bill is simply a carrot hanging in front of us so that our attention is turned away from gas increase, food, shelter (rents), migrants coming across without being vaccinated, but we US citizen are being mandated.No carrot for me.

Faith · 1 year ago

Join the conversation


IDEAS is the place you'll find essays, analysis and opinion on every aspect of life and public affairs in Hawaii. We want to showcase smart ideas about the future of Hawaii, from the state's sharpest thinkers, to stretch our collective thinking about a problem or an issue. Email news@civilbeat.org to submit an idea.


You're officially signed up for our daily newsletter, the Morning Beat. A confirmation email will arrive shortly.

In the meantime, we have other newsletters that you might enjoy. Check the boxes for emails you'd like to receive.

  • What's this? Be the first to hear about important news stories with these occasional emails.
  • What's this? You'll hear from us whenever Civil Beat publishes a major project or investigation.
  • What's this? Get our latest environmental news on a monthly basis, including updates on Nathan Eagle's 'Hawaii 2040' series.
  • What's this? Get occasional emails highlighting essays, analysis and opinion from IDEAS, Civil Beat's commentary section.

Inbox overcrowded? Don't worry, you can unsubscribe
or update your preferences at any time.