comscore 2020 Election: Nadine K. Nakamura | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Nadine K. Nakamura

  • Nadine Nakamura
Name on ballot:

Nadine K. Nakamura

Running for:

State House – District 14

Political party:


Campaign website:

Current occupation:




Previous job history:

Managing Director, County of Kauai 2013-2016
Council Member, County of Kauai 2010-2013
Planning Consultant/Small business owner, 1992-2011
Project Coordinator, Pacific Housing Assistance Corp, 1991-1992
Planner, Dept. of Land Utilization, City and County of Honolulu, 1989-1991
Planner, Dept of Transportation, City and County of Honolulu, 1987-1989

Previous elected office, if any:

House, District 14, Kauai County Council

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I have worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. I have developed affordable special needs housing, worked as a transportation planner, created the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center, created the Kauai Planning and Action Alliance, served as Chair of the Kapa`a Elementary School Community Council, wrote the award-winning Lawai Kai Master Plan and Management Plan for the National Tropical Botanical Garden. As a legislator, I coordinated efforts to address overtourism at Haena State Beach Park; watershed management on the north shore of Kauai, and development of a master plan for vacant lands surrounding Mahelona Medical Center.

What will be your top priority if elected?

Development of affordable housing around transit stations statewide

As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more can be done to protect residents’ health?

Educate the public, especially young adults, to be vigilant; phase in transpacific travel when a pre-testing program is fully operational, we have significantly increased our contact tracing capabilities on each island, and have testing capacity with results in 1-2 days.

What more can be done to help residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

The legislature approved funding for additional unemployment insurance assistance, rent relief, and assistance with mortgage workouts. If additional federal funds become available, we should assist families with health insurance, housing, utilities, and food expenses.

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?

To meet the estimated $2.3 billion revenue shortfall, we will need to put all of these options on the table. In addition, we should look closely at tax exemptions and tax credits to assist in balancing the budget.

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?

Within the tourist economy, we should diversify to attract higher paying visitors in niche markets: wellness tourism, cultural immersion tourism, and eco-tourism. All three niche markets are in alignment with our values as a community.

Within the agricultural sector, we should be helping hemp farmers succeed to cultivate and bring high value products to the market for local use and export. We should legalize recreational marijuana, promote aquaculture, support ranchers and help farmers with processing facilities to add value to their products for local and global markets.

We must support innovation through equity funding; and support places and processes for entrepreneurs to gather, share ideas, and innovate. We must also retrain our service workers to be a part of this digital economy through skill-enhancement training, transitional support, and apprenticeships.

We should promote green jobs in renewable energy, protection of our natural resources, creation of an exceptional trail system, and rapid/bus transit (O`ahu) and bus transit(neighbor islands).

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

Yes. I support increased accuracy and transparency in the reporting of deaths by police officers. I also support providing mental health training and/or mental health professionals to assist police officers in conducting their work.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?

I support the construction of TMT on the condition that legitimate management issues are fully addressed, a clear timetable for implementation is developed, and there is a commitment of funding by key decision-makers. I also believe there are larger issues that the State must address: the allocation of ceded land revenues to Native Hawaiians, the need to fulfill trust obligations of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and health, economic, and social disparities of native Hawaiians.

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

I truly enjoy my job as a State legislator. I like applying my background, skills, and relationships to solve problems, address concerns, and work with others to find solutions. It’s a steep learning curve to do this job, but I’m eager to learn and work hard to build a stronger, more resilient State of Hawai`i.

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