Name on ballot:
Micah Pookela Kim Aiu
State House – District 32
Previous job history:
Attorney at Ashford & Wriston, LLP
Previous elected office, if any:
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
This is my first year running for elected office. I hope to rely my education, life experience, and work as an attorney to learn as much as possible about the many priorities of our community, how to balance these needs against our tax base, and establish open relationships with a variety of constituencies. Rather than rush to introduce legislation expressing my personal priorities, it is more important keep an open mind to the hundreds upon hundreds of bills under consideration, not to mention a massive state biennium budget, and the legislative goals of business, nonprofits, and other groups working for the betterment of Hawaii.
What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?
Rising costs, including inflation, is the most pressing issue affecting residents in my district and across the state. I hope the legislature can ensure that the State spends its money wisely so it can implement more initiatives like the suspension of fuel taxes.
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?
As stated above, I hope the legislature can find creative ways to reduce government spending so that Hawaii residents are not burdened with high and excessive taxes.
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?
A suspension of State and even Federal taxes on gasoline is unlikely to make a signification impact on Hawaii’s drivers. The State needs to focus on new initiatives to make the state more accessible by public transportation, walking, and biking.
Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.
Hawaii’s natural resources are limited and precious and we must do everything possible to preserve what we have for our and future generations. I support county enforcement of illegal short-term vacation rentals, collection of state and county taxes on authorized operators, implementation of impact/admission fees at heavily used attractions. This will ensure that the state’s existing infrastructure can actually support tourist to Hawaii.
Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?
Hawaii should not be so dependent on tourism. The State should make it easier for new industries/business to start-up in Hawaii and not put so many regulations on business.
What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?
The State should make it easier for developers to build affordable housing projects. The state should continue to appropriate funding for social services to help the homeless and support state and county programs targeting this group.
What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?
I continue to encourage those at-risk to get vaccinated, including getting boosters in consultation with their heath care providers.
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?
Our so-called “higher-than-normal” spending was a direct response to severe cutbacks made during the pandemic when our economy suffered and tax revenues plummeted. I expect spending will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 as our economy and revenues stabilize. My top spending priorities will be education, infrastructure, and housing.
What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?
Hawaii’s constitution already protects a woman’s right to safe abortions and I see no reason to amend the constitution.
What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?
The state should continue and make a larger investment in public school infrastructure and address salary inequities affecting the retention of senior teachers.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
If I am elected I personally hope to be accessible to my constitutes to represent them and ask the right questions to those to ensure that the understand how government is working.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
As a Native Hawaiian I appreciate the arguments on both sides of this issue. I think the State’s establishment of the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority will appropriately govern the future of astronomy facilities atop the summit. It is through mutual stewardship that we will be able to respect the culture and the land and still have a world-class astronomy program at UH.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
No answer submitted
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