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Updates from Sen. Hirono

MEDIA RELEASE

Sen. Hirono Recognized as Champion for Children

The First Focus Campaign for Children, a national bipartisan children’s advocacy group, recognized Senator Mazie Hirono for her leadership on issues important to children during the 113th Congress (2013-2014).

“Lots of politicians talk about kids’ issues, but few back it up,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the Campaign for Children. “Sen. Hirono delivered for kids.”

In selecting Champions, the First Focus Campaign for Children noted leaders who introduced, co-sponsored, and voted for legislation to meet children’s needs.

In addition, the organization considered members who demonstrated extraordinary initiative by spearheading activities such as sponsoring hearings or garnering the support of their colleagues to improve the health and well-being of children.

In recognizing Hirono as a Champion for Children, the advocacy group cited her leadership to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation.

The advocacy organization recognized as “Champions for Children” 50 members of Congress for their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation.

An additional 50 members were recognized as “Defenders of Children” for their support of policies that advance the well-being of children.

For more information about past honorees, visit www.campaignforchildren.org

HIRONO APPLAUDS PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EXPANSION OF PACIFIC REMOTE ISLAND MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement applauding President Barack Obama’s proclamation to significantly expand the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument.

The expansion will create the largest marine reserve in the world.

The President’s directive aims to protect close to 490,000 square miles from overfishing and other unsustainable practices.

“President Obama’s executive order to protect a greater expanse of the Pacific Remote Island Area illustrates his commitment to preserve our planet’s natural resources. Research has shown that when marine environments are protected, the overall health of the ecosystem is enhanced, including an increase in fish populations and improved health of coral reefs,” said Hirono. “As we continue to understand the impact of human activity including climate change on oceans and natural resources, it is clear that we must work to mitigate impacts. Today’s proclamation by the President moves us toward responsible stewardship.”

HIRONO SUPPORTS BILL TO BOOST RESOURCES FOR COASTAL COMMUNITIES IN HAWAII

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono has co-sponsored the Digital Coast Act, which will authorize the next phase in coastal mapping at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Coastal mapping provides current data and training to enable coastal communities to make critical planning decisions and better protect and sustain natural resources.

“Protecting Hawaii’s coastal areas is critical to our environment and economy,” said Hirono. “The Digital Coast Act will allow NOAA to continue to build on its successful Digital Coast initiative which focuses on providing the public and private sectors access to a range of important coastal data. We have already seen the effectiveness of coastal mapping in tracking erosion of the Pelekane Bay and improving water quality in Koolaupoko. Expanding the Digital Coast initiative will allow scientists and community members to access data to plan for long-term coastal resilience including managing water resources, tracking changes along the coastline, and combating the threat of global warming.”

“Digital Coast and data and tools provided by NOAA have been useful to state, territorial and county agencies,” said Leo Asuncion of the Hawaii Office of Planning. “In partnership with communities and federal agencies, Digital Coast has been used in Hawaii and the Pacific region to perform a wide range of projects – assessing land-based threats to coral reef habitats, assessing vulnerability differences in tsunami evaluation zones, compiling natural resource data for development of watershed strategies, and capturing traditional knowledge to inform restoration planning. Digital Coast products are also being used by private sector firms in Hawaii for their land use planning analysis and documents or reports.”

“Communities need high quality data and tools for decision making in the present and planning for the future,” said Kristina Kekuwa, Acting Director, NOAA Pacific Service Center. “The Digital Coast puts all of that in one place where you can find the information you need, search through best practices, and get the technical assistance and training that you need in order to better manage our coastal resources and address the complex issues we are facing. Instead of spending time searching for the information you need, you can spend the time applying the information and learning from others to better address the complex coastal issues facing us all.”

“There’s so much data out there, that it can sometimes be daunting for communities to find what they need. The Digital Coast provides a user friendly website that communities can access to find reliable data and other tools to help increase their resilience and be ready for the challenges they face in the future,” said Kim Hum, Marine Program Director for the Nature Conservancy’s Hawaii Program. “But it’s not just about the data. The project also provides training to help translate all of that data into usable information for decision making.”

The Digital Coast Act was introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and is co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Angus King (I-ME).

Bipartisan companion legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Additional support includes: Continental Mapping Consultants, Quantum Spatial, Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department, American Planning Association (APA), Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), Coastal States Organization (CSO), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA), National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Urban Land Institute (ULI), Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS), and National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS).

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