A Simmering Challenge

Josh Green continues to battle the impact of the devastating Maui fires.

illustration of Governor Josh Green with blue Hawaiian lei around his neck by Nigel Buchanan

As author Mary Vorsino wrote in our Sept./Oct. profile, Josh Green got into politics because he wanted to help people—like those he saw at his rural Hawaiian health care clinic—get better access to care. Last year, Green ’97 MD Hershey was elected governor of the Aloha State, continuing a political rise built largely on that commitment to helping those in need, and reflected in the sort of public-health policy changes that have been signatures of his time in government.

In August, Green faced a different sort of challenge: the wildfires that devastated the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui, causing billions in property damage and claiming nearly 100 lives. The aftermath of the fires has dominated much of Green’s time since, from addressing the causes to answering questions of the speed and efficacy of the emergency response. In the months since, arguably his biggest challenge has been housing those who lost their homes in the blaze. Over the weekend, Green announced his intention to force out-of-state vacation home owners, many of whom have been resistant, to turn their short-term rental homes into temporary housing for the more than 6,000 residents who remain homeless since the fire.