WASHINGTON — Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz’s office announced Monday that he will be the head of an appropriations subcommittee focused on transportation, housing and urban development.

The news highlights what it means for the Aloha State when Democrats are in power in Washington.

Schatz will now have even more influence over how federal dollars are spent when it comes to addressing homelessness and public transit, both of which are major issues in the islands.

Senator Brian Schatz at Honolulu Civil Beat offices
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz is in a prime position to bring even more federal dollars to the islands. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“We need to rethink the way we invest in our communities,” Schatz said in a statement. “I’m committed to making sure we are putting money where people need it most. That means more support for affordable housing, climate resiliency, and safer and more efficient transportation systems.”

Schatz has been a member of the Appropriations Committee for several years, which has helped him steer billions of dollars in federal funding to Hawaii.

With Democrats retaking the majority in the Senate, he will also serve as the chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, which means he should be able to better address issues related to Native Hawaiians, whether health care and education or housing.

Schatz is also the chairman of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, which last year issued a lengthy report outlining plans to reduce carbon emissions, bolster economic growth in renewable energy and take on the special interests that for years have worked to undermine those efforts.

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