Name on ballot:
Leilani M Soon
State Senate – District 10
soonforsenate.com, FB: Leilani Soon, IG: soonforsenate
Professional hula dancer/instructor and creative sign dance choreographer
Previous job history:
Flight attendant with Hawaiian Airlines, customer service agent with JTB Global, worked with hearing impaired and special ed students at Lincoln School, Stevenson Middle School, and Waikiki School. Also worked at Cathedral Catholic Academy and Sacred Hearts Academy
Previous elected office, if any:
No answer submitted
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
As a flight attendant, I was responsible for the comfort and safety of the traveling public. In the same way, I want to continue to protect and promote the safety and welfare of our residents in District 10 as well as all of the people of Hawai’i.
What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?
One very pressing issue is crime. I want to support and help organize neighborhood security watches and help our residents receive training on how to protect themselves and their property.
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?
I want to lower our taxes and rein in government spending as well as work with my colleagues to see how we can implement/modify legislation to reduce the cost of goods being brought into our islands.
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?
Yes I believe we should lower the taxes on gas.
Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.
Tourism is the lifeblood of our economy, but it would be wise to balance the number of tourists with our resources so that we can adequately ensure that our impact on the ‘aina is not overwhelming. I would like to investigate eco-tourism and other ways to educate our visitors about how to respect our culture and give back to local people.
Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?
Yes it can be; I would like Hawai’i to be self-sustaining by producing more of our own food including staples like meat and eggs as well as fruits and vegetables. The lockdowns shuttered more than 25% of small locally owned businesses, many of which were largely dependent upon tourism. I want to help pass legislation that is friendly to agri-businesses and hi-tech manufacturing outlets.
What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?
Investigate laws to limit foreign investment or non-resident buying of homes. Homelessness is a complex issue and needs to be dealt with individually. Once we find out what each person needs, we can connect them with the services or resources they need.
What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?
Promote a physically fit initiative involving local celebrities encouraging people to move their bodies and exercise! There are so many great activities we can do to increase movement and overall health. I want to focus on educating people on the basic building blocks of health including quality sleep, eating well, exercise, joy and laughter since a strong immune system is the most effective way to keep a person healthy and free of disease.
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?
I will vote to fund maintenance of infrastructure (roads, water systems, etc.), school facilities, parks and recreational facilities upkeep. I will also encourage better education so people can learn how to care for our land and natural resources.
What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?
Education and support are key to letting young people and young women know that they have more than one option. I want to encourage community groups to support women who wish to raise their children or give them up for adoption.
What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?
Protect parental rights, elect the school board, give parents the opportunity to share and voice their concerns. Teach civics and practical skills in school including financial literacy that will help our youth to thrive and be prepared for life. Increase support for trade programs and opportunities for mentorship and internship with skilled professionals. Support personal and career assessments to help young people create a vision for their lives and plans for their futures.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
Have in person meetings with more time for people to write or give in person testimony.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
As a Native Hawaiian, our ancestors were visionaries and used the stars for navigation. In the same way, I do support the construction of the TMT so that the Native Hawaiians and all people can further their study of astronomy and create jobs. However, I also feel that it’s important for the voices and concerns of the Native Hawaiian to be addressed. I also believe that any previously promised site cleanups should be started as soon as possible.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
The Hawai’i State Constitution Article 1, Section 1 states “All political power of this State is inherent in the people and the responsibility for the exercise thereof rests with the people. All government is founded on this authority.” I want to protect the freedoms of our people and ensure that our religious and medical rights are upheld. E holomua kakou – let’s move forward together!
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