After a career has surpassed 50 years, most people may take time to wind down and simply put their feet up. George Ariyoshi, who held his first elected office in 1954, has strived to voice the opinions and concerns of the people of Hawaii, and that same inspiration continues to motivate the former governor today. Ariyoshi, who served three terms as governor from 1974 to 1986, was a member of President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on International Trade and Negotiation in the 1990s, and has served as president of the Hawaii State Bar Association, is now focusing his efforts on Hawaii’s youths and the importance of having their hopes, frustrations and attitudes heard regarding the future of politics and legislation in Hawaii.
Concerned about voting participation in recent years, Ariyoshi’s new book, Hawaii:The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years, was written with the intention of motivating and asking younger generations and future voters what they want to see happen in Hawaii in the decades ahead of them. “I thought the 50th year of statehood would give me a chance to talk about the accomplishments of the past, but more importantly I wanted to target young people, to tell them that the next 50 years is their future, and that they have to be active and participate to make a difference,” says Ariyoshi.
The state Department of Education and Ariyoshi have created the “Young Messengers of Hawaii” (Na Elele Opio Ko Hawaii Nei) High School Essay contest. Public high school and public charter school students are invited to submit original essays concentrating their thoughts on Hawaii’s future and what it will take to make their island home the very best place to work and live.
“We want to compile all the essays we receive into a book, submitting it to public, government, private and business leaders so they know what the youth are concerned about,” says Ariyoshi. “Hopefully they will pick up on some of these ideas and discuss them in legislation.”
Each student who submits an essay will receive a copy of Ariyoshi’s book. Overall essay winners will be announced and recognized at the State Capitol in January 2011.
Ariyoshi also is currently working with members of the University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business on a new book concentrating on the importance of appropriately managing public finances, especially during times of economic hardship.
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