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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 83° Today's Paper


2022 Election: Angela Melody Young

Name on ballot:

Angela Melody Young

Running for:

State Senate – District 14

Political party:

Non partisan

Campaign website:


Current occupation:




Previous job history:

Before moving back to Hawaii in 2015, I lived in Hollywood and briefly explored the entertain industry as a career. I worked for The Recording Academy’s Grammy Award Show alongside prominent & famous artists such as Beyonce, Daft Punk, Taylor Swift, Ryan Seacreast & Gavin Degraw. I’ve worked for the producers of the Oscars, Emmy award winning executive producers and other distinguished directors, producers & artists in the film, TV, radio & music industry.

When I started my work in the community as an activist & advocate, I began using the skills & experienced I gained in Hollywood to help others. Utilizing media, photography & film, I have been documenting animal rescue work, public safety issues, the homeless crisis of Hawaii, and various concerns of our communities. This shows people the exact magnitude of the problems we have to solve and helps our community leaders to truly understand the reality of what we are facing. I’ve also been able to use my media & performing arts skills to teach the next generation about theater, film, art, music & culture.

Previous elected office, if any:


Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I’m very active in various efforts in our communities. Since 2017, because of my animal rescue, ROAR Rescue Of Animal Rights, I have been able to provide various animal rescue services to our community. I help people get connected to veterinarian resources that they don’t know about and I advise about medical procedures because I’ve gained a lot of experience helping wildlife in our communities.

This season, I testified during the legislative session for various legislations relating to animals (i.e. HB 1987, HB 1721, HCR 17, SB 2837, etc). I helped advocate for the cats & the cat community in regards to concerns about controversial legislations pertaining to cats. Because of my work with various vets, clinics, adoption organizations, animal rescues & various service providers, I knew how to draw attention to this topic which was getting a lot of scrutiny but not a lot of people knew what to do about it. I raised awareness about the cat community’s valiant efforts to reduce the feral cat population that the State may not have known about. When I testified, I fought diplomatically to introduce humane solutions to the feral animal complaints in order to find a way to solve the problem without eradicating animals. One of the points I tried to introduce is the idea of protecting animals instead of eradicating animals. Every species deserves protection because every species contributes differently to the environment; every species influences our environments’ dynamics in unique ways. If I get elected, I will continue to fight for animal rights. I will continue to fight for the cat community. I will address animal cruelty and propose legislations to impose severe punishment for those who hurt animals. I will make sure those who harm, abuse, mutilate or kill animals or any wildlife species will be brought to justice.

I’m also one of the safety coordinators and the community liaison for our Kapalama Neighborhood Security Watch. I’ve work with the City Council & HPD to ensure our neighborhood’s safety concerns are being heard. In the last year, I’ve connected with various NSWs, Citizen Patrols & HPD Community Policing Teams to talk about different ideas and to hear about the concerns from other communities around the island. During the Lanakila Senior Center’s HPD meeting with District 5’s Major Turner, we met a lot of the HPD officers who bravely put their lives on the line to fight for our safety. I voiced our neighborhood’s concerns about how we can cooperate to work together as neighbors, community leaders, advocates & elected officials to catch criminals and discipline delinquents so that our communities can truly start to feel safe after so many repeated offenses & traumatic experiences.

I got to connect with the aunties from a NSW from the westside. They have 17 years of documented crime. I’ve learned from them to push for the communities’ safety concerns because it is worth the battle. That NSW has stopped drug houses and have brought down criminals. I look forward to ways that we can collaborate to ensure effective safety strategies are being implemented in more neighborhoods across the State.

In June 2022, I attended HPD Waikiki District 6’s community meeting. I heard about their community’s concerns and how the police officers were addressing those concerns. I learned that it truly requires people at all different levels of the community to be solution oriented in order to stop crime. I shared with them a PSA I produced, directed & filmed of our community of Kalihi’s safety concerns. I also shared with them some effective educational graphics & data assessment strategies we’ve developed from Kapalama NSW.

I know my efforts in regards to public safety, after working with so many experienced people & organizations, has prepared me to be able to fight for our neighborhood’s right for domestic tranquility. If elected to be senator, I will continue to fight the good fight to protect our keikis, ohanas, popokis & kupunas.

Education is also another subject matter that I have gained experience in and it is also a platform that I fiercely advocate from. My afterschool program, CARES Community Art Recreation Education Services is registered with the Hawaii Afterschool Alliance’s out-of-school programs database. CARES’ mission is to empower & equip the next generation with the skills & resources they’ll need to become healthy & successful adults who will contribute positively to society. We specialize in a small after school class in the Kapalama neighborhood.

During art class, we work with different concepts. We’ve worked on jewelry making, floral arrangements, culinary arts, performing arts, acting, design, film & photography. For one of our concepts, we created “CARE packages” to share with the community. We then gave people in the community, neighbors, our church friends and our family, the gifts. We are currently working on a business proposal for our fundraiser and for the CARE products & CARE packages we create during our art class.

The program strengthens youth’s resistance to risky behavior, drugs, and school failure through performance, implementing Social Emotional Learning skills, exploring vocational opportunities, engaging in positive activities, learning about social development, and getting involved in physical & recreational activities.

CARES integrates various concepts & innovative ideas in our afterschool program. One of our focuses is sustainability & environmental justice because we care about our ‘aina & our planet. The packaging of the CARES packages is a concept from our art class, “Litter Art”. We see different artists, small businesses and students involved in this sort of art & social movement to promote creativity & sustainability. Our art class utilizes environmentally friendly & sustainable resourced material i.e. trashed paint, kitchen supplies, packaging. Each product is hand painted by a student or staff. None of our products are perfect. There will always be blemishes. Yet, each produce is made with care. By producing art & products to bless our community with through utilizing sustainable material, we are actually helping our planet to be healthier. If I’m elected to represent the people, I will continue to create economically sustainable opportunities for our students & our communities by raising awareness, advocating & educating about our efforts and other similar initiatives.

What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?

I’d like share a personal neighbor’s story so that you might really get to know our communities’ concerns about public safety. My 7 year old neighbor recently started taking kung fu classes. I
thought it was for fun. I asked her, “Why did you choose kung fu? Of all the classes you could’ve chose, dance, hip hop, or ukelele classes, why did you choose kung fu?” She replied, “I didn’t
choose to take kung fu class. My mom signed me up for the kung fu class because she says
there are bad guys in the neighborhood.” Let the impact of that statement sink in.

This past year, City Council District 7 & HPD District 5 Community Policing Team assisted our neighborhood with initiating the Kapalama Neighborhood Security Watch. Our group felt safe & assured because our safety concerns were heard by the elected officials, HPD, community, & neighborhood board. I, along with a team of passionate neighbors, worked with City Council & HPD to ensure we got essential safety resources to the community.

Safety is the biggest concern facing our communities and I have not theorized about what I will do about it but I have actually done things to protect our ohanas & keikis. I promise that if I’m elected, I will continue to prioritize public safety & domestic tranquility. If I’m elected to represent our community, I will help to draw attention to these urgent concerns and I will bring it to the attention of the various service providers and to the various city & state resources.

Rising inflation has significantly worsened Hawaii’s already high cost of living. What can be done at the state level to help Hawaii residents cope with high consumer prices?

If I’m elected to represent the people, I will work on ways to make sure that the most marginalized & the most vulnerable of our society are cared for first financially. The low-income families should have more tax breaks & tax incentives. Then after the poverty stricken people are cared, I will do my best to work with the middle class & the elite to hear from them about how to address their concerns about high costs of living & high consumer prices.

Hawaii’s rising gasoline prices are among the highest in the nation. Should Hawaii lower or temporarily suspend state taxes on gasoline to help ease the pain at the pump?

Some state lawmakers are calling Governor Ige to drop the state gas tax following President Biden’s proposal Wednesday June 22, 2022. President Biden has temporarily waived federal taxes for gas by calling Congress to suspend federal gas taxes for 3 months. Since there has been a significant increase and many families are already struggling with rent & bills, I would agree that Hawaii should follow the example set by our federal government.

Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.

Our State has to stop relying heavily upon tourism because it contradicts the efforts to maintain & preserve our unique Hawaiian culture, heritage & ʻāina. If we want to protect our indigenous plants & wildlife, if we want to conserve our ʻāina Hawaii heritage, we must put a limit on tourism. Not every aspect of tourism is bad, but as of right now, we are too dependent upon tourism as a main source of revenue for the State. And if we want to also prioritize the preservation of our land & history, we will have to look for alternative options to diversify our economy.

I strongly support impact fees. It is wise to collect fees from visitors if the impact fees are allocated to funding the preservation & conservation of hikes, wildlife sanctuaries, ocean preserves, etc. Tourist attractions, such as hikes & natural phenomenons, should first and foremost be protected, preserved & maintained. If tourist attractions are being treated like a carnival or amusement park, where people exploit the attraction and throw their trash everywhere, then we, as residents, have not done our job to honor the ʻāina and our unique Hawaiian culture. Also, the visitors will not learn about our sacred land and the special characteristics of our Hawaii that makes it one of a kind.

The protection of the environment, the preservation of nature, the care of wildlife species & plants should be outlined in a strategic management plan to show how finances will fund these important aspects of sustainability & wildlife preservation. We must prioritize the maintenance of the natural beauty of our aina. We must prioritize care for the very popular hikes and various tourist areas that are being exploited for its beauty. I think our priorities as a State in regards to tourism is to limit the numbers of visitors but also at the same time, implement policies to protect our natural resources & environment. Not many other candidates have voiced their concerns & ideas like I have about tourism and I’m proud to be one of the first to set this kind of standard.

Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?

Autonomous markets are great options to be explored by middle class families. An example of an autonomous market is a farmer’s market where people trade or sell their fruits, vegetables, crafts & homemade goods. We see more of these markets now as art, flea & farmers markets become a trend in Hawaii. Creating these markets allows people to operate within their own means without having to outsource for labor, look for investors or use corporate money. People create value with what they have instead of putting value into stocks or investments. People depend on the land and their skills for these autonomous markets. More markets in which people can create opportunities for themselves without depending on banks and corporate financial institutions will help to shape a healthier & better economic system for our city.

Art, flea & farmers markets, independent vendors and swap meets should be strongly supported by the State. By supporting these businesses, we are also supporting the agriculture industry, environmentally friendly initiatives and community oriented efforts. We are truly diversifying our economy by supporting these efforts. As a candidate for Senate, I will help & support these local businesses by attending their events and raising awareness about their goals. If I get elected, I will make sure that we have strong legislation to support & elevate them. I will also make sure to address any barriers hindering the success of these businesses.

What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?

I heard the city discuss their plans to address affordable housing. I think they have a good plan, it is innovative and they have many proposed actions in development including Tiny Home villages and various residential & senior home projects (i.e. Halewai’olu Senior Residences, Kapolei Parkway Affordable Rental Housing, West Loch Affordable Housing Project, etc). They mentioned that Hawaii has the most regulations in regards to affordable housing and that we should follow President Biden’s example to reduce regulatory burdens. If I get elected, I will work very hard in the State legislature to ensure that our policies & legislative efforts will work cooperatively with the city’s efforts. If there is good work that is being done, I want to support it in any way that I can.

What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?

Many of Hawaii’s residents did not like the mandates during COVID. Yet, I firmly believe that the government did what it had to do to protect the health of its citizens. I was in China in 2020 when the pandemic started. I was at the heart of the pandemic disaster and it was truly an incredible experience to have lived through 2 nations’ regulations because they were dramatically different in how they mandated their policies. China’s regulations were even more strict than America’s. And yet, China’s citizens were very united in their response to their country’s regulations in that everyone stayed at home when they were suppose to and didn’t question the authority of the emergency mandates. It seemed like everyone know that people from all across the country were suffering and that they were suffering together. There were no rallies, protests or disrespectful comments on the internet. Although China responded in great fear, with almost every business shutdown for months, the people were united. Whatever the country’s leaders told them to do, the people did it. People were washing their hands all day in China.
The US response was the complete opposite of China’s. The US had just started its lockdown as I landed in Hawaii at the end of March 2020. LA was one of the first cities to go into lockdown. Soon, the whole country started to lockdown. Hawaii started quarantining everyone flying in. I got in 5 days before they passed the bill to quarantine every incoming person by plane but still did a self quarantine as a courtesy. People were already social distancing. By this time, my news feed was filled with everything about Covid. Americans were not responding in fear like the Chinese. The US response was chaotic and very divided. At first, there was some unity, there were touching commercials with uplifting songs about how we’re going to stand by each other and get through this together. But after a few weeks, people started protesting about wearing masks, others wanted to end the lockdown and go back to work. Many people thought it was unconstitutional for the government to try to tell us what to do. I don’t know if it is or is not constitutional for the government to tell us to stay home during a severe outbreak of a disease that’s effected the world. But maybe in a state of emergency, the government does have the right to try to protect its people. I noticed so much division in our country’s response. Even with the political leaders, some governors wanted to continue lockdown while others wanted to get back to work. What was the most appalling part of the our country’s behavior was that although everyone got more than $1000 from the federal government, people still complained. The Chinese government did not give out any money and the people were extremely compliant.

What I would propose to help protect Hawaii is to create educational media campaigns to educate the people about how to address their health. I would also direct the various health organizations, clincis, hospitals & health providers to publish medical information about treatment, remedies & alternative therapies for COVID. There was a lot of information & media being published about vaccinations, death rates & hospital statistics. But there wasn’t a lot of information focused on educating the public about treating & healing from COVID. There are many alternative therapies and holistic treatment options to explore such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal treatments, essential oils & plant therapies. I think publicizing positive & solution-oriented material for the public should be a priority when the general public is already in a horrendous mood from all the regulations.

Hawaii isn’t likely to see a repeat of this year’s $2 billion revenue surplus which allowed higher-than-normal spending on state programs and projects. If elected, what will your top spending priorities be?

If I have the privilege of being elected to represent the people, I will prioritize the budget according to the concerns of the people. This legislative season, we have heard many people at the Capitol raise their concerns about appropriating funds for homelessness, affordable housing, public safety, education, health & animal welfare.

What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?

In the supreme court ruling of Roe vs Wade, this is no longer a discussion about women’s rights or the right to protect a baby. This is now a discussion of who has more power, the state or the people. Does the state have more power to protect unborn babies? Or do the women have more power to say, no law can stop me from aborting a baby? Everyone has started talking about this but not many know the due process of the law. People just want to talk, talk, talk. What people don’t realize is that the law’s duty is to protect rights and that’s what it has done, it protects the babies. This is not an opportunity for everyone else to put in their opinions. Every case is different. Every situation of abortion is different. What is applicable to Roe vs. Wade is not going to be applicable to every situation of abortion. There are circumstances of rape & incest in which abortion should be the right option for the baby & the woman.

The people should not feel like their boundaries are being violated by the state because the State’s intention is to advocate for babies. The State’s intention is not the violate women’s rights. People can easily distort this to create a conversation about what they want to hear. They want to hear that the state should have less power. Those who speak against abortion knowns that it has always been about advocating for protecting life, not about taking away women’s rights.

What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?

In regards to education, the State should appropriate funds to address the needs of low-income families, they are the most vulnerable & the most marginalized of society. These families need access to various resources to keep their students active & engaged. Without money for extracurricular activities, sport gear, art supplies & equipment, students cannot excel in their education.

Another aspect of education to prioritize is investing in afterschool & summer programs. Afterschool & summer programs are enriching, foundational, vital and necessary to a student’s education. Afterschool & summer programs are proven by research to support children’s social emotions learning (SEL) skills and to heal from trauma. Why? Because during school, students learn about academics. But afterschool and during the holidays, students have extracurricular & recreational activities in which they can develop healthy relationships with their peers & teachers, process emotions, support each other and grow socially & emotionally. It is all part of a healthy growing process and the transition from student to positive contributors of society. Often times, teachers, parents & program coordinators put an overemphasis on academics instead of addressing students’ need for nurture, care, social development, and mental health awareness. It is an educator’s duty to point ahead to what lies ahead and if there’s a gap to be addressed. In many instances, it is not an opportunity gap creating a disparity in access to quality education and resources that causes students to be unsuccessful. In many instances, students are unsuccessful because they do not have adequate support outside of school.

SB 2818 indicates children from low-income households often experience the greatest gains from summer learning programs. This is because low-income households are the most vulnerable to trauma. In a recent panel, Lt. Governor Green, who is an emergency room doctor, said trauma was going to be the most significant challenge we will have to recover from because of the pandemic. Research shows poverty can cause poor mental health through social stress, stigma & trauma. Low income families also have been shown by data evidence to live in cycles of domestic violence, substance abuse & mental health conditions.

The legislature should appropriate funds to enrich the lives of the students who are impoverished with the unprecedented amount of funds to support public schools and summer learning programs. The money can supplement activities to keep the students busy. When students are engaged in their learning, they are less likely to be involved in stirring up trouble or engaging in risky behaviors. Appropriating funds to develop SEL training and trauma informed care in schools amongst staff & educators would be in the fiscal interest of the legislature & DOE. It will fulfill the essential purpose & mission of the Department Of Education to develop academic achievement, character and the social-emotional well-being of our students.

What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?

One thing I would propose to make our government more transparent and accountable is to to publish more educational campaigns about the legislative process.

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

I strongly oppose the construction of the TMT on Mauna Kea. Using education as an excuse to develop advanced technological aerospace equipment is not a good reason to build the TMT. The TMT should not be prioritized before our Hawaiian heritage and sacred land. The telescope can be built elsewhere.

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

I’ve started my own grassroots organization as an artist, chef, entrepreneur, teacher & community advocate. The organization is called Aloha Divine Design. Aloha Divine Design is the umbrella organization and then we accomplish our goals, visions, priorities & missions through the different branches of the organization. ROAR Rescue Of Animal Rights is our animal rescue organization. We work mostly with cats in our neighborhood. We advocate for various subject matters within animal rights such as animal welfare, animal cruelty, the humane treatment of animals and drafting equitable policies for wildlife. CARES Community Art Recreation Education Services is our social service branch where we specialize in an afterschool school art class for our community. 3 Sisters is our culinary art concept. Because of our culinary concept, we’ve provided 500 healthy meals for free since February 2021. ADD+ Productions produces media. Health Home is the health & fitness branch of our organization.

ADD was started by me, my grandma, one of my students & my mom. The work for our organization is not a typical 9-5. We do so much for our communities, the children & the next generation. Our story is truly inspirational because as a disabled person, I’m often times seen as inferior or an outcast of society. My grandmother survived the cultural revolution from China and her husband tried to escape to America from China but got caught and died in prison. And yet, we’ve worked hard and have gotten to where we are at today. To be able to provide for our community, to help animals, to educate children is a dream come true. I love Hawaii and to be able to give back to the state & to the people feels very purposeful & meaningful. My story is unique because not everyone who goes through a severe tragedy, like having cancer (some say cancer is equivalent to having a disability), still looks at life with a lot of optimism & hope and still treats people with kindness & respect.

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
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