Wednesday, January 24, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Social needs top Cayetano priority list

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

Of the many issues Gov. Ben Cayetano floated in Monday’s State-of-the-State speech, he said yesterday that two of his top priorities for legislators would be the preschool program for needy children and lagging social needs. In an appearance on a public television special yesterday on the annual speech, Cayetano talked with reporters in a wide-ranging interview about his wish list.

He said that the "Pre-Plus" program targeted at low-income 3- and 4-year-olds will win support because it’s a good idea that would be run by private companies using federal financing and money from other sources.

"That one is kind of no-brainer, because we really don’t use state money to operate it." Cayetano said that $10 million a year for four years would buy portable buildings for public schools.

He said he assigned the program to Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono because of the importance of the program and not to bolster her public profile.

And he said that it should be easier to sell than the after-school program A-plus that he worked on as lieutenant governor.

"This is a great program. I don’t see how she can fail, frankly.

"This is not like A-plus where we had to go and take on the DOE (Department of Education) and the Board of Education and even the Legislature to get it through."

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