LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCE

1983 - 1994 State House of Representatives

Chair, Health Committee

Chair, Ocean and Marine Resources

Chair, Consumer Protection and Commerce

Created Hawaii's first Ocean Resources Management Plan

Co-created Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund

Only legislator appointed to the Governor's Task Force on Educational Governance

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1994 - 2010 State Senate

Chair, Housing

Co-chair, Government Operations and Housing

Provided funding to the Institute of Human Services for the homeless.

Worked for tax relief for the middle class by increasing Hawaii's standard deduction and adjusting tax bracket upward.

Worked to increase level of protection for Hawaii's environmental resources.

Senate President 2000 - 2006

Increased funding for affordable housing.

Enabling legislation to fund the Oahu Mass Transit project.

Establishment of the Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA) providing health insurance for teachers.

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Legislative accomplishments

Elected president in 2001, Bobby was the first Filipino American to serve as president of any legislature in the United States. He presided over the State Senate at a time when the Legislature was faced with the consequences of the devastating September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States. In the ensuing economic downturn, elected officials were challenged to implement measures that would help to lift the state out of the recession. As President, Bobby successfully led the Senate through six regular sessions and five special sessions of the State Legislature, a testament to his leadership and evidence of his ability to deal with tough situations.

Legislative Career Highlights

  • Increased funding for control of invasive species
  • Early intervention care for children and more inclusive care for the elderly
  • Advocate of Charter Schools as well as the establishment of more Middle Schools within the Department of Education
  • Sponsored Local Jobs for Local People legislation to provide more construction job opportunities on State and City taxpayer funded projects
  • Tax relief for Hawaii's middle class families
  • Increased protection for Oahu's North Shore Marine Life Conservation District at Sharks Cove and Waimea Bay
  • Improvements to aging irrigation systems on agricultural lands statewide as well as a periodic review of designated Important Agricultural Lands
  • Increased Disaster Emergency Preparedness and loss mitigation
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