Preparing to move into governor’s mansion, Green doesn’t regret any decision he’s made as LG

In a recent interview, he reflected on his past four years serving as lieutenant governor.
Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 1:31 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2022 at 6:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In less than two weeks, Hawaii will have a new governor. Josh Green’s inauguration will be held Dec. 5.

In a recent interview, he reflected on his past four years serving as lieutenant governor.

Green says when he was elected to the office that people told him the job was a waste of time.

“That was not true at all,” he said.

Green says those comments were part of what drove him to really try and create something of the position.

No matter what your opinion is about the lieutenant governor, one thing that’s hard to dispute is that he’s a communicator.

Throughout the pandemic, his daily whiteboard briefings posted on social media were a constant source of current information at a time when everyone had questions.

“This is communication in its most raw form,” Green said. “These are people, this is our state. This was our crisis. So communication mattered.”

At times, Green was criticized for saying too much and releasing information too early.

When asked if he’d change any of that Green said, “No way on earth. People didn’t know what it (COVID) was. They didn’t know if it was going to affect their lives or threaten their lives. So having data gave people a sense of ok, I can better control what’s going to happen to me.”

Hawaii News Now asked Green if there was a decision that he made that he would change.

The lieutenant governor responded, “I don’t regret any decision actually, that I made. There were moments that I know I challenged authority. And I know that gave some people heartburn, but I wouldn’t change it. Because the times I did it we were facing really large consequences if we didn’t take action.”

It wasn’t the first time Green found himself on the front lines during a national emergency.

Just six weeks prior to the start of COVID, Green spearheaded a medical mission to Samoa.

At the time, the country was in the grip of a deadly measles outbreak that killed 83 people — most of them children.

“Within four days we put together the project,” Green said. “People donated the planes and the fuel and the vaccines and the time they had.”

In just 48 hours, a team of about 70 local doctors and nurses administered 37,000 vaccines.

Green says it’s that mission, along with the COVID pandemic, that provided him with the foundation he believes he needs to lead at the next level.

“To work on the project. And to work on the (COVID) crisis. That prepared me to be governor honestly,” Green said.

During his four years as lieutenant governor, Green also focused much of his attention on issues surrounding homelessness.

In 2019, he pitched the idea of building kauhale: master-planned communities for people who would otherwise be on the street.

Green said, “It’s a way to shelter people and do harm reduction.”

The first one went up in Waimanalo.

That village is made up of 17 tiny homes. Many of the residents who live there used to camp at the beach park across the street.

In Kalaeloa, what was once a homeless camp off Yorktown Street became the state’s second kauhale.

Called Kamaoku, the village is made up 37 tiny homes, pavilions, and other common spaces with shared amenities.

It’s an example of what’s possible when you combine government land, generosity and a group of determined developers. Unlike most housing projects, well over half of this entire community was paid for through donations.

“You do this 10 times over you start solving the problem of homelessness in our state,” Green said.

Green told HNN his top priority as governor will be housing saying he plans to take immediate action on the issue as soon as he takes office.