Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke’s Inaugural Remarks

DECEMBER 5, 2022


Good afternoon everyone. It’s so good to celebrate today’s inauguration with family and so many friends.  Governor Green and I would not be here without you, and it warms my heart to look out into the audience and see each and every one of you.

I am feeling so many emotions right now.

Certainly humility and gratitude.

But also excitement about the work ahead and the promise of what we can accomplish together

And determination to work with Governor Green to make life here better for all of us.

As many of you know, I came to Hawaiʻi from South Korea as a nine-year-old. I spoke no English on my first day of school, but was lucky to have a homeroom teacher at Kaʻahumanu Elementary who spent her own time — after school — every day tutoring me.

That experience — that kindnessshaped my life.

It helped me feel comfortable in my new home. It taught me that we can’t succeed alone. We have to work together. My teacher’s example, along with my mother’s lifelong dedication to caring for others, made me want to spend my professional life in public service. And I’d like to introduce my Mom, who came here from Georgia for today’s ceremony.

My years in the State House — and especially my ten years as Chair of the Finance Committee — solidified my belief that if we collaborate and work together we can solve the problems that we face.

In order for us to meet our kuleana as public servants, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor need to work with the state Legislature — with input from our communities — to drive the change we need. This became very clear to me as a lawmaker and it compelled me to run for Lieutenant Governor.

I am ready to serve.

Governor Green and I have agreed that my first areas of focus will be universal pre-school and statewide access to technology.

As a working mother, I know first-hand the importance of access to high quality pre-school and child care. We all want our children to enter Kindergarten prepared to succeed. But this urgent need goes beyond educational equity. It is a cost of living issue for many of us who cannot afford steep tuitions for the few coveted preschool slots.

The legislature has already provided funding for 2,000 to 4,000 new seats, which will get us off to a great start. I am pleased to be able to oversee the buildout of new or refurbished classrooms for our keiki, and eager to work with the Legislature over the next four years to provide enough seats for all of our youngest learners.

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that modern IT infrastructure and reliable high-speed internet are essential in a state that stretches over several islands.

Reliable internet can provide access to Telemedicine, high-quality distance learning and remote working.

Modern IT infrastructure can streamline state services and make them more accessible throughout the archipelago.

This is another area of change that I am excited to lead, as your Lieutenant Governor.

The theme of today’s inauguration is “huliau” which signifies a turning point.

I stand before you ready to partner with Governor Josh Green, with the state Legislature, and with our communities to drive the kind of change we have all wanted and needed for so many years now.

Now, let’s get to work.