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Your input inspires us

One of my favorite parts about leading the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is that I have many opportunities to talk with our supporters, whether in person at our events or just out and about in the community, or over the phone or by email.

I have the pleasure of hearing a lot of worthy suggestions on a wide variety of issues, and I take each of them back to our team to consider. We even keep an ever-expanding list of all the issues we would love to get more involved in as resources allow.

I really enjoy these informal discussions, and our team appreciates the feedback we get on our work.

Hearing about what is truly important to you not only provides us with insights and stories that inform our work, it can help us build new partnerships and coalitions to advance our principles statewide.

In essence, we don’t know what we don’t know — and it’s up to you to tell us what we don’t know.

A recent example of this is how talking with doctors at our neighbor island events opened our eyes to how financially challenging it can be to operate private practices around the state, especially in rural areas.

As a result, we focused for years on communicating those concerns to legislators, and this year we can celebrate that they finally passed — and Gov. Josh Green signed — a bill to lift the state general excise tax on medical services covered by Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE insurance programs.

A huge part of our job, which we take very seriously, is to make your voice heard in Hawaii’s government, and our conversations with you help us do just that.

Of course, we have to choose our battles and figure out how to make the best use of the resources we have. That is true for any organization in our position.

But our influence and impact continue to grow year after year, thanks to your involvement and support.

As an organization, Grassroot testified 165 times on 98 different bills at the 2024 Legislature, and there were even more that we were tracking and would have commented on if necessary.

With a mission statement that calls on us to preserve and promote economic freedom, individual liberty and limited, accountable government, we could easily submit our thoughts on almost every single one of the thousands of bills introduced at the Legislature each session.

But we owe it to our principles — and those who support our work — to be successful in advancing our ideas, and that means having to choose which issues get our attention.

Even though it’s not feasible to take up every important cause that comes our way, rest assured that we are always listening to you — because at the end of the day, we need your stories to inspire our work. What we do to help Hawaii thrive and prosper means nothing without you.

Our success depends on your involvement, and we are so fortunate to have such passionate and involved supporters.

Even if we aren’t currently active on your favorite issue, please continue sharing your ideas and feedback with us. It’s one of the most important ways we can work together to improve our paradise for all.
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This commentary was Keli‘i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for June 22, 2024. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org.

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