comscore 2020 Election: Tante T. Urban | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Tante T. Urban

  • Tante Urban
Name on ballot:

Tante T. Urban

Running for:

Hawaii mayor

Political party:


Campaign website:

Current occupation:




Previous job history:

Bus Boy, King Kamehameha Hotel, Kailua-Kona
Dishwasher, Sun Sun Lau Restaurant, Hilo, Hawaii
Line Cook, Kona Galley Restaurant, Kailua-Kona
Sous Chef, Keauhou Beach Hotel, Kailua-Kona
Chef, Kona Lagoon Hotel, Kailua-Kona
Executive Chef, Ramada Inn California
Sous Chef, Hale Koa Hotel, Honolulu, HI
Chef Garde-Manger, Royal Waikoloan, Waikola, HI
Owner, Tante’s Restaurant, Kona and Maui, HI

Previous elected office, if any:


Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I am a businessman. I have over 35 years of experience as owner of a successful restaurant, as a Real Estate investor and former Realtor Associates. My Real Estate and restaurant business have provided me the skills and capabilities to lead and to make hard sensible decisions. I have also gained valuable knowledge and experience as a Real Estate Investor and Realtor Associates in dealing with Affordable Housing development from Zoning to Certificate of Occupancy. Throughout the years, I have thrived in Hawaii County as owner of the affordable housing component of my real estate business. My restaurant has continually provided employment and my real estate business has provided construction jobs in the community. I will bring my years of experience successfully leading and managing my businesses to Hawaii County.

I believe in “Leading By Example” and in making the tough decisions. As a businessman, I know how to cut unnecessary costs to stay on budget and not spend more than we make. I also know how to make sure to hire the right people, no over staffing, and minimize overtime; to make sure to provide the best service to customers; and to make sure to provide the best quality product to customers. I know how to maximize the value of every dollar spent. I intend to bring all these attributes to Hawaii County.

What will be your top priority if elected?

My priorities are economic recovery and diversification. In this unprecedented time of COVID-19 pandemic resulting in extreme hardships to families, Hawaii County must lead by example by balancing the budget. Hawaii County needs to reduce its budget by cutting down or even eliminating unnecessary expenditures, non-essential services, and implement a hiring freeze. I believe that Hawaii County must not rely solely on tourism but diversify on business, technology, agriculture, education, and even sports.

With respect to Affordable Housing, my plan is to work with all levels of government to open up more land for workforce housing. I intend to work with the County Council to offer tax credits and subsidies to developers. I will propose to have Hawaii County invest in workforce housing infrastructure subject to negotiations with developers. This will be a win-win for our people by filling the needs of workforce housing. It is also an important source of revenue for the County.

With respect to homelessness, I believe it is solvable. We need to mobilize our collective resources. I support providing a safe place for the homeless. I will expedite the construction of the transitional housing by the West Hawaii Civic Center and support initiatives currently in place. I will coordinate an approach to provide needed treatment, case management, financial support, employment assistance, or rental/housing subsidies to the men, women, youth and families living with mental or substance abuse issues in order to avoid homelessness.

Investing in our infrastructure such as roads, parks, beaches, landfill, sewer, water supply will help save Hawaii County tax payers in the long run. For example, the sewer project on Hamburger Hill behind McDonald’s took years to get started. The cost went up in comparison with the original bid. Who pays for the increase? Taxpayers. Another issue is the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant which is overburdened. I will work on getting the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant to conform with the EPA Cleanwater Act in order to save Hawaii County tax payers ever increasing repair and possible government penalty costs.

As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more should county government do to protect residents’ health?

Upon facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii County should immediately lock down to prevent the spread of viruses. We have to follow CDC guidelines. We must invest in the COVID-19 rapid test kits and machines. Have more testing sites throughout the island. Encourage people to stay home when not feeling well. I support continued communication to make sure we take swift and preventive actions, to lessen and or limit the spread of the virus. To prevent a pandemic in the future, I will close all ports of entry immediately in the first week of knowing the imminent threat of COVID-19, with the exception of essential workers such as doctors, nurses, engineers, mechanic to name a few. I will order a lock down, curfew and allow the community to go out on a staggered schedule only to purchase necessities, and immediately set up a plan of action, hold emergency meetings in all nine districts of Hawaii County. I will put a task force to plan out a standard operating procedure for the purpose of safety, health and welfare of the community. This standard operating procedures will be used as a guide for future pandemics in Hawaii County.

What should county government do to help residents who have been economically affected by the pandemic?

Extend and continue the unemployment insurance benefits. Cut property taxes to give more spending money to our people. We will advocate with Commercial Landlords to pass on the savings to tenants for retention and help fill vacant properties. I intend to streamline the permitting process and bring forth a booming construction industry. I will work with all levels of government to open up more land for workforce housing in order to create jobs and fill the needs for affordable housing. I would like to create an Entrepreneur Innovation Center for Small Businesses on food, agriculture, arts and crafts. I also intend to produce a “Made in the Big Island Festival” to feature and showcase our local products and talents.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and what should the county government’s role be in the process?

I support TMT. It is good for our community and for the next generation as a place of learning. I also support the right to protest legally and lawfully. The right to peacefully protest is a true attribute of democracy. However, the TMT is a State issue, therefore it must be resolved by the State and the University of Hawaii. The County‘s role is to uphold the law and to use civil and proper enforcement on any of the protestors who breaks the law.

Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.

No. Our police officers have so much Aloha and our people have so much respect for our police officers. I will support providing our police officers with newer technology to keep them safe and perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently in order to keep us safe.

Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?

As the only candidate committed to donate the mayor’s salary to nonprofits, and the only candidate that is self-funding it’s campaign. I want to emphasize that my intent is purely of community service and to give back to the community I love. I am not indebted to anyone and want to create an inclusive culture. I am a Filipino immigrant who started with nothing and persevered to work my way to running a successful restaurant for over 35 years along with providing affordable rental units to the community.
I want to pave the way for our future generations especially to immigrants such as myself. I can be a role model for our future generations. With hard work, dedication, courage, and faith, anyone can accomplish anything. Whatever the outcome of the election, I will be at peace with myself because this experience will be priceless and rewarding in and of itself.

I am running for mayor because I want to give people a choice of new leadership with a business mindset and out of the box thinking and problem solving. IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE, NO POLITICS AS USUAL……Your vote for Tante Urban is a vote for an efficient, effective and responsive government

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2020 Hawaii elections coverage.

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