(BIVN) – Help for Puna as it recovers from the recent eruption of Kīlauea Volcano on the lower East Rift Zone will be on the agenda for the 2019 legislative session.
Puna’s State Representative Joy San Buenaventura is already getting ready for a fight.
“I have the sense that there are people who think that we kind of asked for it,” Rep. San Buenaventura told the crowd during Monday night’s Democratic Party Grand Rally in Hilo, referring to the subdivisions that were knowingly developed in the volcanic area. But if it were not for Puna and its affordable housing, the state representative said, “there would be a lot more homeless in the streets of Hilo.”
“If it’s not for Puna,” Rep. San Buenaventura continued, “you look at your power bills. We have the only geothermal plant in the state that provides 25 to 35 percent of the power on this island. So, look at your power bills.”
“Look at your ahi, the sashimi,” which is a favorite over the Hawaiʻi holidays, she said. “Look at how high those prices are gonna be because we have the biggest ahi catch over in Puna.”
The Puna representative also talked about her districts contributions to the ornamental flower and papaya industries, and said “look at your grocery bills; they were all affected. So, whatever happens to Puna happens to all of us. And let’s not forget that.”
In October, the Hawaiʻi State House announced that there would be no special legislative session to address funding for Hawaiʻi Island as it recovers from the recent eruption of Kīlauea Volcano. The House said that the state legislature will instead consider funding requests for natural disasters during 2019 regular session.
Hawaiʻi Island candidate for state house, David Tarnas, agrees with Rep. San Buenaventura. “Puna is a place that we have to hold close to our heart… we have roots on this island that go down deep and they go down deepest in Puna so we have to work with Puna.”