Talk Story

NEMA Recognizes Rep. Jill Tokuda With 2024 Legislative Achievement Award

March 21, 2024 – Rep. Jill Tokuda received a Legislative Achievement Award from the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) during its 2024 mid-year forum. Rep. Tokuda was recognized for her leadership during crises alongside her constituents, most notably in the aftermath of the Maui Wildfires in August 2023. HI-EMA Administrator James Barros was on hand to present the award.

Press Office
National Emergency Management Association
Karen M. Langdon
[email protected]


Press Release

March 21, 2024


 Lexington, KY – Today, the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) announced the selection of Senator Maggie Hassan, Senator Mitt Romney, and Representative Jill Tokuda for this year’s Legislative Achievement Awards. The awards were presented in conjunction with NEMA’s 50th Anniversary Gala and recognize exceptional efforts by policymakers in support of the emergency management and homeland security community.

Since her election to Congress in 2016, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) has earned recognition among peers for her committed constituent outreach and willingness to work across party lines to pass thoughtful and effective legislation. Her recent accomplishments include the introduction of the bipartisan Disaster Management Costs Modernization Act (S. 3071). S. 3071 proposes amendments to the Stafford Act enhance flexibility on the use of management costs for declared disasters and streamline how state and local governments track and administer federal disaster assistance while enhancing accountability. These reforms include the consolidation of management functions across multiple open declared disaster events, promotion of capacity building at the state and local levels, and the extension of funds to remain available for five years after disbursement. Senator Hassan’s peers affirm that this act has the potential to make a lasting impact on disaster management practices by reducing the complexity of managing disaster recovery at the local and state levels, ensuring the nation’s most vulnerable and impacted communities receive more timely and effective assistance.

Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has served in Congress since 2019 and has developed a reputation among constituents and peers for working across the aisle to ensure government is effectively serving communities throughout Utah and beyond, especially when disaster strikes. Negotiated by Senator Romney and his colleagues, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is a historic investment in the modernization and safety of the nation’s physical infrastructure, including $8.25 billion to address wildfire hazards through infrastructure, monitoring and warning systems, and workforce training. Senator Romney also co-authored the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission Act, which would become part of the IIJA. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation established a commission of federal and non-federal stakeholders to study and recommend fire prevention, mitigation, management, and rehabilitation policies for forests and grasslands. In fall 2023, the commission published 148 thorough and practical recommendations for local, state, federal, Tribal, and territorial leaders to help lead the nation toward a different relationship and experience with wildfire and increased resilience to the impacts of wildfire.

In her first term, Representative Jill Tokuda (D-HI) has already demonstrated exceptional leadership during crises alongside her constituents, most notably in the aftermath of the Maui Wildfires in August 2023. She has championed victims struggling with financial loss and implemented effective measures to assist Maui’s business community by introducing legislation such as the Maui Strong Act and the Natural Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2023, which would lessen tax burdens on people impacted by major disasters in 2023. Representative Tokuda has become known for an unwavering commitment to public service and tireless efforts to bring about significant, positive change within the communities she serves with ripple effects throughout the state of Hawaii and the country. Her peers commend and liken her approach to challenges with a Hawaiian Proverb, which says, “Aʻohe hana nui ka aluʻia,” which translates to, no task is too big when done together.

NEMA is proud to recognize the legislative achievements of these three exceptional leaders and looks forward to continuing to work together toward a safer, more resilient nation.


For more information on NEMA, contact Karen Langdon, Media Coordinator, at (859) 244-8143 or e-mail [email protected].

NEMA is the association of professionals dedicated to enhancing public safety by improving the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from all emergencies, disasters, and threats to our security. NEMA is an affiliate organization of The Council of State Governments, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky.

 # # #


UPDATE: Video of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducting Private Property debris Removal

This video is a time lapse look at the debris removal process on a residential property in Lahaina, Hawaii.  The video was captured over approximately 30 hours with permission of the property owner.


1/31/2024 HIEMA’s Zeph McKee meets with security contractor Ka’ala Buenconsejo regarding traffic route changes in / around the burn zone.

1/31/2024 HIEMA Executive Officer Don Aweau discusses cost share requirements with the Cal OES team before the Lahaina community meeting.

1/31/2024 DOH’s Joanna Seto stopped by to introduce DOH’s Glenn Haae to HIEMA’s Don Aweau and Zeph McKee.  Glenn has been involved with Debris Task Force related meetings for months but the team had not had an opportunity to meet face to face until today.

For additional information on Debris Management, Maui County maintains an important website: