Better Government with Representatives Ward, McDermott and Fale

Host Representative Gene Ward welcomes Representatives Bob McDermott and Richard Fale to the Hawaii State House of Representatives



Help Us Support Operation Outreach Afghanistan

By Representative Richard Fale            November 27, 2012

It has been a busy several weeks since Election Day and I appreciate all of you who have sent your warm regards and best wishes. I am truly thankful to have the opportunity to serve these communities and to have such wonderful supporters like you.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, I wanted to ask for your support for something that is very dear to my heart.  A very good family friend of ours is serving the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan.  His wife, Sepi, is helping to raise awareness for Operation Outreach Afghanistan, a group of volunteers including both military and civilians who are spend their time helping improve the lives of Afghanistan’s children.  She has set a goal of gathering 10 boxes full of donations to send to this wonderful cause.

Would you consider spreading the word about this noble cause and helping collect donations of school supplies, including pens and pencils, crayons, notebooks and backpacks as well as blankets to send to Afghanistan?  You can contact me or Sepi Davis at to coordinate a drop off of the materials by the end of this week.

Having served in the Middle East as a solider for the U.S. Army, I know how incredibly meaningful it is to have the support of your family and country back home.  I remember vividly seeing a father walking his little girl to school with a large gun slung over his shoulder.  This was at a time when Taliban-rule was still fresh in people’s minds and it was still dangerous for females to attend school because of lingering Taliban sentiments.  I am incredibly thankful and supportive of Sepi and her husband who are both giving so much of themselves and their families to help families like that little girl and her father to be able to have the same freedoms and privileges that we enjoy as Americans each and every day.

I hope you will help us gather some goods to send to the children of Afghanistan and share this email with others.  Again, mahalo nui for your continued support.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me about this opportunity or to let me know about other important community concerns or activities that are coming up that you’d like me to know about.

Me ke aloha!

Richard Fale is a newly elected Republican state Representative for the North Shore of Oahu

House GOP Freshmen Profiled

Representative Aaron Ling  Johanson, Minority Leader

Hawaii Public radio audio interview with  Political reporter Wayne Yoshioka – House Democrats and Republicans announced today they have joined forces and will elect Representative Joe Souki as the new Speaker of the House.  That vote will not be cast until opening day but members of the new coalition say they want to get to work on legislative issues right away.   Meanwhile, HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka concludes his two-part series with a look at this new Republican minority caucus  …


Is a “Cyber-Pearl Harbor” in our future?

November 20, 2012



In this post-9/11 world, cyberattacks are a new tool in our enemies’ arsenals, whether at home or abroad.  Just last month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of a potential “cyber-Pearl Harbor that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life, an attack that would paralyze and shock the nation and create a profound new sense of vulnerability.”

More recently, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said “If you think that a critical systems attack that takes down a utility even for a few hours is not serious, just look at what is happening now that Mother Nature has taken out those utilities.”

Nearly 8 million people were without power for over a week after Sandy, but imagine 100 million plus Americans in the dark for over a month after a cyberattack on the nation’s power grid.  Sound scary?  It should – because this scenario represents the emerging reality of modern warfare.  The enemy no longer has to shoot or bomb us – they can do a lot of damage simply by shutting down our power and banking systems.

It’s not a matter of if, but when a full-fledged cyber-war arrives on our nation’s shores.  We’ve already received a taste of things to come.  In the private sector, major banks, the stock market, and oil, gas, and telecommunications companies have been hit.  Even more attractive targets are our military intelligence and communications satellites, weapons targeting systems, and navigation computers.

Cyberattacks have become a common occurrence, but are not always reported in the media.  Yet they are real, and we need to wake up – and wise up – to the cyber threats facing us.  In Hawaii alone, a total of 4.4 million computer attacks were inflicted over a 6-month period in 2010 on the networks of about 100 businesses that subscribed to a monitoring service.  The big picture: unless we take immediate action, these small-scale cyberattacks will eventually lead to a unified effort to take us down completely.

That’s why we must take cybersecurity seriously – it’s an issue of state and national security.  In October 2012, Hawaii had its very first Cyber Security Awareness Month.  The theme was “Our Shared Responsibility” – a message echoed on our State Cyber Security website:

“Ultimately, our cyber infrastructure is only as strong as the weakest link.  No individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for cybersecurity.  Everyone has a role and everyone needs to share the responsibility to secure their part of cyber space and the networks they use.”  (

I applaud our State government for giving us helpful information on internet safety, but more needs to be done.  Cybersecurity goes beyond keeping passwords private, using virus protection software, and protecting children from online predators.  When it comes to state and national security, cybersecurity means defending the security and integrity of important computer networks and data from outside threats.  Therefore, we must do everything we can to protect essential computer infrastructure from those who seek to commit espionage, steal sensitive or confidential information, or disrupt vital services.

This much is obvious: the essential services we rely on every day are at risk.  Electricity, gas, water, transportation, banking, news media, cell service, 911 emergency response, air traffic control, and civil defense monitoring are all vulnerable.  One well-coordinated cyberattack, and they could come to a grinding halt.  Less obvious is the need to protect other services that depend on computers and technology.  For example, medical devices like pacemakers can be hacked if their wireless transmitters aren’t adequately secured.  Given the critical role of computer-controlled systems in sustaining daily life and maintaining state and national security, cybersecurity should take center stage as one of Hawaii’s key priorities.

Though it is unclear how quickly a federal cybersecurity law can be passed, we here in Hawaii should not sit back and twiddle our thumbs, expecting the feds will take care of it.

After all, cybersecurity is “our shared responsibility,” and a few of us intend to introduce legislation in the 2013 Session that will help protect us from the silent digital killers already swarming our islands.


Representative Gene Ward (R – Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) served in Vietnam as a translator-interpreter.  He previously served four terms in the State House from 1990-1998 and returned to the legislature in 2006.  Prior to his return, he was the Senior Democracy Advisor at the USAID Office of Democracy and Governance.  From 2005-2006, as the Peace Corps Country Director in East Timor, he coordinated the humanitarian efforts of 46 Peace Corps volunteers and 18 staff, and oversaw a $1 million budget.







Front Row Left to Right:  Representatives Beth Fukumoto, Lauren Cheape and  Cynthia Thielen

Back Row Left to Right: Representatives  Aaron Ling Johanson, Gene Ward, Bob McDermott and Richard Fale


Rep. Gene Ward (R, Hawaii Kai-Kalama Valley) announced to the House Minority Caucus that he would not be seeking re-election as Minority Leader because he felt it was time for the next generation to step into leadership.

“I’m proud of our new Caucus that has just been infused with youth, brains and energy. Our caucus faced some tough losses this election cycle, but we came out of it with a caucus in which the majority of members are under the age of 33. Giving them the opportunity to lead is the right thing to do,” Rep. Gene Ward said.

Following Ward’s announcement, the House Minority Caucus met today to elect Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, 32, as House Minority Leader and Rep. Beth Fukumoto, 29, as House Minority Floor Leader, following the move of former floor leader Kymberly Pine to the City Council.

“I’m honored to be leading the Republicans in the State House. Gene Ward has always encouraged and mentored young leaders, and I appreciate his decision to push us forward.  His advice and counsel will continue to be instrumental in moving the Republican caucus in new directions for the benefit of our state and its future,” Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson said.

“Gene Ward was one of the first people to encourage me to get into politics. We’ve worked together in varying capacities at the legislature, and he’s always been one of my greatest supporters,” Rep. Beth Fukumoto said.

Ward served as Minority Leader from 1993 to 1998 and again from 2010-2012. From 1999 to 2006, he served as presidential appointee in Washington, DC at the U.S. Agency for International Development and later became Peace Corps Country Director in East Timor. Ward earned a PhD from the University of Hawaii.