The governors of California, Oregon and Washington on Monday announced a joint approach to reopening economies that they called a Western States Pact.

“Our states will only be effective by working together,” they said in a joint statement, according to The New York Times.

Hawaii is not part of that group, however.

“Although I am part of those conversations, Hawaii isn’t part of the plan because our state is not connected regionally or geographically with any other state,” Gov. David Ige told Civil Beat via an email statement. “The governors recognize the need to coordinate plans for reopening with neighboring states or there could be negative impacts.”

Gov. David Ige at a press conference on coronavirus on April 3.

Cory Lum

Like Ige, Govs. Gavin Newsom (Calif.), Kate Brown (Ore.) and Jay Inslee (Wash.) are Democrats.

On the East Coast, the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island “agreed to create a committee of public health officials, economic development officials and their chiefs of staff,” the Times reported.

All are Democrats except for Charlie Baker (Mass.)

The gubernatorial action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has pitted the states against the White House, where President Trump has stated — incorrectly — that only he has the authority to tell states when they can reopen for business.

In fact, the stay-at-home orders have been issued state by state and not by the president, a Republican.

It is unclear when the states will look to reopen, but the goal comes amid reports that infection rates may be plateauing and mitigation efforts having effect.

As for Hawaii, Ige said he will continue to “be part of the conversation and will at least be aware of the actions taken by other states, as we prepare and plan for our own eventual reopening.”

Support local journalism

Studies have shown that when local journalism disappears, government financing costs go up, fewer people run for public office, elected officials become less responsive to their constituents, and voter turnout decreases. Our small nonprofit newsroom works hard every day to present local news in a deep and transparent way, without fear or favor. We also rely on donations from readers like you to keep us afloat. The more support we receive; the stronger, more sustainable our journalism becomes; the more accountable we are to you. Please consider supporting our Honolulu Civil Beat with a tax-deductible gift.

About the Author