Name on ballot:
State House – District 29
Previous job history:
Legal Assistant, Legislative Aide, English Teacher (Brazil), U.S. Army Military Police, Construction, Hospitality
Previous elected office, if any:
Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No.13, Unit 3 State Director, Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA)
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
I’ve been a grassroots advocate in the community for years. I’ve been helping our community with various issues from the abandoned vehicles that litter our community to our growing homelessness and crime problems. I am actively engaged in our community and not afraid of getting my hands dirty to help fix our issues. I do all of my community services and advocating in my free time after work and on weekend. I am always willing to do whatever I can to help people within my limited capacity as just an advocate. I believe I am qualified to represent the people of Hawaii,because just like many of our residents, I am working class. I grew up working class and on government assistance. I know and understand the struggles our workers and families are facing. The working class of District 29, and Hawaii, need a voice. I am determined to be that voice. I believe in developing long term solutions instead of band-aid fixes. I strongly believe in listening to the community, which is something we don’t see currently. Our community is suffering and we deserve a Representative who will speak up on our behalf. I’ve lived and worked around the world, I have a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and I am currently pursuing my Masters in Public Administration. I believe wholeheartedly in Democracy and representative government. I believe that the people deserve a voice in politics and that’s something that I currently don’t see happening, and that’s why I am running.
What will be your top priority if elected?
My top priority will be implementing long-term care facilities for the mentally ill and addicts that are wandering our streets. We can not fix these issues with temporary services like we keep seeing now. We keep throwing money at temporary services, but we are only seeing a growth in the problem. We need real solutions and we need politicians who have a long term and realistic vision for Hawaii.
As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more can be done to protect residents’ health?
In terms of residents’ health, I think what is being done currently is sufficient. We aren’t seeing an increase in hospitalizations and businesses are taking the precautions to protect everyone.
What more can be done to help residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
I don’t think much more can be done at the state level to help those who have been economically affected by the pandemic. At this point it is up to congress to pass the HEROs Act and continue further stimulus packages to the American people. Without federal help I do not see any real ability for suffering workers and businesses to bounce back. The state government is strapped for cash as it is and does not have the ability to pump more money into workers’ hands. And implementing things like rent freezes will in turn impact the landlords who rely on rent income to survive off of, such as my landlord. At this point, keeping businesses open and keeping people working is the only thing we can do at the state level that will help folks negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Should public worker furloughs, pay cuts or downsizing be used to help the state deal with lower tax revenues and higher expenses during the pandemic? Why or why not?
As a disclaimer I am a union member, steward, and State Director. Union membership aside though, I have never seen furloughs as a reasonable means to cut budget expenses. The last thing we need is to send tens of thousands more people in to a situation where they can not afford their rents, mortgages, insurance, etc. Furloughing workers would negatively impact the services that many people rely on such as SNAP, financial assistance, 9-11 operators, teachers assistants, hospital staff, etc. Also, pay cuts again would do nothing to help the economic situation. We need people to have money to spend at our local businesses, to pay utilities, rents, etc. to keep our economy afloat. The reality of the situation is that the Governor is simply refusing federal loans that our congressional delegation has repeatedly told him he can apply for. The money exists, but it seems the Governor’s team would rather see our public workers take a huge hit as opposed to take the funds that are available. Also, if congress does pass the HEROs Act, we will receive the necessary funding for our government to operate. The talks of furloughs and cuts came way too premature and has stirred up an unnecessary frenzy.
Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. If elected, what would you propose to support and diversify the state’s economy?
Tourism will still be a major revenue source for many years. Any major plans to diversify our economy will take years to implement. However, there are things we could do currently that will take a shorter period of time to implement such as: legalized gambling zones & offshore gambling on boats, recreational marijuana, a state lottery, commercial hemp production, green & renewable energy industries, and agriculture. These are some of the things that we can do that will lure higher end tourists at the same time create new streams of revenue for the state. The green & renewable energy industries can begin to take shape with the help of the University of Hawaii. All of these industries would create all new jobs with wages at the national average. While some people may express fear in gambling or legal marijuana industries, we have to be realistic and look at the financial health of our state and how other states have successfully implement each. Why should so many of our locals have to travel to Las Vegas to gamble when we can bring that here? Why should our local money end up funding Las Vegas’ government services as opposed to ours?
Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.
Yes, I believe in transparency and accountability. As a former military police for the U.S. Army I can say that we were held accountable at all times by everyone. From military members, spouses, dependents, civilians, etc. All eyes were on us at all times. When your position is one with the authority of a police officer there needs to be a greater level of accountability. However, I do not support defunding police at all. I do support reforming in the sense of removing the social worker aspect of the job. They are police officers, not mental health doctors. Lets spend funding on implementing more scenario training, self-defense/combatives training, more firing range time, and regular mental health checks & services for officers and their families. Police see a lot of violence throughout their careers. Some people are better equipped mentally to handle it while others may not be. They should have regular mental health checks to ensure they are able to carry out their duties. This way, if they need more help, they can receive it.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
I support TMT however, under the caveat that all other unused telescopes be taken down. It is irresponsible and unnecessary to leave unused telescopes in place.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
I would like voters to know that I am not afraid to speak up on their behalf. This is something we don’t see much from politicians here. I believe this is exactly why we have the problems we do. From increased homelessness and crime to mentally ill wandering the streets in their own filth. Politicians have been kicking the can down the road on issues that impact our working class and disenfranchised for decades. While politicians were killing a minimum wage increase, they were accepting a $10,000 salary increase. While our residents are struggling to make rent payments and buy food, politicians are pushing more and more luxury development and gentrifying communities, which is pushing our working class families out of their long time homes and in to the streets. I have the leadership experience and a long term vision for our community & state that puts residents first. I’m approachable & responsive and always try to make myself available to anyone who wants to talk story. In the end, I am asking for your vote which means I am asking YOU to HIRE me, because elected officials work for the people, not the other way around. That is something that seems to have been lost in politics these days. I encourage voters to go to my website or my Facebook page to learn more about me. I am a voice for the working class.
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