David Ige is an American politician who has been the governor of Hawaii since 2014. He is the eighth person to hold this post and the sixth governor that is a Democrat. Here are ten things about him that you may not know.
1. He Comes From A Large Family
Governor Ige is the fifth child in a family of six boys. His family are of Japanese-American descent. Both of his parents worked part time which meant that he and his siblings had to learn to look after themselves at a young age. He did not get any special treatment because he was one of the youngest, as everyone was expected to do their bit. Even though they were not well off, they had everything that they needed. His parents worked hard for their entire lives and taught him a lot about how important it is to have a strong work ethic.
2. He Has Lived In Hawaii His Whole Life
He grew up in Pearl City and during his childhood the area was largely populated by cane fields. His family had settled in the area because his grandparents worked in the sugar plantations. He completed his school career in this district and was also involved in the Little League for eight years. He was offered a place at the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology but declined this in order to remain in Hawaii. It was his love for the state that inspired him to get involved in politics and the reason why he wants to leave a legacy of his time as Governor.
3. He Was In The First Graduating Class From Pearl City High School
His school year was the first to graduate from Pearl City High School, which was newly built when he attended. When he was in his junior year he was elected as vice-president of the student body. He then went on to become president in his senior year. He was also on the varsity tennis team and he led them to a championship. When he graduated in 1975, he was fifth in a class of 500.
4. He Met His Wife At University
When he was studying at the University of Hawaii, he met his wife Dawn. She told Civil Beat that it was his laugh that first attracted her to him. She said he had a great sense of humor, and she knew life with him would never be boring. The couple were married after they both graduated and have three children. Their children all now have careers that require them to live on the mainland, but the family remain very close. Dawn has attended many events alongside Governor Ige in her role as First Lady and it is a job that she has been happy to take on.
5. After Leaving University He Worked As An Engineer
When he left University he did not immediately enter into a career in politics. He received job offers from 41 different engineering firms as soon as he left university. He accepted a job at GTE Hawaiian Tel and would work as an engineer for this company for eighteen years. He has always said he sees himself as an engineer first and a politician second. He only gave up engineering completely when he became Governor.
6. He Served In The Hawaii State Senate For Twenty Years
He spent twenty years serving in the Hawaii State Senate. According to Information Cradle, he served as the chair on nine different committees during this time. He has always had a particular interest in telecommunication and education. He was also heavily involved in the efforts that Hawaii was making to create a more diverse economy. He only faced two re-elections in this twenty year period, in 2002 and 2012 and he won both of them comfortably.
7. It Was A Surprise When He Became Governor
When he entered the race to stand for Governor as the representative of the Democrat party, he was running against the incumbent Governor. No one really expected him to win this stage of the election but he did. He then went on to beat the Republican and an independent candidate in the general election. Even though not too many people were aware of him before the election, he still won by twelve percentage points.
8. He Ensured Hawaii Still Adhered To The Paris Climate Agreement
President Trump caused some controversy when he declared that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, which involved countries all around the world pledging to reduce their carbon emissions. It became clear that not all states agreed with this decision and Hawaii was one of them. Governor Ige made a pledge that he Hawaii would still stick to the terms of the agreement, even though they were no longer legally required to. He had also introduced several other measures to protect the environment and try to combat climate change.
9. He Made Changes To The Early College Program
One of the most successful policies that he has introduced during his time as Governor relates to education. On his website he explains more about how he developed the Early College program so that it became more beneficial to public high school students. This program allows students to earn credits towards their college degrees for free while they are still in high school by taking extra classes. This will make college a lot more affordable for students with the lowest incomes which will open up a lot of opportunities for them.
10. President Trump Appointed Him To The Council Of Governors
He is the co-chair of the bipartisan Council of Governors and he was given this role by President Trump. Asa Hutchison of the Republican party is the other co-chair. The role of the council is to support the federal government by overseeing the actions of the National Guard and other areas of homeland defense. There are over three hundred thousand members of the armed forces that are based in Hawaii, which makes the state central to any discussions about defense.