comscore 2022 Election: Roy Takumi | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Election

2022 Election: Roy Takumi

Name on ballot:

Roy Takumi

Running for:

State House – District 34

Political party:

Democratic

Campaign website:

www.reptakumi.com

Current occupation:

Full-time legislator

Age:

69

Previous job history:

Communications Specialist, Hawaii State AFL-CIO; Program Director, American Friends Service Committee-Hawaii; Teacher, English as a Second Language; Waithelp, Halekulani Hotel; Laborer, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

Previous elected office, if any:

Elected to House since 1992.

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I was born and raised in Hawaii. I come from a working family—my father worked for the city’s sewer department and my mother was a public school custodian. I am a product of the public schools and worked since I was 15, starting off bagging groceries at $1.25 an hour.

After graduating from McKinley High School, I joined the Hawaii Air National Guard where I served for seven years. I went to Leeward Community College while working full-time as a laborer at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. I eventually received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Hawaii when I was 40.

At 24, I moved to Japan to work as an organizer in the Korean community in Osaka. During my six years abroad, I traveled extensively throughout the region—Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand—working with community-based development projects.

This experience taught me that people everywhere share the same hopes and dreams for their families. I came to the belief that decisions that affect people’s lives must be made at the community level, not from the top down.

As a legislator for the past thirty years, I have put these lessons to work for the community. I have fought to open the legislative process and to make it more accountable and transparent. I was fortunate in being able to advocate on issues that are priorities for me.

What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?

There are specific issues unique to the district such as resolving the situation at Sunset Memorial Park. The cemetery’s ownership is in limbo and, as a result, the grounds have fallen into disrepair due to the lack of maintenance. This has been going on for years. Along with those who have loved ones buried there and other community members, I was able to get DCCA involved in resolving the issue. It still is ongoing but there has been progress and I anticipate we will come to a resolution within the next year.

Another issue is fireworks although it plagues other communities. I have consistently fought to tighten the fireworks law. For example, in 2020, I passed legislation that would allow law enforcement to use videos taken by residents as evidence of illegal fireworks use. The law also made homeowners responsible for anyone in their home who sets off aerial fireworks.

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?

Prescription drugs. Specifically, for cost of living, I have placed a priority in lowering the cost of prescription drugs especially for the over 200,000 residents who don’t have insurance that covers the cost. I worked to create the Hawaii Rx program which lowered prescription drug prices for those without drug insurance. Unfortunately, Hawaii Rx didn’t go far enough to reduce the soaring costs of prescription drugs which is going up at twice the rate of inflation in any given year. Access to low-cost drugs is directly related to health not to mention the cost of the delivery system of health care. After all, if you can prevent one heart attack with statin medication, it saves the system money in the long run not to mention the quality of life of that individual.

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.

Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.

Creating a sustainable tourism economy that limits the number of tourists yet increases the earning potential of hotel workers. This can be done by enacting a tourist tax that can be used to improve working conditions for workers.

Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?


We can also diversify our economy so young people have more opportunities. Hawaii is well-positioned to create “green” jobs that are decent jobs in manufacturing and construction and in new sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. These are jobs that limit green house emissions, minimize waste and pollution and address the effects of climate change.

What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?

My daughter moved to Las Vegas five years ago simply because she could not afford to buy a home for her family. It will take a concerted, multi-pronged approach to solve our housing crisis. I am in support of:
– Cracking down on thousands of illegal vacation rentals.
– Taxing empty investment houses that reduces the supply of affordable housing.
– Focus on affordable rentals on state land.
– Streamline the permitting process.

What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?

We are on the right path now and we should continue what we are doing.

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?

Education, health and human services.

What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?

We already codified a woman’s right to choose under state law. We should continue to strengthen the laws we have.

What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?

Education has been a passion for me. There is no better avenue for prosperity than investing in education. This would include advocating for early childhood education. I chaired the education committee for fifteen years. I pushed for the establishment of the Executive Office of Early Learning to build upon opportunities for four-year-olds to enter public preschool. We expanded the Open Doors program to provide more childcare options for families.

What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?

I will await the findings and recommendations of the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct. At a minimum, I would expect to see the following recommendations which I support:

– no fundraisers or fundraising during session;
– more transparency for lobbyists; and
– reform conference committee rules for more openness.

Ultimately, we must move forward to 100% publicly-financed campaigns.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?

I support recent legislation that will change the management system and be more community-based.

Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?

No answer submitted


View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
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