The College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has selected state Senator Glenn Wakai and Representative Della Au Belatti as the 2016 Legislators in Residence (LIR). Established in 2002, LIR is designed to provide opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between policymakers and the academic community.
“We are honored to have Senator Wakai and Representative Belatti as part of the 2016 Legislators in Residence program, and appreciate the time they are dedicating to our students and faculty as part of this effort,” said Sharon Moriwaki, LIR coordinator. “Their participation in LIR is a tremendous opportunity to expand upon the college’s dynamic learning environment. It allows our students, faculty and staff to work alongside Hawaiʻi’s policymakers, explore significant issues facing our community, and examine ways to develop policies in response to these issues.”
Both legislators are eager to work with faculty and students to explore areas of mutual interest. Representative Belatti has already begun work with the Telecommunications and Social Informatics-Pacific Health Informatics and Data Center to implement the healthcare analytics project. The college’s Public Policy Center will facilitate the legislative oversight committee’s dialog on medical marijuana dispensaries. Senator Wakai is interested in various topics relating to innovation, technology, agriculture and economic development. If interested and projects emerge, both legislators are also open to continuing to work with faculty and students in the spring semester, developing policy and legislation for the 2017 Legislature.
Past LIR participants have explored a range of topics, such as the effectiveness and usefulness of tax credits, urban mobility alternatives, bi-partisan clean campaign, health insurance for Hawaiʻi; Sustainable Saunders project, Hawaiʻi 2050 Sustainability plan, long-term care, clean energy, new civic engagement models, history and outlook on civil unions and same-sex marriage and sustainable agriculture.