Name on ballot:
Margaret U. Lim
State House – District 27
Previous job history:
– 1999 – 2012: Golden Coin Bakeshop & Restaurant, Retail Operations General Manager
– 2006 – Present: Fiesta Mart Travel Agency & Services, Assistant Manager & Co-owner
– 2013 – Present: Realtor Broker, Broker-In-Charge
– 2018 – Present: Team Leader of Praise God Team brokered by EXP Realty
Previous elected office, if any:
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
As the operations manager of Golden Coin, my family’s business, for over 20 years, I oversaw the day-to-day operations of all of our restaurant locations and managed about 100 employees. My family and I started Golden Coin soon after we immigrated to Hawaii from the Philippines in 1987. Therefore, I know not only the challenges small business owners and local families face in Hawaii’s unique economic situation but also how to thrive in spite of the challenges.
On top of that, by God’s grace, I have also moved on to start my own successful real estate team, Praise God Team brokered by EXP Realty. My experiences as a Top 100 Oahu agent have equipped me with a broad understanding of Hawaii’s real estate market and the needs of local familie. I have worked with a diverse body of clients. I have successfully resolved many disputes and contractual obligations to the satisfaction of my clients and colleagues.
What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?
Rising levels of crime and home invasions and the economic fallout caused by COVID-19. These issues are direct result of rising cost of living, failing morality, and illegal drug use. I will propose bills to crack down on drug dealers, pushers, and users; and advocate initiatives to engage faith-based organizations and businesses in working together toward a long-term solution.
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’s cost of living was unsustainable long before the Covid-19 pandemic started and we have had the issue of rising inflation. For many years Hawaii residents have been priced out of their homes and forced to move to the mainland. This trend is evidence of bad policy-making by our current leaders.
The common argument from our policymakers is that, because we have a history of hemorrhaging cash, we necessarily need to increase taxes to cover the rising expenses. However, this is completely wrong and unethical! This strategy places undue burden on Hawaii residents, and doesn’t correct the cash flow problems our existing policymakers have gotten our state into. To correct the state’s cash flow problem, we need to first stop the bleeding by lowering the expenses. When we stop the bleeding, our state’s economy will recover.
Upon being elected into office, I will support measures to reduce government spending in unproductive areas and pass those savings on to Hawaii residents by reducing taxes paid on groceries, gasoline, and medical expenses.
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?
Hawaii residents have been taxed on everything for the longest time. Hawaii residents pay 51 cents per gallon, or about 11% of the total price, to the state government. In their time of great need, the people of Hawaii deserve reprieve as compensation for enduring high taxes during the good times of the past. I support measures to temporarily lower state taxes on gasoline.
Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.
I don’t support any efforts to limit or slow the number of tourists to Hawaii. Many of our small businesses depend on tourism and it is not practical, and probably not constitutional, to stop interstate travel. In order to mitigate the stresses caused by tourism, the state should focus its efforts on dispersing the impact of tourism more evenly. Why do we concentrate all the tourists in urban Honolulu, causing traffic congestion, pollution, and lowering the quality of life for local residents living in those communities?
Many of these negative externalities can be reduced by spreading out where tourists visit. Some areas of our state see too little tourism, and other areas see too much tourism, hurting local residents in those areas. Tourism should be like the expansive rain clouds that blanket the entirety of our mountain ranges, bringing life to every part of our islands, rather than a dammed up river that floods one area and causes droughts in another.
Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?
Yes. Currently, Hawaii’s largest industries are tourism and defense. Any plans to diversify our state’s economy should capitalize on these strengths.
The state government should work in conjunction with our military to boost Hawaii’s healthcare industry and shift our purely-recreational tourism industry into the medical tourism industry. People who seek medical care in other countries outside of their home country are willing to pay top dollar for medical services and often pay in cash. Promoting medical tourism will increase the supply of healthcare in our islands, lowering prices for local residents. Medical tourism would also provide wage-growth opportunities for people working in service-oriented industries, such as hospitality and food.
Hawaii must also focus on increasing its forestry and agricultural output. The state can revive agriculture in Hawaii by directing funding to agroforestry programs and purchase new equipment for local farmers. Increasing the state’s production of crops and lumber would allow the state to expand its food and wood manufacturing capabilities. This plan will not only improve food security but also provide more jobs while improving our environment.
What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?
The State of Hawaii has large amounts of land under its control. The State should sell some of that land ONLY to local developers at a discounted price, which in turn should be sold or rented ONLY to the Hawaii residents with a proven record of employment in the state.
I will also propose bills to provide more funds for HHOC (Hawaii HomeOwnership
Center) and MCC (Mortgage Credit Certificate) program to assist first-time home
buyers with down payments.
What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?
First and foremost, I will promote healthy living and habits AND EARLY TREATMENT. Those at greatest risk for experiencing severe symptoms caused by Covid-19 are those with pre-existing health conditions and those who stayed home with NO early treatment. For those who are infected with the virus, we must focus our efforts on increasing public education and awareness about the efficacy of potential early-treatment options.
I will also focus on ensuring government transparency and listening to the public’s opinion when deciding the state’s health response. I want to highlight the mental health impacts that the pandemic has had on Hawaii residents. The decline in mental health poses a greater threat to the general wellbeing and safety of our communities in the long-run than the physical symptoms of Covid-19. Most people who develop symptoms of Covid-19 will recover, but we cannot say the same for those who develop mental health problems as a result of the stresses caused by the pandemic and lockdowns.
Discussion of the perverse mental toll, the pandemic and the lockdowns imposed by our current political leaders is often left off the table. There was no public vote or even a televised hearing for deciding whether the governor should impose repeated lockdowns and what the potential implications a lockdown would have on mental health. That type of leadership and communication undermines public trust in government which can hamper the government’s response to crises and, ultimately, worsens the pandemic’s impact on Hawaii.
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?
My top spending priorities will focus on helping small businesses, who have been largely ignored in the state’s previous spending on economic stimulus.
Although the state previously made available grants and loans to local businesses, many small businesses were pushed out from sharing in the cash pie. Many small business owners know how difficult and frustrating it was to find out about grants and meet the requirements. For instance, grants that were given out as rebates required small businesses to first use their own funds to purchase new equipment or PPE before they could receive rebates from the state. How is a small business that has been shutdown repeatedly by the state supposed to afford thousand dollar payments for new equipment and PPE before it can receive any help from the state?! Our state saw the most established businesses thrive while small mom-and-pop stores suffered.
To help small local businesses, I will focus on directing funding to cleaning up the streets where many small businesses operate. For instance, the streets of Chinatown, Liliha, Kalihi, and Waianae have been neglected for far too long. Many struggling local businesses operate in these areas but our existing policy makers ignore their pleas for basic government help such as street cleaning and policing crime. As a small business owner and real estate agent, I know how important location is to the viability of a business. If the streets where a business operates are filled with litter and graffiti and do not “feel safe”, no customers want to shop in that area, regardless of how much the business owners may try to entice customers to enter their stores
Furthermore, I will focus on giving in-kind grants to our small businesses to help them improve the efficiency of their operations. Many of our small businesses have no online presence, continue to operate with only cash registers, and do all their finances by hand. This needs to change – and it can change quickly with the proper help. I will direct funding for the state to purchase a point-of-sale system for every small business in the retail and restaurant industries. A point-of-sale system will help every business to streamline its operations and keep track of their finances within a week of implementation. This in-kind donation will ensure that money spent by the government will be used in the way it is intended to be – to improve the efficacy of our small businesses – and remove the need for small businesses to cough up their own funds before they can get any help from the state.
What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?
The state should follow suit the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade and not get into more hearings about this issue. Instead we need to focus on teaching children the sanctity of life and abstinence of sex. As a strong Christian, I would even argue that our legislators should actively protect the life and rights of the child in the womb.
In the United States, we grant legal personhood to corporations, who are not even alive and breathing! A corporation is created on paper by its owners. It can neither breathe nor speak nor does it have a physical body, yet we have given it rights like that of a person. We have given corporations the right to buy and sell assets, engage in politics and political spending, and the right to sue when it’s been wronged by the decisions of others. It’s not even alive, yet our state strongly enforces and protects the rights and wellbeing of corporations. But our state chooses to do little to protect the rights of the person in the womb – a person that can move, think, and feel pain. When our state allows a child in the womb to be killed by an abortion, our state does nothing to protect the child’s rights. It goes against Christian beliefs to disregard the voice of those who are unable to speak for themselves and take the life of an innocent human being. Supporting abortions also goes against our founding principle that we are “A nation under God.”
What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?
To improve public education in our state, we must focus less on getting the “best” curriculum or developing new teaching programs. Instead, our focus must be on empowering teachers and parents to support and nurture school children in the way that best suits the individual child.
Children learn best and become interested in learning through encouragement from others, modeling the proper behavior and skills, and repeated exposure to the learning materials. Therefore, children fall behind in their education when they have no one to support them.
Currently, our teachers cannot properly nurture their students because they are stressed out about their poor pay and lack of adequate support, school facilities, and supplies.
The state can make significant progress in improving public education just by increasing teacher pay, developing public outreach programs to equip parents with the necessary skills to patiently and effectively help their children with their homework, and increasing communication about student progress and curriculum to parents.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
In order to make local government more transparent to the people of Hawaii, we need to be holding periodic town hall meetings about upcoming legislation and to discuss issues in the district first. Very few people have the opportunity to talk with our existing political leaders on a regular basis. In addition, under the local government’s current practice, when the public is made aware of a hearing on an issue, it is always a scramble for people to find facts. In fact, I would even require that for before any legislator can propose a bill, they must first get a certain amount of signatures in support of the idea from their own constituents.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
As a resident of Oahu, I do not have enough knowledge about this issue to provide an appropriate response. I would need to speak with those directly impacted by the construction of TMT on the Big Island and other relevant stakeholders to make an informed decision.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
I am not a politician, but I am running because I see how the lack of balance in our state legislature has crippled our state. Our Founding Fathers fought and labored hard to leave to us a Constitution that sought to ensure the balance and separation of power.
Out of the 78 partisan State offices up for election this year, only FIVE were previously held by Republicans. The Democratic party has strangled Hawaii for the past 60 years. The Democratic party of Hawaii has had absolute control with no accountability. It is not enough for the people of Hawaii to elect new faces into office. We need to elect new ideas and a new party into office if we want to see any meaningful changes in our state.
I encourage all voters who are reading this to vote 100% Republican candidates, just to restore the balance of power. For those who are on the fence or aligned with the Democratic party, if you value the future prosperity of our state, please at least vote 50% Republican candidates and 50% Democratic candidates.
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