In this episode of Transform Hawaii Government's (THG) Digital Talk Story series, Executive Director Christine Sakuda speaks with Representative Sylvia Luke, Chair of the House Finance Committee, about the progress happening on various modernization initiatives, the growing need for broadband access, and how COVID-19 has jump-started technology improvements in government.
Rep. Sylvia Luke is serving her tenth term in the Hawaii House of Representatives and represents House District 25, which includes Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights and Pauoa. She currently chairs the House Finance Committee.
Rep. Luke shared with Transform Hawaii Government that the state's unemployment system experienced a lot of stress during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the mix of increased applications and an aging, outdated system. The urgency and severity of the situation showed our government that technology improvements are critical for an efficient and effective system that benefits the public, especially during times of crisis. Thanks to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) and many other departments, Rep. Luke said that the state is working hard on modernizing many of its IT systems.
Broadband improvements continue to be a major priority to our government, both locally and nationally, Rep. Luke shared during the talk story. As mentioned in previous Digital Talk Stories with Senator Wakai and Senator Moriwaki, broadband is critical to supporting the present and future daily needs of the public, both in their personal and professional lives. To drive broadband expansion, the need for carrier-neutral landing sites will have to be addressed by government to allow our telecommunications companies to partner with the state more effectively. Rep. Luke pointed out broadband is essential to ensure connectivity for our communities and access must be available to the whole population.
Currently, modernization efforts are moving forward in the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) as Rep. Luke shared they are working to replace their mainframe payroll system. Transform Hawaii Government has been a long-term advocate of this initiative and is pleased to see the modernization project is progressing with the selection of a vendor to implement a new system.
THG extends its appreciation to Representative Sylvia Luke for taking time from her busy schedule to join us and for supporting our organization's efforts to advocate for government modernization.
Watch Episode 8 of the Digital Talk Story series here.