Name on ballot:
State House – District 42
Previous job history:
No answer submitted
Previous elected office, if any:
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
I have a solid track record of professional accomplishments and a history of dedicated public service. I am a retired educator. I’m not running for a career, not to collect a paycheck, not for recognition or any gains, but to serve the people. I am not taking any monies from large corporations or political action committees, including unions. My commitment is to the betterment of our communities and building a stronger Hawaii for generations to come. Together I believe we can change the political, economic, and cultural environment we can proudly pass on to our children and grandchildren.
What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?
Currently, one of the great concerns and most significant issues facing our District is the rising cost of living. The cost of living is a threat to financial security for many, if not already, and it will disrupt many families across our state. Residents are still trying to recover from the past two years, people are still healing from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and yet we are faced with an onslaught of rising costs of everyday expenses. There is not much we can do about the inflation rates; the Feds control that. However, I think it’s important to offer people access to information to minimize the impact of inflation—whether it is increasing access and education in financial literacy, managing consumption levels, or ways to pursue sustainable pathways through individual or community farming projects.
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’ve always loved the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” We need to understand that consumer demands contribute to everyday price inflation. Therefore, we need to invest aggressively in our sustainable development efforts to help minimize our dependency on our current imports. More than anything, we must be more innovative yet disciplined in investing in long-term sustainable solutions that support, protect, and prepare Hawaii’s hardworking families today and into the future. Clean water and air are basics, so let’s first start with shutting down Red Hill.
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?
Suspending state taxes on gasoline sounds fine, but let’s be honest, at these prices, saving .16 on a gallon will not make a significant difference to Hawaii’s low-moderate working families. Those in poverty have lower vehicle ownership resulting in two-thirds of bus ridership being low-income; if we really want to help lower the cost of living, let’s ask the Counties to suspend box fares for those riding the bus.
Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.
see answer below
Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?
Our greatest offering to the world is the beauty of our islands, culture, and people. Tourism will always remain Hawaii’s primary source of income. We must embrace it and look at opportunities to complement our existing tourism offerings rather than engage in dialogue that speaks to abandoning it. That being said, Hawaii’s tourism management must shift to offering more authentic cultural visitor experiences that provide meaningful reciprocated benefits for our communities and our ‘aina.
Furthermore, strengthening Hawaii’s economy requires more than diversifying it. It requires redesigning an equitable workforce system. We must address the barriers that keep people from fully participating in the workforce, such as affordable and accessible quality early child care, transportation, up-skilling existing employees, and increasing educational and training opportunities. We will also need to better welcome and provide incentives for new businesses to support the local economy.
What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?
A clear, collective commitment to developing sufficient, stable housing is imperative if we desire to secure residency for future generations here in Hawaii. The last legislative session appropriated nearly $900M for housing, so we must hold respective agencies accountable. Development and developers must be held to standards that ensure sustainability and respect for our cherished ‘aina; likewise, we must secure the necessary infrastructure and ensure the permitting process is not overly burdensome to build these essential homes. We must diversify the type of units we produce, as home ownership will become increasingly less attainable for residents. The shifts we make moving forward should allow us to honor and give life to our ‘aina by perpetuating a rightful place for our children to live and work.
Addressing homelessness requires a collective commitment by everyone. Our hospitals are not long-term solutions for persons suffering from mental health and/or coexisting substance abuse issues. Temporarily diverting people to emergency rooms is costly and impacts access to healthcare. We must strengthen a seamless system of care that includes quality stabilization treatment. Resources are integral to addressing the multi-faceted challenges these individuals endure and promoting the overall vitality of Hawaii’s communities. As a volunteer who works directly with our homeless and houseless friends in our communities, I will continue to work with respective agencies and support measures that would provide funds to address homelessness that yield high-impact results.
What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a healthcare crisis that impacted everyone. From the early days to today, we have been in constant uncertainty and hope as we journey together through all of the challenges Covid-19 continues to bring into our daily lives. As we navigate its variants, our state government agencies should have sufficient understanding and data to respond more to our community’s questions and concerns. We all know that each of us has a role in staying safe and healthy. With Aloha for each other, we must always be cautious and make choices that ensure the lives of our loved ones are protected. My sincerest, heartfelt condolences to those in our community who lost loved ones to Covid-19.
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 elected, I want to ensure our legislative body effectively and collectively works to advance and strengthen Hawaii’s hardworking families; therefore, my priority spending will be aligned with high-impact sustainable solutions supporting that tenet. We have to work together to ensure our investments ultimately serve the people. Furthermore, I will be looking to ensure responsible austerity measures are in place when evaluating and developing Hawaii’s budget and governmental initiatives. Our government entities must be transparent and accountable through improved policies, responsive programs, and enhanced service delivery across our state.
What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?
I believe one of our greatest God-given liberties is our free agency to choose. We supposedly live in a free world, and I believe where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom—therefore, we must ensure that the government does not infringe on our personal life choices—for anyone. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, I think we all can agree that abortions should be rare, women should be treated with dignity and respect, as well as individual religious beliefs. Some religious traditions believe life begins with the first breath, and others regard a fertilized egg as a human being. Ultimately, the government’s only job here is to ensure all people can make their own decisions and have access to health care. Therefore, we must continue to press for reproductive justice to include adequate medical care, family leave, and other resources necessary to raise healthy families. Additionally, we must invest in age-appropriate sex education and have open-honest conversations in our homes, churches, and schools.
What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?
Improving public education requires committing to quality education, starting with our youngest PK learners. As each year passes, a vicious cycle impacting Hawaii’s future continues to repeat itself. Our keiki, in its most critical developmental years, are left behind with limited or no access to affordable quality early learning opportunities. We are failing to invest in this crucial stage of child development that will yield significant returns in the future! We further need to ensure we care for our teachers and recognize and compensate them as professionals. We must be able to attract and retain qualified classroom teachers—our students deserve nothing less. We ask our teachers to help prepare our students to compete in a global society, yet we fail to provide our teachers with competitive salaries. Additionally, we must prioritize modernizing the infrastructure of our schools, leveraging technology to allow for an agile educational system that produces innovative digital solutions to local and global challenges.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
As leaders, we must set the example and have the courage to do things differently. Improving transparency and accessibility to the Legislature could be enhanced through publicizing conference committees and lobbying and lobbyists’ disclosures. I recommend modernizing our current systems and methods, particularly when drafting, viewing, and publishing bills, into a more coherent and simplified one to help track and understand the changes made, when they are made, and by whom. I would also suggest a centralized committee voting data system for the public to access to improve the transparency and accountability of their legislators. If we want more people to be actively engaged in the process and hold their legislators accountable, we need to equip the public with a user-friendly system that shows how their legislators voted.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is an excellent opportunity for all of Hawaii and science worldwide; however, I oppose the construction of the TMT on the Big Island because of the many unresolved surrounding issues. I oppose the long-standing, blatant injustices that the State of Hawai’i continues to engage in and cowardly avoids correcting. We must seek to understand the sacredness of the ‘aina and honor its people, culture, customs, and community. We must renegotiate land lease transactions, so it delivers fair and honest profit sharings to its rightful beneficiaries. We must ensure all stakeholders are represented and actively engaged in discussions related to all future development of the TMT and all existing and future telescopes that occupy the Mauna. Without first rectifying these issues, I, unfortunately, stand in opposition to the construction of what could be an incredible opportunity for all of Hawaii.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
Hawaii deserves better, and I believe we can do better. The people of Hawaii are beckoning for leaders with integrity. I want to ensure we put people before politics. I want to provide policies and legislation that support and protect Hawaii and its people, not private entities. I welcome the challenge of working collaboratively with others committed to seeking long-term sustainable solutions for a better Hawaii.
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