Name on ballot:
Cedric Asuega Gates
State House – District 45
Previous job history:
Legislative Assistant | Honolulu City Council
Legislative Assistant | Hawaii State Legislature
Market Consultant |Honolulu Community Action Program
Educational Assistant | Makaha Elementary School
District Intern | U.S. Congress
Previous elected office, if any:
State Representative, District 44 and Wai’anae Coast Neighborhood Board
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
I am an alumnus of Kamaile Elementary, Wai’anae Intermediate, Wai’anae High School, and Leeward Community College. I currently serve as the State Representative of District 45, which encompasses Makaha and Wai’anae. I have previously served my community as the Chairman of the Wai’anae Coast Neighborhood Board and served on the Board of Directors for the Wai’anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. I have been honored to work in the United States Congress, Hawaii State Legislature, and Honolulu City Council. As a staff, I gained valuable experience in various aspects and forms of government. As the State Representative for the Wai’anae Coast, I was instrumental in securing over $150 Million in the state budget for projects in District 45, along with passing legislation to improve our quality of life.
What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?
Solving our traffic challenges and improving our infrastructure along the Wai’anae Coast remains one of my top priorities. Our transportation woes continue to decrease the quality of life for 96792 residents. Over my three terms in office, we have invested significantly in Farrington Highway, opening our emergency access routes and upgrading our traffic signals. With the constant threat of sea-level rise and natural disasters, I will continue to push for an additional road mauka of Farrington Highway to improve safety and provide an alternative access route for residents. Lastly, I will continue to work closely with HDOT, DTS, and our community to ensure the funding we’ve secured is used wisely and delays for commuters are kept to a minimum.
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?
With rising inflation, I believe we can provide relief to residents on the state level by supplying something similar to the Hawai’i restaurant card but for gas and groceries. In addition, we should be looking at ways to help residents at the macro level, such as temporarily suspending or delaying property taxes and vehicle registration for our most vulnerable residents.
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?
Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.
I support efforts to limit the number of tourists to Hawai’i because we must restore the balance between the needs of tourists and the needs of our local community. In addition, I support HTA’s 2025 Strategic Plan, which I believe will help us manage tourism more sustainably. We need to provide additional funding to mitigate the negative impacts of tourism on our natural resources, traffic, and our way of life here in Hawai’i. Ultimately, we need to continue working on diversifying our economy and strive to become less reliant on the tourism industry.
Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?
Diversifying, and revitalizing our communities’ local economy is one of my top priorities. I believe the state can support the growth of our tech industries, local farmers, small businesses, and community entrepreneurs through funding and legislation. I will continue to partner with businesses, industry leaders, and community members to support growth in various industries. In addition, I will work with stakeholders to provide employment training programs and revitalize existing infrastructure and business establishments.
What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?
I support further regulation of noncompliant vacation rentals across the state to help open more opportunities for residents to find housing and ensure everyone pays their fair share. We also have a large amount of “empty homes” on Oahu. I believe these homes should be taxed at a higher rate to push those homes back on the market. In addition, I think the state and counties should support building more public housing units, rent-to-own properties, and more affordable housing units for our Hawai’i residents. Implementing programs like HPD’s HONU program to serve as a triage for our houseless population is an initiative I strongly support to help get individuals off the streets and into stable housing along with increased enforcement of park rules to ensure the public’s safety.
What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?
I propose the state continue to provide health guidance for residents, but I do not support implementing any additional mandates because I believe we are at the point where we have to learn to live with COVID-19. I strongly support increasing our healthcare workforce to help mitigate COVID-19’s impact on our healthcare system.
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?
My top spending priorities if re-elected are: Transportation infrastructure, housing and homelessness, mental and physical health and our educational system.
What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?
No answer submitted
What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?
I genuinely believe requiring classes for life skills are of the utmost importance to growing productive citizens. It’s imperative that we develop and nurture an education system that encourages place-based learning, increases teacher retention, establishes a competitive and modern workforce, and fully equips Hawaii’s future generations for the global economy. The key to achieving this is working directly with students and parents, teachers, school administration, and Hawaii’s top industry leaders to carve out a path to educational excellence for Hawaii’s youth. In addition, securing additional funding for aging infrastructure at our schools is desperately needed.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
I believe having public-funded campaigns, stricter lobbying and campaign financing laws, and making government more accessible to residents will help increase public transparency and restore trust in our government institutions.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
My community of Wai’anae has made it clear to me that they oppose TMT, and as their State Representative, I must support the will of my community.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
No answer submitted
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