Gabbard Praises Hawaiʻi Leaders for Lava Flow Response

November 19, 2014, 9:08 AM HST · Updated November 19, 1:02 PM
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  By Wendy Osher

***Video Courtesy US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard today honored Hawaiʻi County leaders Mayor Billy Kenoi and Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira for their work in response to the June 27th lava flow in Puna on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi during an address before the US House of Representatives today.

Gabbard visited the Puna area several times since the June 27th lava flow began.  During her visits, she met with local residents, small business owners, and officials, to assess preparedness, property and infrastructure damage.  She also did service as a volunteer for state active duty with the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard in Pāhoa earlier this month.

US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy image.

US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy image.

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“I want to take this opportunity to highlight two courageous leaders who’ve been the heart of a very strong, resilient community who face an uncertain future as the Kīlauea lava flow continues slowly and steadily toward their homes, their businesses and their community,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during her floor address.

Gabbard said Mayor Kenoi and Oliveira, “have shown incredible leadership” in their response to the flow, which has been making a steady march toward Pāhoa over the past five months.

Pāhoa residents also faced a trio of natural disasters in recent months including impacts of Hurricane Iselle, Tropical Storm Ana, and the June 27th lava flow.

“All three of these natural disasters have been punishing on this community of Puna, whose residents continue to unite and show optimism even with this uncertain future,” Congresswoman Gabbard said.

“Billy and Darryl’s tireless work and strong leadership has kept people safe, informed and prepared, even as Mother Nature, through Madam Pele, runs her course. Mahalo to Mayor Kenoi and Chief Oliveira. We stand ready as your partners to support the community we both serve, and we are grateful for your unwavering commitment to them,” Gabbard said during her floor address.

Also today, Rep. Gabbard attended a hearing hosted by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources that included discussion on volcano preparation and response.  The hearing included testimony from Hawaiʻi State Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito and Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira.

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