Homelessness, traffic and the tug-of-war between jobs and "keeping the country country" are among key issues facing the five candidates for state House District 46.
Four Democrats and a Republican are vying to succeed Democratic Rep. Michael Magaoay, who is leaving the seat to run for the state Senate.
Magaoay has represented the district for the past 10 years. It is by far the largest House district, geographically, on Oahu, covering Kahuku, the North Shore, Mokuleia, Waialua and Schofield.
The candidates are Democrats Tammy Ann Escorzon, Maria Pacheco, Larry Sagaysay and Dawn Wasson, and Republican Gil Riviere.
Escorzon, 43, a former director of administration for the Hawaii Laborers’ Training Program, said she wants to see vacant agricultural lands leased to farmers with long lease terms, which would create more jobs and produce a more sustainable lifestyle.
Escorzon has been involved with youth sports leagues and previously worked as personnel manager at Turtle Bay Golf. She said she has been receiving support in the community because she’s "green."
Pacheco, 64, a resident manager with Certified Management, said residents on one side of the district are desperate for jobs and housing for working families, while the other side wants to keep the country country.
Pacheco, a member of the Kahuku Community Association, believes she can strike a balance by investing in agriculture and sustainable energy ventures using wind, solar and ocean power.
Sagaysay, 59, had been Magaoay’s longtime office manager before leaving the job Monday to concentrate on the campaign.
Sagaysay said he would focus on homelessness, which he believes is the biggest problem in his district, by providing a property tax break to landlords who rent to homeless people at rates affordable to them.
Wasson, 66, who teaches Hawaiian culture and history and operates a land title and genealogy research company, said she would address homelessness by working to make fallow state land available for residents to grow their own food, become self-sufficient and be able to sell their products.
Riviere, 50, a mortgage banker, places traffic concerns at the top of his list. He wants to keep pressure on the Department of Transportation to solve traffic problems at Laniakea, the rock-fall mitigation project at Waimea, as well as traffic flow projects such as turn lanes and bus turnouts Kamehameha Highway.
He has served on the North Shore Neighborhood Board and North Shore Chamber of Commerce, and has been president of Keep the North Shore Country.
Riviere, Sagaysay and Wasson said they oppose establishing civil unions and would have voted against House Bill 444, which was approved by the 2010 Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle.
"Let’s face it: men and women are different," Riviere said. "These different characteristics create the optimal union that our society would endorse."
On the other side, Pacheco said, "I do not see anything wrong with giving two committed people the civil rights they need to take care of the people they love." She said civil unions is not the same as marriage.
Escorzon said she would "research and gather input" and vote whichever way the majority of the district favors.