Name on ballot:
Vickie LP Kam
State House – District 42
Previous job history:
Family owned bakery: 1976 – 1979
Tour Industry: 1979 – 1981
Retail Management: 1982 – 1988
Self Employed: 1989 -1991
Hawaii Dept of Health/Dept of Ed: 1992 – 1996
Hawaii Dept of Ed (PTT): 1996 – 2000
Hawaii Dept of Ed Educator: 2000 – Present
Previous elected office, if any:
I am a first time candidate for public office. Am currently an elected Board of Director for the Hawaii State Teachers Association.
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
As the daughter of a military veteran and small business owner, I learned that hard work and dedication to excellence are required to be successful. When I moved to Hawaii after high school, I brought that drive and work ethic with me. I believe my ability to partner with others and lead teams to success is proven by the numerous awards I won during my retail management days – anyone who has worked retail understands the need for organization and communication. When I decided to change careers in service of the keiki of Hawaii, I attended college here and completed two Bachelor degrees and a Masters in Secondary Education. I balanced this while working and being a full time mother. I think this is evidence of my determination to contribute not only to my family, but my community as well.
My qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii are as varied as the communities and citizens I hope to serve. We need someone who is not beholden to special interest groups, someone that has an open mind and willingness to ask constituents what they care about, then follow up to keep everyone informed. I plan to dedicate myself to the service of Hawaii through addressing the needs of working families, economic equity, and environmental stewardship.
What will be your top priority if elected?
Affordable Housing + Living Wage/Economic Equity go hand in hand and are a top priority for me as a candidate. The cost of housing continues to skyrocket while our minimum wage has been basically stagnant for a decade. We need to open the conversation of what is the true definition of “affordable” and how can we begin to ensure that our residents can afford to own or rent a home and still provide for their family. I would like to work with a variety of stakeholders to gather information and data to begin addressing our housing crunch.
As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more can be done to protect residents’ health?
We have never faced a challenge such as this pandemic, and there are areas that can be improved. I believe the stay-at-home order kept our citizens safe and kept the number of cases flatlined. I feel that we need more Covid 19 testing options so more people can be tested and take advantage of the opportunity to monitor their families health, especially if testing centers are located throughout the islands. For citizens, communication was confusing as expectations and directives changed rapidly. The opportunity exists for state leaders to create a workable emergency plan now and provide a clearinghouse of information as a resource for future emergency situations.
What more can be done to help residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Having worked to help process unemployment claims for my fellow citizens, I know there are many being affected by COVID-19. While extending unemployment and SNAP benefits is a short term solution, I do believe we need both these at this time. In addition, the Federal Cares funds can be utilized to further support our citizens in many ways, one of those could be the opportunity for job training that would give them experience and choices in the job market later. This would take both public and private sector partnerships, but I believe now is the time to come together to find new ideas to diversify our economy so we are not faced with these issues in the future.
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?
Pay cuts and furloughs should not be our “go to” to balance the State budget in any situation, the money public workers earn goes back into the local economy and helps to keep small businesses thriving. There are other ways to deal with budget shortfalls in the short term, such as having all state departments audit their expenditures and reduce costs for materials/supplies/and contracts, I believe that the workforce in those offices would be most willing to share where cuts are possible in order to maintain salary stability. Now is the time to also consider the need for a new tax structure for Real Estate Investment Trusts to increase revenue and ensure that outside investors are paying their fair share. As we have other options that can be explored, I do not support cutting workers pay as the quick solution.
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?
Now is the time to focus on diversifying our economic options. By developing work development training in green industry, we would be also supporting Hawaii’s stated goal of 100% clean energy by 2045. I would I would love to see the creation of a public works pilot project… I feel this would allow individuals and businesses to join together to address many of the infrastructure needs we are currently dealing with. I would also like to see an increase in the growth of agriculture, as we need to support food security issues as well. Another avenue would be to partner with those entities that film in our beautiful state…. they have money and we have natural beauty, it could help. Even when we reopen the state to tourism, it is going to be slow going, those working in the industry will have less opportunities than before. Helping residents find job training for new industry could ease the pain of this pandemic and offer a more diversified economy for our future.
Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.
I believe that the Honolulu Police Department has to deal with much that is above and beyond what one department can maintain. We need to increase social service options, mental health monitoring, family counseling and address homelessness so that our officers are not front line on social issues. I would also like to see increased minimum qualifications, possibly a 2 year degree, in order to become an officer. This could increase the leadership potential quickly and show dedication to the career field. Finally, I do believe that we can increase transparency, and, if after due process, an officer is found to have an incident that would impact the community, that would be public record.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
At this point, there does not seem to be a way forward without additional community input and new agreements. The Dec 2019 moratorium should be kept in place until such time as the community, UH and the State have addressed the issues, both cultural and economical.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
No answer submitted
View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2020 Hawaii elections coverage.