US Senate Committee Assignments for Hawai’i “Strategically Excellent”

January 4, 2013, 1:40 PM HST · Updated January 4, 2:33 PM
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Brian Schatz. File photo courtesy Maui Democratic Party.

US Rep. Mazie Hirono. Photo courtesy US Senate.

By Wendy Osher

United States Senator Brian Schatz today called his committee assignments “strategically excellent” for Hawai`i.

He was named as a member of three US Senate committees including: Energy and Natural Resources, Indian Affairs, and Commerce.

“I could not have asked for better assignments for the needs and future of our state,” said Schatz in a media statement today.

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Schatz said the Commerce Committee is important because of its breadth, covering infrastructure like rail and roads as well as the oceans.  “As we work our way through economic recovery and create the right kind of future for our state and country, this is a pivotal committee,” he said.  “I’m really looking forward to serving on it,” said Schatz, who notably is the only freshman senator to be named to the influential committee.

Sen. Schatz said his assignment to the Energy Committee will allow him to continue his work on clean energy and transition fuels. “I see this as a two-way opportunity where I can help direct financial resources to Hawai`i; and, as Hawai`i continues as a test bed for clean energy, focus the eyes of Congress and the country to what we are doing here. Ultimately we want to direct interest here and spur international technology development in the islands,” said Sen. Schatz.

Schatz said his membership in the Indian Affairs Committee is an assignment he wanted because of its importance to native Hawaiians and all the people of the state. “There is a lot of work ahead to attain what is right for native Hawaiians with respect to federal recognition, and I will do my utmost to build from the groundwork that has already been laid by Senator Akaka and Senator Inouye,” said Sen. Schatz.

Senator Schatz said he has not yet received subcommittee assignments, but will work to serve on those that are most relevant to Hawai`i.

“It may be cold in Washington, but I have received a warm welcome from Senate leadership and these assignments are evidence of a high level of cooperation that will benefit our state,” said Schatz.

Fellow US Senator, Mazie Hirono of Hawai`i will now serve on the Committee on Armed Services, Judiciary Committee, and Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Hirono released a statement today saying she is honored to serve on the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

“Hawai`i is home to the US Pacific Command and thousands of men and women who serve our country in the armed forces. Our military’s presence in Hawai`i not only plays a critical role in our national security but also in driving our state’s economy and supporting thousands of jobs in the public and private sectors,” said Sen. Hirono.

“I look forward to partnering with my colleague on the House Armed Services Committee, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, in preserving Hawaii’s important role in our national security. Our nation owes a tremendous debt to our service members and military families, and I look forward to fighting for them on this new committee,” she said.

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