Full Name: Aaron Chung
Name on Ballot: Aaron S.Y. Chung
District / office: Hawaii County Council District 2
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Job: Council member
Place of birth: Hilo
Job history past 10 years:
Hawaii County Council member 2014-2016
Attorney at Law
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
1996 Hawaii County Council won, served for four terms (1996 to 2004)
2014 Hawaii County Council won, serving two-year term (2014 to 2016)
Other civic experience or community service?
Youth league volunteer (AYSO, Little League Baseball, P&R basketball)
Boy Scouts of America, Registered Volunteer
Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution Board Member
Pro Bono legal services
Court Annexed Arbitration Program (Arbitrator)
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
I was born and raised in Hilo and educated in our public schools system. I try to reflect the values of our small town—fairness, honesty, respect and open-mindedness—in my decision-making and the manner in which I carry out my duties.
What makes you qualified to be a Council member?
My professional experience as a county attorney and councilman. Understanding the law is vital to good legislative decision-making, and the importance of being able to work collaboratively and effectively with eight individuals from different districts, each one with their own life experiences, philosophies and skill sets, cannot be overstated.
What are your top five priorities for the county?
1. Develop an Integrated Plan to address homelessness (housing, support services, enforcement, diversion, tax incentives, advocacy).
2. Fix roads.
3. Implement and fund (within reason) the Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan.
4. Support the efforts of the newly re-established Hawaii Redevelopment Agency.
5. Improve our mass transit system.
What is your one big idea?
Although not a county initiative, we must advocate for the establishment of a state mental health hospital on the Big Island. We have a disproportionate amount of persons in need of such a service and our present facilities are not designed to accommodate that target population.
The Hilo landfill is nearing capacity. When it closes, should trash from East Hawaii be hauled to the Puuanahulu landfill, or not?
Yes, it is the most sensible solution for the following reasons: 1) it can be implemented quickly; 2) will not require a large capital outlay; and 3) may promote a more efficient recycling program by integrating all of our trash at one site.
The basic fare for the Hele-On bus system is $2, but the system still requires taxpayer subsidies to operate. The county has demonstrated that a lower fare can increase ridership. Should the fare be reduced, increased or left the same?
Subsidizing the bus system is okay. Still, it cannot be so much that it becomes a financial obstacle to developing and sustaining the type of islandwide bus system our residents need and deserve. We should replace the common fare with a graduated fare arrangement.
The gasoline tax in Hawaii County is now 8.8 cents per gallon, about half that of Kauai, Maui and Oahu. Do you support increasing the county gas tax to provide more funding for maintenance of county roads and the Hele-On bus system?
Yes. The county is responsible for over 900 miles of roads, many of which are badly in need of repair. Tax increases are unpopular, but we are hampering our ability to adequately serve the public by keeping our fuel taxes so low in comparison to those of the other islands.