From July 22 to 27, I was in New orleans, Louisiana where I attended the annual National Conference of State Legislatures. I attended meetings, caucuses, and met with other politicians and leaders from the business and non-profit sectors. On the the first night there, I attended an organized dinner with the Hawaii delegation. In the middle of the dinner, a government relations businessperson took me over to another dinner hosted by the National Capital Coalition for Capital to stop by, which I did not RSVP for. I said “hello” to a young successful businessman I had become friends with over the years and a number of other businessmen and some politicians from other states. They surprised me with an award, the “2008 Champion of Small Business” from the National Coalition for Capital. I received the award and made a small speech.
Monthly Archives: July 2008
It will probably be years before I complete my strategy for compassion, happiness, and peace. However, I want to share at least some of it with you by August 8, 2008 or 08/08/08 because it is an auspicious day. Hopefully, by sharing with you my positivity on this day, happiness will reach all of you.
I just got word that I got endorsed by several business and union organizations. Also, since June 2008, I received several thousand of dollars from a number of donors. The cost of campaigning has steadily gone up over the last six years. I was hoping, I could reduce the amount of money I spend in an election, which is about $40,000 or more. I really feel uncomfortable spending so much money. Since there are a lot of potential challengers, it looks like I will spend a comparable amount of money to get my message out, therefore, I will keep up my effort to raise funds.
I am continuing my usual grassroots style of campaigning like I have done in the past. I can afford to lose 5 to 10 pounds but not 15 to 20 pounds like I did in the last 3 elections. This is the eighth time I have come to visit many of you. I have walked over 45,000 homes over the last 5 1/2 years. Mahalo for all your advice and comments.
I really appreciate your support. If you would like to help my campaign, you can:
Volunteer: Email me at email@example.com
Donate: Checks payable to Friends of Jon Riki Karamatsu and mail it to P.O. Box 970146, Waipahu, Hawaii 96797
Yesterday, I had a meeting with a couple of union leaders at the Ironworkers office.
I also met with a nice lady and her two nephews who are about to graduate high school. She read about me in the newspapers and wanted me to help motivate her nephews. I told the two boys about myself. I shared how I got involved in sports, community, business, law, and politics. Since everything I do is strategized and planned years in advance, I showed them my strategy book and calendar. I explained how I came up with my strategy to better Hawaii when I was in college. I also shared that life is full of ups and downs and challenges, thus, I gave them an advanced copy of my summarized strategy to achieve, compassion, happiness, and peace. It was nice to see how much their aunty cared for them. I wish many good things for them!
I attended many Filipino community events this year. Some of the notable events were:
1. Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Legislative Listen – January 2008 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii;
2. Hawaii State House of Representatives Filipino Caucus – About twice a month from January to May 2008;
3. University of the Philippines Alumni Association Dinner – Early Spring 2008 at Hale Koa Hotel;
4. I sponsored and presented the trophy to Ms. Terno Ball – Spring 2008 at Ala Moana Hotel;
5. Greeted Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. and a Philippine Senator at Philippine Consul General Ariel Y. Abadilla’s residence – April 2008;
6. Care Home Operators Meeting – Spring 2008 at Waipahu Intermediate School;
7. United Filipino Council of Hawaii Golf Tournament – Spring 2008;
8. Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s Filipino Entreprenuer of the Year and Scholarship Awards – April 5, 2008 at Hilton Hawaiian Village;
9. I sponsored and presented the bouquet to United Filipino Council of Hawaii Mrs. Hawaii Filipina – June 2008;
10. 110th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence – Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at the Honolulu Country Club;
11. Dedication of the Filipino House at the Children’s Discovery Center – May or June 2008?; and
12. Filipino Chamber of Commerce’s 54th Annual Installation Banquet – Saturday, July 5, 2008 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
I attended the Waipahu Hongwanji Bon Dance. I danced to the “Fukushima” song. I thought of my grandma Karamatsu when I danced. She used to dance with me and my sisters at the Jodo Shu bon dances.
Below is my speech for the Honolulu Central Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Festival of Religious Freedom. I freestyled so I went a little off the written speech.
Aloha and good morning,
My name is Jon Riki Karamatsu and I am a State Representative from District 41, which comprises of Waikele, Royal Kunia, Village Park and Waipahu. I am honored to be here today to participate in your Hawaii Festival of Religious Freedom.
Your festival gives everyone the opportunity to celebrate the importance of religious freedom, and to spread the aloha spirit, a spirit of hospitality and compassion. A unity of all people of diverse backgrounds makes us stronger in our quest to better our world.
I want to thank your church for all the work you do to teach compassion. I truly believe that compassion can lead one to happiness, and ultimately to peace within. When a majority of the people are compassionate, happy, and peace, a majority of the world will be at peace. That is how we can achieve world peace.
I have been a strong advocate for peace. In the 2007 Legislative Session, my Peace Day Bill, House Bill 345 was signed into law as Act 023 by the Governor on April 18, 2007. The law establishes September 21st annually as Peace Day in Hawaii to promote peace programs, improve international relations, and increase educational awareness of peace. I was inspired to create this bill after being approached by the Hawaii Federation of Junior Young Buddhist Association members, who presented a similar resolution to their state council. I chose September 21st because it was already designated as the International Day of Peace by the United Nations. I am looking forward to celebrating our second Peace Day celebration on Sunday, September 21st and hope you will be able to participate in our celebration.
I would like to extend my best wishes and warmest aloha to all of you. I hope you have a very successful and rewarding weekend.
Yesterday, I talked to a constituent in regards to the possibility of building a new school in our area. She used to work in Duty Free Shoppers(DFS) in the customer relations department and knew my grandpa Maurice Karamatsu who was vice president of that department.
Not to long ago, I met one of the former DFS presidents who is now an Honorary Consul General for Denmark. Another former DFS president attended one of my Peace Day Committee meetings in June 2008 and is now leading a non-profit corporation promoting peace. They were all friends with my grandpa Maurice Karamatsu.
Today, from 10:00 A.M. on July 11, 2008, I attended the House Finance Committee and Senate Ways & Means Committee Hearing on the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.
I had a lunch meeting with Rep. Ken Ito and a very visionary businessman in insurance, technology, and development.
Yesterday, in the afternoon of July 9, 2008, I also attended the Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality & Foodservice Expo at the Neil S. Blaisdell Center. Every year I attend this expo to look for new products for my business or just to see what is the latest happenings in the industry. There is another Douglas Trade Show that I attend that have more retail type products.
This morning, I welcomed the Waipahu Adult Education class to the Hawaii State Capitol. I greeted them in the House chambers. I talked about my background and legislation.
I made my biggest mistake in my life last year with my DUI. I called the police, stayed by my car, and cooperated with the police when they arrived. I really got blasted by the media and some individuals that remained anonymous. The media made mistakes in their reporting, took my quotes out of context, quoted politicians against me without citing their names, and one reporter through a political insider tried to link the situation of my palm pilot that was stolen to my DUI incident, which didn’t make sense. In politics and entertainment, everything is magnified and sensationalized by the media. Opponents capitalize on any sign of weakness. Dissappointed with myself, I resigned as Vice Speaker of the House with the blessing of Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say. I still feel really bad about my mistake. I have increased my reflection on myself.
Following my DUI incident, a number of high profile people got into DUI incidents such as television actor Daniel Dae Kim who helped me raise donations for the Sex Abuse Treatment Center, local entertainer Kimo Ka’ahoano who I met through mutual friends and we participate in many events, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee John Waihe’e IV, a friend of mine who helped support my bill that became law supporting the Ni’ihau shell lei-makers, my colleague Senator Ron Menor who has helped me on a number of my legislation, especially in the area of renewable energy. The only person I did not meet was playwriter Lisa Matsumoto who had done wonderful plays that lifted the spirits of our community. Maybe if there was more time, I would have met her?
I converted all the negative energy towards working on laws and appropriations for my community and state. I passed five personal bills: 1. Protection of personal information by the government; 2. Harassment by impersonation; 3. $35 million in special purpose revenue bonds for Sopogy Inc. to build a solar farm on Oahu; 4. Requiring tow trucks to drop your car if you arrive on the scene; and 5. $1 million for resort beach restoration that requires private sector matching funds. I also got appropriations for my community that were not released by the governor, re-authorized in the budget bill. I worked on two constitutional mandates that has not been resolved since 1978. We came close to defining the 20% revenue from ceded lands. Most importantly, we triggered the process in identifying important agricultural lands.
I reflect back to May 29, 2005. I was feeling disenchanted with politics after getting worn down by several House chairs and a couple of senators who lost their temper. I was also exhausted with the power jockeying of the dissidents in the House who were in control of the three most powerful committees at the time. Financial and personal stresses were on my shoulders as well. Finally, people that were negative really drained me further. I was at a nice gathering with my friends John Waihe’e IV and Jennifer Waihe’e at their parents’ house. Late in the evening, Governor John Waihe’e came in to greet everyone. My friend Brandon and I had a nice talk with the governor until about 3:00 A.M. in the morning. He said things that really re-inspired me to keep working hard for my community, Hawaii, and my country.
Fast forward to the early morning of July 9, 2008. I was looking forward to the groundbreaking of Sopogy Inc.’s groundbreaking of their solar farm. I helped them by authoring a $10 million special purpose revenue bond bill that can be used in building their solar farm. I was pleasantly surprised to see Governor George R. Ariyoshi at the airport with Darren Kimura, President and CEO of Sopogy Inc. I have met the governor numerous times. My mom told me that when I was a toddler, I was playing with a toy at a hotel and it rolled in front of Governor Ariyoshi and I ran to grab it, stopping the governor in his tracks. In 1997, I went to get the governor’s book and his signature at a book signing at a bookstore at Ala Moana Shopping Center. He signed it and stated that my grandfather Maurice Karamatsu was a good friend of his. As a politician, I have seen the governor many times a year. I also became friends with his son Ryozo soon after I got elected, after meeting him at the Consul General of Japan’s residence for an event celebrating the Emperor of Japan’s birthday.
Talking with Governor R. Ariyoshi really inspired me. I am so impressed with his career as a World War II veteran in the military intelligence service, State Senator, Lt. Governor, Governor, attorney, president of the East West Center, and businessman in banking, gas, real estate development and investment, and consulting. Recently, he has done business in computer data management, health products, and medical research just to name a few. He has done so much for the state in government and business. I told the governor, “You should write another book, part II.” He laughed. By 2009, the 50th anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood, he hopes to write his vision for Hawaii for the next 50 years in hopes that he can inspire the youngest generation.
Governor Ariyoshi is probably the most diverse leader I have met so far. He has made a positive impact on everything, politics, business, and community. He told Darren and I, entrepreneurs don’t reach their goals in a straight line. There are many failures. Those that succeed, reach their goals in zig zag lines. He motioned his hand in a zig zag manner. We learn from our mistakes and we find a way to reach our goals.
Governor Ariyoshi told me a children’s story printed in an elementary school book in Japan. There was a boy and his friends that would often walk pass this house where the dog would always bark at them. One day, his friends started throwing rocks at the dog. The boy stopped his friends and told them that the dog is only making a warning of their presence. “That boy was me,” he said. “Kindness,” the governor stated with a smile. Reading between the lines, I wanted to believe that the governor was talking to me. Some people bark because it is in their nature. I have to do my best to be kind to even those barking at me.
Waiting at the Kona airport on our way back to Honolulu, Governor George R. Ariyoshi mentioned his opponents and how they attacked him. “I didn’t respond,” he said, “It (the attacks) disappears.”
Tonight, Maureen Andrade, President of the Village Park Association did a wonderful job in coordinating a presentation on the mass transit system. The meeting was very informative. It was nice talking with a number of the residents in our community. Also, one of the presenters also participated in Peace Day Hawaii 2007.
This morning I caught a flight to Kona, Hawaii for Sopogy Inc.’s groundbreaking for their solar farm at the Natural Energy Labaratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). I played a small role by authoring a bill that was passed in 2007 authorizing $10 million in special purpose revenue bonds to help the company develop a solar farm on the island of Hawaii. The legislature and the governor were supporters of the measure as well. The bonds haven’t been used yet but are available for usage in the future.
Sopogy Inc.’s President and CEO, Darren Kimura is very bright and great to work with. I truly believe he is one of the up and coming leaders for not just Hawaii but for the global economy.
The technology they will provide is called concentrated solar power (CSP), which uses the heat of the sun to produce energy otherwise known as solar-thermal energy. The technology can be used to create process heat, solar air conditioning or electrical power. Phase 1 and 2 of the project will create a 500 kilowatt system. Eventually, they will expand to a 1 megawatt system. In the long run, they want to have a 10 megawatt system. The panels are smaller than the technology used on the mainland United States and are made to be resistant to Hawaii’s salt water air. They hope to power into the grid and displace our reliance on fossil fuels to produce energy for our homes, buildings, and facilities. There are many more possibilities for the future such as powering fuel cells that can be used in backup generators, cars, homes, and electronic equipment.
Governor George R. Ariyoshi was also on the trip with Darren Kimura and I. The company had Governor Ariyoshi and I say a few words. The governor had the vision to create NELHA in 1974.
I believe Sopogy Inc. will play a huge role in the renewable energy industry in Hawaii and the world. I was so honored to be a small part of this process.
Today, we overrode a number of bills vetoed by the governor. One of the bills, was the indentity theft bill, Senate Bill 2803, Senate Draft 1, House Draft 1, Conference Draft 1, which I co-sponsored with Sen. Carol Fukunaga to help protect personal information from identity thieves.
Yesterday, July 7, 2008, a constituent who I met at a Waipahu Town Meeting I coordinated years ago, blessed my capitol office and truck using blessed water in a Koa bowl. She and I have become friends since then. In January 2008, I also got a blessing of my capitol office from Shinnyo-en.
I had a meeting with a constituent who is also a teacher at Waipahu High School. He is working on a project that encourages people to serve the community. I shared some of my experiences volunteering for non-profit corporations that serve our community.
We had our bi-weekly Peace Day Hawaii Committee meeting that afternoon.
In the evening, I met with two friends that I have worked with on legislation and campaigns.
I did some work at Borders and watched the fireworks with a friend on the grass in front of the IBM Building. The fireworks were great!