Name on ballot:
State House – District 11
Previous job history:
Psychologist, Social Worker, Small business owner
Previous elected office, if any:
No answer submitted
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
Due to my extensive and varied background as a psychologist, social worker, legislative analyst for State Rep, small business owner and journalist I have an in-depth understanding of society, economics and politics. Adding to that my reputation as a person who is honest and straightforward, ensures that I will be able to listen to and understand the needs of my constituents and accomplish resolutions to their concerns.
What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?
Affordable housing is the most pressing concern (discussion on this below). Also traffic, due to the construction of the new high school, and intermittently on S Kihei Rd, have created longer commutes and stress for S. Maui residents. Regarding the new high school, it is critical for the safety of the students to construct a pedestrian overpass in order the cross Piilani Hwy safely.
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?
Hawaii is quickly becoming a 2-tier society, with the rich who have recently bought real estate here, and locals, many of whom are struggling with bills. Below I discuss shifting the ownership of the tourism industry to Hawaii 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?
Yes, that would temporarily help. Also more level-2 charging stations would make electric cars more practical.
Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.
There are competing forces on this. On the one hand excess tourism is hard on the aina, and on the other hand tourists bring in money, some of which goes to residents. The key is to shift the ownership within the tourism industry to local residents instead of mainland (and foreign) corporations. Getting wages or a salary from tourism is not enough, we need OWNERSHIP as well. I propose that priority given to locally owned tourism businesses, while requiring a percentage of local ownership for resorts, lest they be phased out.
Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?
Back in 2011 Ryan Kavanaugh, film financier, came the the Hawaii legislature and attempted to obtain tax credits for producing movies in Hawaii. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. It would still be a good idea. Also for Maui a marine research center, which would collaborate with the Ocean Center and UH Maui would both help protect our ocean, and bring in funding.
What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?
Maui, like the rest of the United States, is suffering from a severe housing crisis. Because the Permitting Department is overwhelmed, homeowners and developers must wait months, or even years to get building permits. This increases the cost of housing and reduces the supply. By streamlining the permitting process, we can house more people. As a State Legislator I will introduce a bill to appropriate funding to the Counties to hire more staff, with the caveat that they must decrease their timelines. Also, I will focus on the permit processes that are within the purview of the State.
What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?
The best protection against Covid-19 is robust overall health. It is rare for someone without comorbidities to have a serious reaction. I will support anything that increases health: increased access to fresh produce, and other healthy food—more farmers markets and increased SNAP allowance; increased access to gyms and other exercise venues; free substance abuse (including addictions to fast food) treatment, etc. Lockdowns, mask-wearing and vaccine mandates actually reduce health. Healthy lifestyles, including lots of fresh air and sunshine increase it.
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?
Resolving issues at their core—not continually applying bandaids is more cost effective. For instance, regarding homelessness, as the Committee Clerk for the Legislature’s Housing Committee I learned of a program called ‘Housing First’. The amount of money that the government spends on wrap-around services for the homeless is more than it would cost to just give them an apartment. Many programs require that the participant be clean and sober to move in. With Housing First they waive this necessity, with the only requirement being that the person allow a social worker to visit once per week. Many of the formerly homeless, due to the increased stability, comfort and safety of having a home, plus the support of the social worker are able to get clean and sober. This solves the problem at its root, and again costs the state less money in the long run.
What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?
I support a woman’s right to choose. If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs Wade, the state government should enact a similar act for Hawaii.
What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?
Educate the whole child. In addition to subject matter curriculum, schools should teach critical thinking, civics, and healthy communication techniques. Instead of having one central school district, counties should have decision-making power, with more involvement of parents. Also the DOE should issue vouchers to parents who want to send their children to private schools. Public schools should have to compete for students.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
Get money out of politics. I support publicly-funded campaigns. Candidates must raise money in order to reach voters and win. Currently they must rely on donors for this. And like anything in life, there is a cost. In some jurisdictions candidates, instead of only needing to get 15 nomination signatures (for a House race) the candidate must acquire a larger number, such as 100 and sometimes $5 from each signer. This ensures that the candidate has public support. They would then receive as much money as the last winning candidate for that seat raised. This would ensure that the elected official doesn’t owe anyone, and can legislate based on the needs and interests of their constituents, not their donors.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
This is a difficult question. There are two legitimate sides: Native Hawaiians feel that it is a violation of the aina, while astronomers and economists want to support science and the revenue that it will bring in. I believe that this is a decision that should be made locally, by the people and representatives of the Big Island.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
Choice is essential to freedom and autonomy—and is fundamental to our well-being. We all need and want to direct our own lives. That is why I will put freedom of choice—in all aspects of life—front and center as South Maui’s Representative. If you choose to elect me, this is what I choose to represent for you.
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