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This is a challenging time for all residents of Hawaii.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has been discussing the possible impact of the coronavirus for weeks. But even while advising caution in the face of a possible recession, we weren’t contemplating a situation where the Legislature had gone into recess and the governor began asking tourists not to come to the state.

What can we say when the situation changes by the day … and sometimes even by the hour?

To begin with, I want to assure you that the Grassroot Institute is still hard at work. That’s partly because years ago we started using technology that would allow us to be more flexible, with staff working as far away as Washington, D.C. That flexibility has made it relatively easy to transition our team to a virtual office at a time when “social distancing” is being encouraged — even mandated.

I’m glad to say that despite the stress of the current situation, the Grassroot Institute hasn’t lost a step in the fight to defend individual liberty, economic freedom and limited, accountable government.

And it’s a good thing we haven’t. In this uncertain and anxious time, we already are seeing many questionable proposals being put forth. Government often grows during large-scale emergencies, but our mission is to make sure that the government doesn’t get any bigger than necessary. What’s more, we’ll be here to ensure that it shrinks back to the proper size when the emergency has passed.

No doubt you’ve already heard rumors and horror stories from around the country about how some state and local officials have taken advantage of the situation to pass sweeping restrictions on individual liberties. Some people are using the pandemic to push forward proposals that would nationalize certain industries or impose sweeping new protectionist laws.

That’s why we need independent think tanks such as the Grassroot Institute — and local activists like you. We are the thin red-white-and-blue line between a reasonable response to the crisis and the imposition of economically disastrous or unconstitutional laws.

We recognize that these are extraordinary circumstances. But our constitutional principles did not disappear with the first confirmed case of COVID-19. There is a difference between rational measures to stop the spread of the virus and the imposition of bad, unconstitutional policy. You can trust Grassroot Institute to analyze these proposals, support the ones that make sense and expose the ones that might backfire, hurt the economy or unnecessarily restrict our civil liberties.

Last of all, I want to say that we’re in this together. More than ever before, it’s time to remember our motto: E hana kakou! (Let’s work together!)

We wish you and your loved ones health and safety at this time.