Candidate Forum Questionnaire
1. The price of homes reflect the supply and demand of the market. The price point (much higher than most locals can afford) implies that there is enough non-local people purchasing properties to keep the prices out of range of most residents. What will you do to address the housing crisis we now face and make homeownership more affordable?
First, I support the Constitutional Amendment which would
- capture tax revenue from real estate investors,
- slow the real property investor market, and
- create a dedicated funding stream for our public education system, which in the long run, helps our local families and economy.
Second, I will work to ensure that the HUD programs in Hawaii continue and will explore options to expand HUD programming so that more people from our local community can be served. Third, I will ensure that VA funding for housing continues and press for efficiencies in the that program. Fourth, I will work to ensure that DHHL is refocused on serving Native Hawaiians by moving people off of the waiting list and onto their land.
One of the most important issues facing our state is the cost of living, which is among
the highest in the nation, and everyday families struggle just to get by. Meanwhile, the
homeless crisis continues. Our residents need truly affordable housing—that is why I
have long advocated building up, rather than out, on Oʻahu to make the most of our
limited land, preserving as much open space and agricultural land as possible. We
cannot sit idly by as the people of Hawaiʻi are being priced out of our own housing
market. We\'ve become a playground for the wealthy—many condos and homes sell for
millions, yet sit empty 90% of the time, while other homes are used as vacation rentals,
increasing the price for all of Hawaii\'s housing and making it increasingly difficult for
families with limited resources to find a safe place to live, to put food on the table, and to
make ends meet.
In Congress, I’ve worked to secure more federal funding for affordable housing
programs in Hawai‘i, like Section 8, as well as programs which help empower local
families to be able to afford a home through programs like Low Income Housing Tax
Credits. I’ve worked to pass legislation that reauthorized and funded the Native
American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), which has been
critical to increasing home ownership among Native Hawaiians over the last thirty years.
I will continue to fight for more affordable housing units through public and private
projects and make sure they stay affordable in perpetuity—not flipped and sold for profit,
as we’ve seen occur far too often. I will continue fighting to streamline many of the
regulations that burden families in Windward Oʻahu and across Hawaiʻi and increase
flexibility to empower state and local housing agencies, as well as private developers, to
create and build new housing options. Our affordable housing shortage is a crisis that
requires every level of government, the private sector, and community taking action
toward a solution.
Home ownership rate in Hawai’I ranked 47 among the 50 states and the District of
Columbia, Housing Vacancy rate ranked 16 among the same 50 states and Hawai’I
ranked 19 th among the 50 states in per capital Personal Income. I think we need to raise
income levels so that Hawai’I home ownership is achievable.
Working families in the low and middle-income brackets are most affected by high
housing costs and often have to work additional jobs to achieve home ownership. Home
prices are driven up as mainland or overseas investors see opportunity to buy a home,
rent it out for profit, and reap the benefits of appreciative market value and structure
depreciation. All those elements make home ownership a boon for outsiders and
artificially raises the price for locals. It’s no wonder why local want to get in on that
investment as well.
To make home ownership more affordable:
- Help the building industry to create more housing starts by eliminating the 30% low-
income housing requirement.
- Require first opportunity for local housing and low-income lotteries to be made
available to Hawai‘i residents and attaching a binder prohibiting resale within a 5 or
- Enable the City and State, with their voluminous property assets, to develop specific
low-income housing similar to the military Public Private Venture (PPV) concept.
- Ensure the PPV properties meet a new standard of expected requirements and
create a neighborhood that inspires ownership, a sense of place, and a general good
feeling of safety and where people treat each other with respect and decency.
- Design an efficient, aesthetically pleasing development that residents will be proud of
and will protect.
Supply and demand yes but also it reflects the current prioritization our economy has on investment over shelter. When we talk about our housing crisis we must speak about the current economic model we choose to operate in. It is one that currently gives tax breaks to the most wealthy developers yet leaves the local consumer to purchase homes at rates giving the developer the highest amount of profit at the expense of our local people. This top down ʻneo-classical’ economic model has dominated for decades. We keep trying to solve symptoms of this larger problem with bandaids such as putting $500 million into a revolving fund hoping that it will eventually lead to developers building ‘affordable’ units. What we really need is a complete rethinking of our economic model and what it values the most. Are we going to continue to value profit above all or can we demand that our market value human qualities that improve our lives? Also, large foreign investment in to our housing market is making it impossible to compete in. Especially when the salaries in Hawaiʻi are some of the lowest on average. We must stop commodifying housing making it a privledge. We need a change in economic thought.
As a local resident raised in a single-parent, working-class family, Hawai‘i’s housing
crisis personally affects me and my entire family on a daily basis. Although my husband
and I both work full-time, our combined incomes are not enough to be able to afford a
house in today’s market. Like many other long-time local families, this means living in
my parent’s house and raising my children in the same place I grew up. Although we
are fortunate to have a place to live for now, not having the keys to our own home
means our housing situation will continue to remain an uncertainty especially as market
prices continue to climb throughout our neighborhood and the state.
As a legislator, I will push for housing development and legislation that make
homeownership more affordable for our middle income and working-class families. We
need to support affordable housing efforts, such as rental housing and workforce
housing. Having worked at the State Legislature as an Office Manager, I know first-hand
how challenging it is to pass legislation that supports affordable housing. That is why, if
elected, I will support continuing the efforts that the Legislature began this year by
providing funding to the State Rental Housing Fund, as well as expanding the excise tax
exemption for construction on affordable rental housing, which will encourage the
development of new affordable rental units.
Yes, the price point for homes makes ownership out of reach for most families who live in
Hawai`i. When combined with the high cost of goods and services, low wages and government
taxes, structures and regulations, it’s amazing working families can make it. In fact, it is
increasingly clear that sometimes, they can’t. More and more, working families are struggling to
keep a roof over their heads.
That’s why I have worked on the housing crisis and preventing unwarranted evictions in Hawai`i
since my first job out of law school, at the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i. I have fought for
people’s rights to land and housing ever since. When I first ran for office and won in 2008, the
first issue I raised in the campaign was to challenge the Governor’s and the Department of Land
and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) decision to evict 6 families from Kahana Valley (DLNR did not
want people to live there and an attorney general opinion supported that decision). After winning
the election, I worked with the community, wrote the bill and worked with House and Senate
leaders to override Gov. Lingle’s veto and successfully prevent the evictions, establish a
community-led planning process and allow new leases to be issued in Kahana. If elected, I’m
not just going to talk about supporting and working on these issues -- I will take actions and
continue to fight for our most vulnerable, regardless of the opposition.
The housing crisis demands more action, leadership and ideas in addition to existing efforts.
There are a variety of strategies, not one silver bullet – but we must and can resolve this crisis
while also keeping the country country and adjusting to climate change realities. If elected, I will
stand up and fight for affordable housing and struggling, working families in our community with
policies that make sense, for now and future generations. As demonstrated by my actions time
and time again, I will stand by the community; I will not stand by, be quiet for or support
unwarranted luxury developments promoted by misled executives or foreign companies, even if
they pretend to address the housing crisis -- no matter the pressure.
Policies and bills I support include tax reform to reduce the burdens on working families (so they
can afford to rent, buy or build a home); tax reform to incentivize affordable housing
construction, repair and maintenance; easing restrictions on work-force housing and tiny-
homes; promoting public-private partnerships and redevelopment; building up and with transit
oriented development in Kapolei, the 2nd City; offset fees for investment properties; the building
of `ohana zones; collaboration and cooperation between federal, state, city and county, private
and non-profit organizations to build and provide housing (including increasing federal funds for
public housing); and requiring Executive agencies prioritize families over foreign corporations
(e.g., the Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness Development Corporation should prioritize
agricultural leases for family farms over foreign corporations).
Also, while talking to residents door-to-door in the community, I learned firsthand how some
abandoned/derelict homes and properties get lost in government regulatory systems and
deplete housing stock. We don’t need empty houses, band-aids and bureaucracy; we need
actions and commitments to solutions that really work. If elected, I will organize around and
advocate for the solutions people in my district support, including but not limited to those
UNPERMITTED TRANSIENT VACATION UNITS ARE REMOVING GREAT CHUNKS OF
HOUSING FROM THE LOCAL MARKET. THE CITY AND COUNTY HAS FAILED TO
ENFORCE ITS HOUSING ORDINANCES, ALLOWING THE LACK OF HOUSING FOR
LOCALS TO ESCALATE. I HAVE SUPPORTED, AND WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT
LEGISLATION TO STRENGHTEN LAWS, SO LOCAL HOUSING CAN RETURN TO LOCALS,
AT A PRICE THEY CAN AFFORD, RATHER THAN AN INFLATED PRICE BASED ON
ILLEGAL RENTAL INCOME.
I think the first step is to enforce the current laws regarding vacation rentals in Hawaii more stringently. Once that is done then we can look at possibly allowing short term rentals of rooms or ADUs for owner-occupied properties to help provide an additional income for residents.
I would encourage more private sector investments in existing affordable housing properties
where federal funding has failed.
I would encourage re-purposing of existing real estate into rental apartments. I would also
provide tax rebates or other incentives for apartment building owners who voluntarily set aside a
certain number of their existing apartments as affordable housing.
I would expand tax incentive programs for lower cost development, reduce or eliminating
property taxes on new construction of affordable housing, adjust zoning requirements etc. There
are a lot of other solutions we can look at also.
There are two distinct issues in this question. First, we need to define what is local and
non-local. If someone comes to Kaneohe and adopts and lives local Kaneohe values,
can they not also become local too? Let’s make that more apparent by highlighting
values that make Kaneohe unique. You can’t keep people from wanting to live in the best
little town in the world, but we can instill our values instead of letting outside values
replace ours. Let’s ensure that we #SharetheAloha, show people how we #LiveKuleana,
and #InspireOhana to those that come to our town.
Affordable housing is a nation-wide problem stemming from unfettered housing policies
that sent housing prices skyrocketing. We need to bring back market discipline, provide
incentives for long-term homeownership, and enforce mechanisms that were intended to
help qualified persons in need. Increasing the housing supply is one-way to adjust the
price point, but let’s also look at other ways to accommodate those in need, without
sacrificing the interests of our existing residents and neighbors. Let the people of
Kaneohe decide what’s in the best interest for our town.
2. We have seen an increase in homelessness on the Windward side. What are your short term and long term goals to address this?
In the short term, we need to identify State properties that will provide transitional housing for families and the working poor. We also need to change State legislation that effectively makes it illegal to house minors so that we can put unaccompanied, homeless minors in their own safe, transitional housing. We have identified the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility as a place where this type of housing could be developed. I will also work to ensure that we have HUD, VA, and DOI funding to create housing support for the populations (working poor, veterans, and native people) who are most at risk for homelessness.
In Congress, I have fought for more resources to support important programs that
directly serve our homeless population—and I will continue fighting for these critical
resources. Hawaii’s soaring cost of living and extreme shortage of truly affordable
housing has made it very hard, if not impossible, for many local families to make ends
meet and has contributed to the homeless crisis we face today.
As I mentioned above, I’ve worked to secure more federal funding for affordable housing
programs in Hawai‘i, like Section 8, as well as programs which help empower local
families to be able to afford a home through programs like Low Income Housing Tax
Credits. I’ve also introduced legislation that reauthorizes and funds the Native American
Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), which passed in the
House unanimously and has been critical to increasing home ownership among Native
Hawaiians over the last thirty years. Nearly 30% of the homeless population in Hawaiʻi is
comprised of Native Hawaiians. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) is
the sole recipient of the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant and administers 203,000
acres of trust land. Of those lands, 99% are located in Hawaii’s Second Congressional
Securing federal funding for programs that increase the construction of affordable
housing and connect them to our low-income families, veterans, Native Hawaiians, and
others remain among my top priorities in Congress. Still, we need increased action at
every level of government, social service non-profits, and the private sector to
aggressively address this crisis and ensure available resources are being used to help
those most in need.
In January 2018, I worked with Hawaii’s federal delegation to secure over $11 million in
federal funding to support 35 homeless assistance programs in Hawaiʻi. I have fought
hard against predatory banking legislation that rolls back consumer protections and
targets low-income and minority communities. I voted against the Financial CHOICE Act
of 2017 (H.R. 10), the Home Mortgage Disclosure Adjustment Act (H.R. 2954), and the
Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 (H.R. 3299), which benefit banks
and lenders over consumers and significantly weaken the Consumer Financial
We need to address our house less population by investing more resources in education
and social workers to get our house less population into homes.
In our society, we have a standard that allows citizens to act upon their free will.
Sometimes that includes making decisions that are harmful to themselves or others.
If one does harm to themselves, the standard of intervention is haphazard and only as
good as the engagement. We need better and more consistent judicial interface for
those who refuse help and support or refuse medications. I believe it’s our duty to help
a person in need or crisis– the reason being, that if a person is not functioning clearly
and creates a danger to themselves or others, governmental intervention should be an
acceptable solution to get them the services they need.
For broader solutions:
Identify the agencies and/or entities that are producing results
Assess their desire to remain as-is or gauge interest in growth of the agency or
Provide necessary business support, funding and training to complement growth and
still maintain or improve the level of services provided.
Our campaign is already adressing and working to solve this issue. One main concern is that there are only 2 outreach workers for our windward homeless. All the money they are throwing at this problem and we do not have a robust ground team to meet, talk, and work with our homeless population. This is the single most effective way to solve this issue. The Windward side has been hosting homeless outreach fairs and they have been great. We need more promotion and going to where our homeless live to promote these events but our first one at Kaneohe District Park was fantastic. So many people got signed up for services, got a hot meal, and now are one step closer to getting off the street. We need more of these types of events. We need more compassion around this issue. We need more individuals who are willing to meet our homeless population where they are and we also need much more mental health services. Mental health services
Growing up in Kāne‘ohe, I have definitely seen an increase in homelessness in our
community. In high school, my youth group put a service project together to feed the
homeless in our community. We spent an afternoon looking for individuals who were
homeless and in need of food. We found one individual and he declined our help.
Today, you can find individuals in need of food and shelter throughout Kāne‘ohe and
Windward Oahu, which shows how much our community has changed over the years
and how great the need is to support those who are homeless.
Some of my short-term goals are to continue to partner with available services that are
already focusing on addressing homelessness across the State, such as IHS and the Waikiki Health Center. Non-profits, community groups, and churches on the Windward
side offer an additional resource to assist in a holistic strategy to reduce homelessness
and help individuals transition into self-sufficiency.
Some of my long-term goals include addressing the various reasons for homelessness
on the Windward side, which includes mental health, drug and substance abuse, and
individuals who are just not making enough to make ends meet. It is also important to
support children that are homeless and partner with the educational system to provide
additional support for them.
On a state-wide level, I believe that we are in a homelessness crisis and we cannot
continue with the status quo. I support the Legislature’s efforts to create ʻohana zones
for homeless individuals, so that there is a place for homeless individuals and families to
go (instead of having them move from community to community). ʻOhana zones provide
an interim answer to our homelessness crisis and provide a safe place for people to
live, which will improve the health and well-being of homeless individuals by providing
them with access to much needed services. The goal is to get homeless individuals into
permanent housing, however, ʻohana zones can be a temporary solution as permanent
housing gets built.
As a legislator, I will be constantly looking at additional solutions to our State’s and
community’s homelessness crisis and will be open to discussing new ways to help
remediate the problem.
(Please also see my answer in number 1, above.) My first glimpse of the world, as an educated
adult, was as an attorney whose job was to help families keep a roof over their head when they
faced legal challenges but could not afford an attorney. Since then, I have been committed to
resolving the housing crisis in Hawai`i as well as creating a future without hunger or poverty. I
have and will always fight for people’s rights to land, food, healthcare (including mental health
and addiction treatment) and housing – whether as a lawyer, representative, Executive agency
director, parent or human being.
In the short term, if re-elected, my goals would be to take actions to fund community programs
that serve the homeless (i.e., provide food, toilets, showers, temporary shelter), ensure we fix
our mental hospitals and increase mental health and addiction treatment services, support
churches and other organizations able to assist and do everything I can in collaboration with
others to eliminate hunger and poverty. I also will advocate for and develop long-term solutions
in collaboration with diverse groups and individuals who have expertise and determination to
solve problems. For example, I am already working with residents and organizations to write a
bill to create a 10-year public-private partnership to support an Addiction and Fetal Alcohol
Spectrum Disorder Center (based on models from other countries and state programs) that will
help address root causes of homelessness.
In the long term, if elected, my goals would be introduce and pass bills as well as ensure capital
improvement project and budget decisions are made to increase the stock of affordable housing
and homeless shelters (please also see my answer to number 1 above and short-term goals
above); ensure State Executive branch agencies lease vacant land ethically, transparently and
more appropriately (i.e., prioritize local families rather than foreign corporations); support
providing health care, mental and addiction treatment to all in need; and find new ways to end
hunger and poverty.
I am uniquely qualified and capable -- with my education, experience and background -- to
address these issues and I know government can do much better. I am the only candidate
running for this seat able to solve the toughest of challenges and effectively fight for you at the
legislature; I am independent, determined to succeed and beholden to no special interest except
SHORT TERM, WE ALLOCATED FUNDS FOR THE GOVERNOR TO PROVIDE MORE
HOMELESS SERVICES AND SHELTERS. LONG TERM, I SUPPORT USING STATE LAND
OF DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY TO HOUSE YOUNGER HOMELESS IN KAILUA.
Short and long term, I would want to provide temporary living assistance to give many of these individuals the help they need to get back on their feet and their lives going again. Long term, I think the new state mental health facility being constructed near WCC will be able to provide help for those in the homeless community that need that extra care
I would provide temporary housing, especially for our working homeless. I would in the long
term work with the community, business leaders , union leaders and other repersentative to
provide jobs and provide job training in the fields that these people are interested in. As they join
the work force, they will help to increase our tax base and tax revenues.
Also establish homeless centers that would have bathroom and shower facilities, cooking
facilities and an area where they can put up a tent temporarily, but there will be rules and
regulations that they will have to follow.
Homelessness is a broad label for an issue that includes, but not limited to financial
difficulty, mental health, personal choice and behavioral problems. Each needs to be
addressed according to the need presented. In the short term, we can continue to
support and allow the charitable organizations to do their work that monitor, care, and
address the needs of our homeless neighbors.
The long-term goal requires more commitment from our community to take ownership of
our public spaces, and awareness of our neighbors. We can be hospitable to people’s
needs, but we also need to set community standards and expectations with those
intending to utilize and occupy our public spaces.
3. Healthcare costs continue to rise. It has been reported that our local hospitals are seeing large deficits due to the uninsured. Access to healthcare is a human right, but we are reaching a crisis in the way our system is set up. What sort of plans do you have to fix this and ensure our hospitals stay solvent and that access is available to everyone?
We need to decouple employment from health insurance. Healthcare is a human right and we all deserve the same healthcare that is afforded to members of Congress. Socioeconomists around the world have proven that high quality, single payer healthcare is possible in the United States so it is up to our members of Congress to deliver it. Having a universal healthcare system in the US would also remove the market competition that exists between the companies that own our hospitals, resulting in better, accessible, and equitable care for patients.
Our broken healthcare system is structured to increase the profits of big insurance and
pharmaceutical companies on the backs of the American people. This is despicable and
wrong. While the Affordable Care Act made some improvements like covering pre-
existing conditions, many serious issues remain, including extremely high deductibles,
escalating prescription drug costs, and ever-increasing medical expenses. Most
importantly, too many Americans still can’t afford to get the healthcare they need, and
with the dangerous cuts from the Trump administration and Congress, the matter is only
getting worse. All Americans should have access to affordable healthcare. I am a
cosponsor of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act (H.R. 676) to extend
Medicare coverage to all Americans, do away with the expensive deductibles, premiums,
and copays that keep people uninsured or underinsured, burden small businesses, and
exist to the detriment of public health. We must ensure universal healthcare, demand the
government negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to bring down the price of
prescription drugs, and allow the re-importation of more affordable prescription drugs
I think we need and I would support a Single Payer Universal Health Care System.
Universal Healthcare is a right for all Americans. In order to achieve this I would work on
reducing many of the additional administrative cost associated with administering
It’ll be the kuleana of our federal officials to deal with the national health care issues. As a local elected official and as a starting point - My plans would be to commission a working group that includes; health care actuaries, a business analyst, representatives from Kaiser, HMSA, etc., Pharmaceuticals and other areas to get the real financial picture and to understand each business model as it relates to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid and other forms of insurance and health coverage. From good numbers, opportunities to implement the best programs for the state of Hawai‘i are created.
The statement that ACEESS to healthcare is a human right is misleading. I believe that heathcare in it of itself is a human right. For instance we would not say access to free speech is a right. It is the action that holds that right. Therefore, we need to do everything possible to make sure we are covering every human possible with basic healthcare needs. We live in the richest country in the world in the history of people on this planet yet we make families go into massive amounts of debt to stay alive. It is morally wrong and not pono. Healthcare insurance companies have a business model that relys on keeping individuals sick yet the profits for insurance companies are very high. (https://www.hawaiibusiness.com/hawaiis-most-profitable- companies-2/). We need to move towards a model of keeping healthcare costs down by having a healthy population. Basic healthcare services should be provided at little to no cost our residents. We should not have to send a tourist like the japanese gentleman who was jumped, beaten, and spent days in the hospital, home with a huge medical bill. Again, our economic structure incentivises immoral behavior and we must work hard to change it.
Many uninsured individuals who access healthcare, especially at private hospitals, such
as the Queens Medical Center, are homeless. Programs such as the Hawaiʻi Homeless
Healthcare Hui, H4, is an answer to providing comprehensive medical and other support
services to those in need. Programs such as this provide access to hygiene, healthcare,
medical respite and transitional housing. It is important for the State and City to continue
supporting efforts such as this to provide care for those in need. Encouraging private-
public partnerships, like those utilized in H4, will also help to address this issue and create more services.
It is also important to support the Hawaiʻi Prepaid Health Care Act (PHCA), which
requires that businesses offer health insurance to employees who work more than 20
hours a week for four or more consecutive weeks. With everything that is happening at
the federal level in regards to healthcare, it is important that we stay vigilant in making
sure that Hawaiʻi’s workers do not lose benefits and healthcare.
There are so many challenges for government infrastructure and services today. We are in
trouble because there is not enough tax revenue to pay for existing needs for sewage treatment,
safe sidewalks, invasive species and vector control, mental health and addiction treatment,
early childhood and higher education and even disaster preparation. All of these deficits in
government will contribute to increased healthcare costs. And then there is the cost of rail...
I support public hospitals and basic health care for all people. That’s easy to say. Not only will I
work with others and support efforts to keep hospitals open and healthcare accessible to all
(including mental health and addiction prevention and treatment), I will support efforts and
introduce bills to decrease tax burdens on working families, promote jobs and economic growth
and increase State revenue.
THE HOMELESS POPULATION IS OVER STRESSING AND OVER USING LOCAL
HOSPITALS. I HAVE MET NUMBEROUS TIMES WITH CASTLE EXECUTIVES, ASKING
THEM TO INCLUDE A TRANSITION FACILITY ON THE NEW CAMPUS, SO HOMELESS
CAN SHELTER AND RECOVER FROM EMERGENCY ROOM CARE. THIS CAN PREVENT
REPEATED VISITS TO THE ER, WHICH IS TAXING THE SYSTEM AND NOT HELPING THE
HOMELESS PATIENTS RECOVER. CASTLE IS IN THE PROCESS OF PREPARING AN EIS,
AND I HAVE SUBMITTED SUCH COMMENTS AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO THIS.
We have to place caps on what insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical facilities charge for their goods and services. That is the number one cause of the skyrocketing medical costs.
We should make changes by creating legislation to expand health care coverage and improve
its affordability, particularly for low and moderate income americans. We need to improve the
access and affordability to create more provider networks, enchance competition among
insurers, improve consumers experience and strengthen the medicaid program.
Hawaii had one of the best health insurance networks in the country until we tried to
make one-standard national healthcare system. One size does not fit all. Let Hawaii take
ownership of its own healthcare system again and set policies that make sense for the people of Hawaii. Be proactive against cost-drivers such as fraudulent claims and frivolous malpractice suits, and increase the supply pool through agreements across
4. Hawaii’s public school teachers are the lowest paid in the nation, yet our cost of living is one of the highest. Many teachers work multiple jobs to survive. Studies have also found that teachers really reach efficacy after 7 years, yet the turnover rate for teachers in our state is 5 years. How do you plan on addressing this problem? How do you plan on strengthening Hawaii’s education system?
The very first thing we can do as a community is vote for the Constitutional Amendment and secure dedicated funding for public education in our State. The high turnover rate in our state can be attributed to three things:
- The high number of teachers in the DOE that come to Hawaii through Teach for America;
- The lowest pay for teachers, when adjusted for cost of living, in the nation;
- The high cost of real estate.
I would work to restore the $2.3B in cuts that the Trump administration is taking out of Title 2 funding. Title 2 is key to recruiting, training, supporting, and compensating our teacher workforce.
I remain committed to supporting our teachers, improving their pay and benefits, and
making sure they have what they need to provide our keiki with a quality education. I
have fought to protect and increase funding for education programs, accountability
standards, and to help disadvantaged and underserved children.
Test scores alone cannot accurately measure the quality of a school. Every student
learns differently. In the 114th Congress, I supported passage of the Every Student
Succeeds Act (ESSA), which gives states more flexibility to determine the best way to
measure the success of our students and provides support for innovation, teacher
quality, STEAM education, and more. Now states can rely on more than just math and
reading test scores when determining a school’s success. They can look at things like
robust arts and athletics programs; full-time counselors, nurses, and librarians; strong
parent and family engagement programs; and rigorous AP classes and engaging
When ESSA was signed into law, it included language that I introduced to reauthorize
the Native Hawaiian Education Act, which provides grants for innovative Native
Hawaiian educational programs across the State of Hawaiʻi.
Earlier this year, I worked to pass increased funding for DOE Impact by $86 million;
increased funding for TRIO by $60 million; increased investment in Head Start by $610
million; and increased funding for Child Care and Development Block Grants by $2.37
billion—all of which were included in the 2018 Omnibus Spending bill and provide much
needed investment in Hawaiʻi programs that previously covered only 11% of eligible
I also co-sponsored H.R. 4909, the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP)
School Violence Act to increase federal funding for schools in Hawaiʻi and across the
country to strengthen measures that prevent school violence. The bill authorizes federal
funding for increased investment in training students, teachers, other school personnel,
and local law enforcement officers on how to identify warning signs of potential violence
at a school and how to intervene to prevent people from hurting themselves or others;
better coordination between schools and local law enforcement; and school security
measures, including use of metal detectors, locks, lighting and other deterrent measures
at schools, security assessments of schools, and security training of school personnel
and students. This funding may not be used for arming teachers and school personnel,
or training in the use of a firearm.
Yes, I agree that our Education System needs some work! I support cost of living
increases to our underpaid and overworked employees within our Education System.
The teachers and staff are helping to develop the minds of our future generations.
I will increase teacher’s salaries by 25% as a starting point. I will find these funds by:
- Supporting the Hawai‘i Department of Education’s (DOE) efforts to reduce their
administrative structure as they streamline to more localized governance.
- I will commission a work study to eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies within the
DOE administrative structure.
- I will secure permanent funding that directly supports teacher salaries, recruitment
and retention. Recently proposed tourist or transient taxes are not steady streams of
income and are subject to rise and falls of tourism.
As a former teacher who has been in our public school system I am well aware of the hardships our teachers face each and every day. Teachers and our keiki are absolutly undervalued and underpaid. The public schools barely have the resources to make ends meet but if you poke your head into Iolani or Kamehameha schools, you will see a drastic change. These private schools have been invested in by parents in form of tuition. Our state has not been paying their ʻtuitionʻ to our public schools so to speak. Our state has not made our keiki or their education a priority and it is painfully obvious. I would champion a dedicated revenue stream for our public schools and education. This would help fund outdated facilities, professional development for teachers, updated textbooks, fund creative school programs, etc. Each child has a different set of needs and learning styles/capabilities. We need to allow our teachers who spend most of the time with them the ability to cater to these children as they see fit. This cookie cutter 1- size-fits-all model only holds our children back. Also, a creative approach to attracting more local teachers and keeping them here is teacher workforce housing. Housing is the #1 cost in HawaiʻI and the teachers are underpaid. Providing our teachers with housing would free up their income to be put directly back into our economy and afford the high cost of HawaiʻI all while keeping them in the communities they love.
As a graduate of Hawaiʻi’s public schools including Castle High School, a parent of
children who attend/will attend public schools, a PTA President, and the daughter of a
30-year retired elementary Windward public school teacher, supporting Hawaiʻi’s public
education system is one of my highest priorities. I agree that teachers are underpaid
and we need to improve the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers.
In order to address this problem and to strengthen Hawaiʻi’s education system, I support
the constitutional amendment, which will provide a direct source of funding for public
schools. If voters decide to allow a surcharge on investment real property to go to public
education, this would provide additional funding for teachers and schools (this
surcharge will not affect most individuals in Hawaiʻi, as it focuses on those who have
investment properties, which are second or third homes). Hawaiʻi is the only state that
does not have a dedicated funding source for education and does not use property
taxes to fund education. Providing more funding to public schools and using those funds
to increase teacher pay will help to recruit and retain more teachers.
It is also important to partner with our educational system and help connect local
community groups to the schools to support education. As Benjamin Parker Elementary
School’s ʻOhana (PTA) President, I am looking at ways that we can encourage parents
and community members to volunteer at the local public schools to share their wisdom
and provide additional support for our students.
Please see my answer to number 3. We must increase salaries and benefits for teachers,
creating incentives for teachers who stay for 7 years or more and decentralize decision-making
for the Department of Education (giving local schools and parent organizations more options to
succeed, improve and innovate). At the same time, we must ensure there is transparency,
accountability and consequences for decisions and schools that fail our students.
I SUPPORTED AND VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE CON AMENDMENT. ASSUMING VOTERS
WILL APPROVE THIS MEASURE, THEN I WILL WORK TO BE SURE THE NEW MONEY
GOES TOWARD TEACHERS, AND TO THE LOCAL SCHOOLS, RATHER THAN BEING
SCOOPED UP BY THE DOE BUREAUCRACY.
Hawaii is the only state without a dedicated source of funding for its public education system. Every couple of year, the teachers have to enter negotiations with the state and hear over and over again that the state doesn’t have the money to pay the teachers fairly, to reduce class sizes, to provide services for special needs students, to build and repair facilities. This year in the general election in November, the citizens of Hawai’i will have a chance to change that. The teachers Constitutional Amendment to provide Schools Our Keiki Deserve places a surcharge on real properties in Hawai’i specifically for these purposes. Its intention is to set up a revenue stream that only taxes non-primary residences that are valued over $1 million. This has the potential to bring in around $500 million/year specifically for education, and it will not put an undue burden on the average hawaii resident!
I would make education an issue that will make it a top priority in order to build the foundation
for future prosperity and quality of life. I would protect our children from gun violence, create a
bill to have a security detail on all campuses, provide a better school enviroment and stronger
neighorhoods, and prepare our children as future leaders. I would set a goal to create a strong
community enviroment that supports better schools and student achievements by using state
and city services and resources. I would work with our schools, education leaders and parents
to build a partnership that encourages excellence in the classrooms and support academic
We need to bring the Kaneohe public education system under local control, allow more
autonomy for Kaneohe people to administer and govern our local school system. Fifty
years of running a statewide bureaucracy, with a centralized budget, paying over $13,000
per student annually, isn’t a model for efficiency. Unload the increasing administrative
burden we place on public school teachers and support them in their professional
development through continuing education and exchanges. At the same time, allow
industry professionals to partner with schools, teachers, and students in the classroom.
Our local businesses have a vested interest in producing working professionals of the
future. Let’s strive to keep the local Kaneohe businesses and community involved in the
development of future generations.
5. Public Mental Health care is seriously lacking in Hawaii. What would you do to improve the cooperation between agencies and provide services to everyone who needs it?
I am not sure that lack of cooperation is the primary limiting factor to mental health access in most areas of Congressional District 2. For most of rural Hawaii, the limiting factor is simply the lack of mental health professionals. As a foster mom whose foster children qualify for public mental health services, what I’ve found is that access is limited by the lack of mental health professionals that are accepting new patients. Again, in this case, the high cost of real estate and the high cost of living is what typically drives counselors, therapists, and mental health doctors out of Hawaii. The positions are available, but many go years without being filled because people can’t afford to take those jobs. In instances where federally funded mental health services aren’t accessible by local agencies, I will make it my job to identify those barriers and fix them.
More than 32,000 adults and 12,000 children in Hawaiʻi are living with serious mental
health conditions, yet less than half receive the services they need. To help bridge the
gap that has long existed in mental health care, I worked to pass the Helping Families in
Mental Health Crisis Act to better connect those dealing with mental illness to
community-based services, promote early intervention and treatment, increase access to
tele-medicine for underserved and rural communities, and remove access barriers to
Medicaid and Medicare for adults and children who need treatment. The legislation helps
address a nationwide shortage of nearly 100,000 inpatient beds, encourage states to
provide community-based alternatives to institutionalization, and increase funding for
suicide prevention research and outreach programs. This bipartisan legislation will help
make it so that those in need have better access to the treatment and mental health care
they deserve. It includes key measures to empower parents and caregivers, drive
evidence-based care, drive innovation, reduce the shortage of crisis mental health beds,
increase services to underserved and rural populations, advance early intervention and
prevention programs, encourage alternatives to institutionalization, focus on suicide
prevention, and more. I will continue working with our community, providers, and
government agencies to help deliver services to those who need them.
I work with a number of Nonprofit Organizations in my line of work. These Organizations
are out their in the field so they have information and education resources. I think if we
bring together more of these Nonprofit Organizations and agencies together to
strategically plan a system to combat this issue of Public Mental Health, we will Be
Better able to address it.
Like my previous comments on homelessness, I would incentivize the organizations who do well and produce results. Conversely, I would consider removal of funding from those government agencies who do not meet their mission requirements.
This is an area that we need drastic change. There are so many agencies inside of our state system that deal with the issue that the majority of them do not speak to one another. The non-profits in our state do such a better job at actually making progress in addressing mental health care because they do not have the beruocracy and red tape that our state does. Our state runs these public services for mental health like a buisness and not as a public service as it should. Until we can really trim the doubling of efforts and bring in more professionals for mental health we need to have a central agency that organizes and manages this crisis. This agency would designiate roles, tasks, and prioritize addressing this issue. This agency would NOT be a political process with appointees. Once in place then there can be an assesment of which services need to be increased. I would bet that outreach and compassionate care services would be near the top.
While walking door-to-door in our community, I have learned that many families in our
district know someone who is affected by mental health concerns, and these numbers
continue to be on the rise in our state and across the nation. Children and youth, adults,
elders and their family members are all affected by mental illness, alcoholism, or drug
and substance abuse, and this can affect individuals regardless of race, age,
socioeconomic background, etc. The first step in addressing this problem is removing
the negative stigma that is often associated with mental health care and mental illness.
It is important to support organizations that promote awareness and education about
these issues, so that community members can become more knowledgeable about the
challenges that individuals are facing.
It is also important for the State to support the Department of Health (DOH) and its Adult
Mental Health Division (AMHD) with much needed funds. The DOH AMHD provides
services to those with serious mental illness who are under or uninsured or those who
require the care and custody of the department. With the Hawaiʻi State Hospital in
Kāneʻohe, it is important that we support mental health care efforts to not only help
those individuals, but to keep our community safe.
Please see my answer to number 2. I absolutely believe in bringing agencies together to
collaborate with organizations, community leaders and the legislature (including my office,
should I be elected) to ensure services are being provided to all who need them. To garner the
momentum, authority and focus for collaborative efforts to be successful, I will work with
community leaders to establish priorities and strategies that will ensure local needs are met. If
elected, the next step would be to work also include organizations and relevant State agencies
to draft legislation and advocate for budget priorities and capital improvement projects so that
we will successfully address community priorities. Key to our successes will be leadership at all
levels of government and funding (please see my answer to number 3).
THIS IS A FUNDING ISSUE, AND WE HAVE ALLOCATED FUNDS FOR THE WINDWARD
STATE HOSPITAL. WITH THE IMPROVED PLANT AND MORE FUNDING, THERE SHOULD
BE IMPROVED SERVICES.
Public Mental Health Care is another area that has been underfunded in Hawai’i for a log time. This exacerbates and already serious problem by allowing many of the issues worsen instead of addressing and trying to remedy them.
I would create a better understanding between all the different agencies and departments to
share and communicate their different views to each other and use all the different resources
and skills that needs to be applied in solving problems as to how we can make better use of the
system to take care of the people that are mentally challenged. This way we will be able to help
everyone who needs the help by creating a better understanding of what these people need.
A good place to start is seeing where the agencies have failed to cooperate. Is there an
existing policy that hinders better coordination and communication between agencies?
What can be done to break down those unnecessary barriers?
6. How great a threat do you think climate change poses to the State and what, if anything do you propose to mitigate the threat?
Climate Change is an immediate threat to our State and the physical evidence is apparent across our country (primarily along our coasts). We must respond to this threat as a global community by reducing, and eventually eliminating, our use of fossil fuels for energy. The first thing I would do in Congress is repair the damage that this administration has done to the EPA and its green energy programs. The second thing I would do is support meaningful legislation to reduce fossil fuel use and support alternative energy development (particularly in the area of transportation).
Across our islands, we’ve seen the devastating impact of climate change firsthand, from
record-breaking flooding on Kaua‘i, to rising sea levels eroding Honoapiʻilani Highway on
Maui, and much more. In Hawai‘i, we grow up with an appreciation for our environment
and an understanding that taking care of our 'āina, water, and air is our kuleana.
We must end our country’s addiction to fossil fuels and do all we can to protect our
planet and our future. In Congress, I’ve introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better
Future Act (the OFF Act) which lays the groundwork to reach 100% clean energy
production by 2035. The bill would end fossil fuel subsidies, which give billions of dollars
to the oil industry, and support investments in clean energy, infrastructure
modernization, green jobs, and more.
Other environmental legislation I’ve worked on includes the following:
I introduced the Coral Reef Sustainability Through Innovation Act of 2017 to
award grants that promote coral reef research and conservation.
I secured $6.5 million in federal funding for rural communities’ groundwater
programs and $222 million for the environmental restoration of formerly used
defense sites, including 117 locations in Hawaiʻi.
I cosponsored the Water and Energy Sustainability through Technology Act to
improve water sustainability in Hawaiʻi and across the country.
I voted to uphold the Clean Air Act and stop harmful legislation from unraveling
protections for our planet and public health.
I introduced the Macadamia Tree Health Initiative and Areawide Integrated Pest
Management Act to encourage invasive species research.
I fought to maintain federal funding for sustainable farm programs and the
University of Hawaiʻi College of Tropical Agriculture and to increase access to
food stamps, including allowing their use at farmers markets.
I secured federal funding for our local agriculture industry, including $1.6 million
for a new farming facility and training programs in Waiʻanae and $3.194 million
for agricultural education grants for Native Hawaiian Institutions.
I cosponsored a bill to reauthorize funding for the Land and Water Conservation
Fund to protect natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage sites in
Hawaiʻi and nationwide.
I cosponsored the Organic Agriculture Research Act to more than double federal
funding for organic agriculture research.
I have also consistently voted against the Keystone XL Pipeline and joined
thousands of military veterans alongside Water Protectors at Standing Rock to
oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
I continue to champion efforts that combat climate change, support clean energy, and
protect our fragile environment. As a lifelong environmentalist, I am grateful to have
earned endorsements from the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Ocean
Champions, among others, and received the “Friend of the National Parks” award from
the National Parks Conservation Association.
I think Climate Change is not only a threat to Hawai’I, but also to our Nation. My
research and education had led me to understand the real threat. Doing away with fossil
fuels and investing in cleaner energy solutions is one way to mitigate Climate Change.
Getting out of our cars and riding Public Transportation is another way we can help
mitigate Climate Change.
We are an island community and should be on the cutting edge of sea change impacts. We have an economy that is primarily driven by tourists who enjoy our climate and proximity to the ocean. Simply ignoring sea-level changes for the sake of our tourist trade is short-sighted. We need to spend less time convincing and denying and spending more time in planning. Our planet is in a constant climate change pattern and, unfortunately, in this case, our global population and their “antics of existence” are accelerating that change. In Hawai‘i, we have several world-class environmental engineers, ocean engineers, and development experts. Let’s get them together and listen to their ideas.
An enormous threat. Not only is climate change posing a threat on the world but our you do not need to be a scientists to see the drastic impacts it is having on our islands. Coral reef in Kāneʻohe bay are bleaching, we are seeing increased flooding due to heavier conistant rain effents, species are dying out due to the sea temperatue warming, and much more. To address this threat we need, again, a complete change in the way we do and think about things in our state. The introduction of The Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliancy is wonderful but we have yet to see the state equip them with the resources neccasry to tackle the huge task of climate change. In fact, they have already had their budget slashed and staff cut. To fund this office and more efforts combat climate change we should be charging/taxing those responsible for the externalities (unintended consequences) causing the climate to change. A carbon tax would be a great place to start.
Growing up in Kāneʻohe, I have always loved being surrounded by the Koʻolau
Mountains and Kāneʻohe Bay. Over the years, I have seen changes to our environment
and am concerned about the future of our community. As a legislator, I will make sure to
protect our watersheds, farmlands, and the lush beauty that we all love about our home.
Climate change is definitely affecting Hawaiʻi in a negative way. Sea level rise/king
tides, hotter temperatures, negative effects to animal habitats, etc. are results of climate
change. We need to look at supporting efforts that decrease our carbon footprint and
reduce the effects of climate change by supporting more renewable energy efforts.
Supporting current State efforts, as well as companies that create renewable energy
sources, such as through biofuels, and solar, ocean and wind energy, is an important
part of reducing our dependence on outside oil sources. It is also important to continue to encourage the public to consider using renewable energy sources, like solar energy.
By continuing to provide tax incentives to convert homes to solar energy, we will be able
to reduce our dependence on outside sources for energy and help to reduce climate
Climate change poses great threats to the Hawaiian Islands, not just because there is and will
be sea level rise, ocean acidification and increased hazardous weather events, but because
State commerce and economic growth already have been and will be increasingly impacted. I
wrote many bills while I served in the legislature from 2008-2014 and made specific
recommendations to address these issues when I served as the Director for the Office of
Environmental Quality Control that can be seen in the Annual Report submitted to the Governor
in 2015 (go to http://oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/EC_Reports/Forms/AllItems.aspx and select the
2014 Annual Report). To mitigate, we must do more to reduce the use of imported fossil fuels,
promote renewable energy in all sectors and invest in technologies and jobs that will reduce
risks and reverse the negative effects of climate change. At the same time, we need to adjust
and prepare for challenging changes. (Recommendations I made include, for example,
consolidating agency programs and creating one agency to focus on the environment and
sustainability issues and utilizing the Genuine Progress Indicator to provide comparable
economic, social and environmental data before consequential choices are made by
In our community in particular, I would work tirelessly to collaborate with and build upon efforts
by Kāko`o `Oiwi, Papahana Kualoa, Hui Kū Maoli Ola and Paepae O He`eia, the University of
Hawai`i, Hawai`i Institute of Marine Biology, in concert with the new National Estuarine
Research Reserve (NERR) to restore and improve the He`eia ahupua`a and the health of coral
reef and ocean wildlife resources in Kāne`ohe Bay. These efforts will mitigate risks and effects
of climate change while promoting recreation, economic activity and benefits, subsistence living
and food abundance.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS ISSUES FACING THE STATE. AS A
FORMER ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY, I HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE LEADERS
PROMOTING LEGISLATION TO PREPARE HAWAII FOR SEA LEVEL RISE AND CLIMATE
As a state consisting of islands, climate cange impacts us greatly. Here in Hawai’i we are blessed with an abundance of clean natural resources. To do our part to mitigate the effects of climate change it is paramount that we invest more into those renewable energy sources and break our reliance on fossil fuels shipped here
The true impact of climate change is going to be very hard to predict. The impact on fishing, to
rising temperatures, energy usage and the shifting of global climate change will force us to
adapt quickly to the change. We need to rally the people, business’ here and around the world
to start making the changes that is necessary to help stop climate change and together we have
the power to limit the effects of climate change.
The climate continues to change as in centuries past. We’ve all originated from distant
shores in search of a better environment, and lucky we now live in Kaneohe. The way to
mitigate a threat is to keep your options open, explore, innovate, and adapt. The worst
thing is to commit to policy changes based on politically or financially motivated
projections, and to make sweeping decisions with drastic unintended consequences.
7. Our workforce is rapidly changing. It is predicted that by 2030 over half of our labor force will be freelancers. What will you do to help prepare our young people to function in the gig economy?
Universal Basic Income is a long term goal of mine. UBI has positive effects that include encouraging people to find work/gigs, reducing business administration costs, increasing entrepreneurship, nonprofit work, altruism; and increasing mental health for individuals and families.
The traditional notion of what it means to have a career is rapidly changing. In generations past, our parents and grandparents often sought jobs that offered the security of long-term employment, health benefits, and secure retirement plans—all with the same company and over the course of decades. With the advance of technology, our generation faces a new reality that includes the burgeoning “gig economy.” The “gig” concept is reaching nearly every corner of the economy, and with it, come new opportunities for those who seek independence, need the flexibility that a 9-5 job doesn’t offer, or work to make extra cash to help make ends meet. These opportunities also come with unique challenges that are new to this generation, and it’s important to understand how the gig economy works. Freelancers and independent contractors need to know what their legal rights and responsibilities are within the “gig” economy—whether they’re working with a popular platform-based organization like Lyft, Uber, or Postmates, or they’re working as a finance, tech, or public relations small business owner. The financial literacy skills necessary to navigate the gig economy are in some ways very different from those needed for a traditional job and will need to be incorporated into our education system. We should also make sure that small business loans and incentive programs are adapted to fit the gig economy and help entrepreneurs set up shop, get established, and succeed in what can be stressful and uncertain times.
I’m actually already doing my part by owning and running a successful Business
Consulting Firm. I want to bring more business to Hawai’I, by helping those who need
help understand the importance of Business Ownership.
To effectively answer that question, one would have to understand the types of jobs that will be available in 12 years. Will we be so far along in Artificial Intelligence that the need for workers reduces drastically? Will a driver’s license renewal be as simple as an eye scan and eye test at the DMV? Or even at home? I believe we need to move into the future with our eyes wide open and truly understand that the change that’s coming will be akin to the industrial revolution at the turn of the 20th century.
This is an area that I am very excited about. This shift in our econonmy and the way we
run things in our state that I have been commenting about a lot can really come into
focus in this answer.
The gig economy is a result of our economic model not working well for our people and
labor. We are seeing more wealth and profits go to fewer individuals and more people
becoming worse off. Thus, people are utilizing all resources they can to try and generate
income for themselves. In many ways it has sprung some great innovation in our
economy but we are all still fighting for the ever shrinking pieces of pie.
What we are seeing today is an increase of people utilizing the “Internet of Things” for
work. This includes blogs, YouTube shows, websites to sell goods, etc. This is changing
the way our capitalist market has worked. Traditionally our economy has encouraged
buisnesses to reduce their marginal cost (The increase or decrease in the total cost of
producing one additional unit of an item) to as low as possible. This way profit will
increase. What our current economic system has not accounted for is people being able
to produce products for a marginal cost of zero, nada, close to nothing! The Internet has
given us the ability to start becoming ʻprosumersʻ not consumers.
For example, look at the newspaper buisness. We have seen a huge decline in physical
print newspaper companies and subscriptions. Most of the smaller newspapers have
been bought out by the larger ones and we only see a few monopolies left (example:
The Star Advertiser). This is due to individuals being able to provide the same service
that newspapers did, in some instances even better, for zero cost. On the internet you
can now share videos instantly, stories, articles, etc. without having to read the
newspaper for information.
This is already happeneing for 3 key areas that will spur a new economy or “industrial
revolution” so to speak.
Communication – which we are already seeing the huge effects the communication
internet has on our lives and economy.
Energy – Renewable energy such as solar has been getting cheaper and cheaper.
Sooner rather than later each home will be producing energy instead of buying it
from an energy company. It then can be shared over the internet. For example if you
and your neighbors all have solar and are connected to a co-op grid together, you
could then share the energy you do not use with your neighbor. Homes will be
producing and sharing green energy in the very near future.
Transportation – Also in the very near future transportation will all be set up online.
For example Tesla already has operational driverless trucks that deliver goods to
different locations. In our lifetime we will see the production, transportation, and
energy used to produce a product all be automated and completed online.
This chances everything. We need leaders in place to make our new econonmy a
“sharing economy” or what is called a “collaborative commons”. We are all in this
wild ride we call life on earth together. We have to start acting like it by supporting
one another. This new sharing economy is the future where we free ourselves from
mundane labor to do the things we enjoy or work in non-profit sector, the fastest
growing sector in our nation. We will start doing work that impacts one another and
brings people together.
Having the right leaders in place to make this shift is crucial. If not this new economy
could be used to only further the collection of power and money to an even smaller
group of people. That would be very dangerous.
It is important to educate our young people about the pros and cons of a gig economy
by partnering with high schools across the State to provide this information. With the
increase and advancements in technology, more opportunities are available for
employment in non-traditional settings (those that our economy has been based upon).
Gig work has increased over the years in areas such as arts and design, computer and
information technology, media and communications, and transportation.
Gig economies offer individuals with opportunities to pursue a variety of passions all at
once (such as freelancing to do graphic design, website design, and being employed as
an Uber or Lyft driver), as well as provides them with the flexibility to create their own
schedules and manage their time.
Young people also need to be aware that gig economies can also have a downside,
such as the inconsistency of work and lack of benefits, such as sick leave and
retirement. Those who are freelancers also need to be able to manage their schedules
and have a high level of organizational skills.
It is important to provide young people with honest and comprehensive information
about what it means to be a freelancer. With the increases in cost of living and the
possibility of needing to provide for a family, it is important that young people know and
understand the benefits and challenges of being a freelancer in a gig economy.
To prepare young people for the future, I support all efforts to ensure the private sector and
government work together to promote entrepreneurial models of success and invest more in
education, from early education to after school, to vocational and higher education. I would also
promote innovation, technology and access to broadband in all sectors of the economy.
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION SHOULD AUTHORIZE MORE INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS,
INCLUDING TRADE SCHOOLS, ALLOWING STUDENTS TO CHOOSE WHICH ONE TO
ATTEND. BE IN FRONT OF THE CHANGE, RATHER THAN TRYING TO PLAY CATCH-UP.
Continuing to expand the DOE CTE programs to ready our future workforce for the changes ahead. That doesn’t just mean teaching them the skills, but partnering with agencies that provide certification and community groups to allow mentorships by trained professionals in the fields of interest.
I really don’t see by 2030 that over half of our labor force will be freelancers. Because Hawaii is
a very service oriented/hospitallty state. It is very much driven by our tourist economy. But if it is
going to be a gig economy then we will have to start training our children by learning
technology at an earlier age.
Get back to the basics of education. Learn to read, read to learn, people learn the best
from information they are motivated to acquire for themselves. Know the basic sciences
and be able to evaluate and discern fact from fiction. Develop interpersonal skills. As in
most jobs, your vocational skills are half of the job, you still need to work with and
through other people. Overall, be mindful that the gig economy will also evolve over
time, teach people to be adaptable to change.
8. Our windward communities transportation infrastructure is designed to accommodate cars. How would you provide safe commutes for pedestrians, bikes and wheelchairs to travel from our neighborhoods to our community cores?
Complete Streets have already started to appear on the leeward side of Oahu. In Hawaii, with its aging population, our Complete Streets should also include small electric transportation (e.g. golf carts, GEM cars). As a member of Congress, I would ensure that US Department of Transportation TIGER 2 grants for Complete Street planning is available in suburban Hawaii too.
Providing safe, walkable communities for our residents wherever possible must be a priority. Last year, Congress came together to pass a long overdue transportation and infrastructure bill that reauthorized critical funding for our highways, bridges, and other infrastructure, transportation safety, and public transit projects in Hawaiʻi and across the country for the next five years. I will continue to advocate for these important projects and funding that ensures the federal government prioritizes its investment in infrastructure—and not just for cars, but pedestrians, bikes, and wheelchair and stroller users too.
I think the Complete Streets Program is a jumping off point with modifications to get
more people out and active.
As it relates to Windward communities, commutes are mostly by car and over the Pali, Likelike, H3 or Kalanianaole. By contrast, Kāne‘ohe town is positioned more as a business district. By using community input as integral to projects such as Complete Streets and other innovations, we can ensure protections for our pedestrians and generate smart solutions like efficient crosswalks, bike lanes and SIDEWALKS! If the Kāne‘ohe business district were to be re-designed as a community gathering place and more amenable to walking, biking or sitting, considerable design work would be needed to create the space and still provide access for important infrastructure like sewer, water, drainage and electrical. I would like to see a large park-and-ride area where bus commuters do not have to park in neighborhoods that are near to bus stops.
This is an area I am familiar with in regards to Urban Planning. For a long time we have created means of travel for our population cenetered around automobiles. It has been the main means of transportation for a very long time now we have to start thinking more long term in regards to sustainability and practicality. We now have 3 times the amount of cars then people on the islands. We are seeing a huge increase of abandoned vehiciles because there are no places to store the massive amount of cars and no place to recylce them. We need to change our mindset and expand beyond the automobile centered society and urban planning we have been doing for so long. While automobiles will absolutley still dominate as the prime mode of transportation we need to make it easier for other alternatives to be utilized and encouraged. Currently it is unsafe to be a bicyclist on the majority of our road ways in Hawaiʻi. We also have a very high rate of pedestrian deaths. Redesigning roads, crosswalks, and throughfares with the individual in mind and not the automobile is crucial to progress.
The Complete Streets project in Kāneʻohe is looking at ways to redesign our streets to
provide safe transportation for those traveling by foot, bicycle, transit and automobile.
The first step of the project included gathering data to come up with a design for the
community. It is important that the community continue to be involved in this process
and provide feedback on the design that the project will present.
It is important to look at the various locations across our community that allow for the
creation of space for safe transportation by pedestrians, bikes and wheelchairs without
taking away space for cars to travel. A large concern of our community is the increase in
traffic congestion so it is important to make sure that by providing safe commutes for
pedestrians, bikes and wheelchairs, we are not creating a bigger problem of increased
traffic congestion. It is also important to examine the impact on our community and local
residents before moving forward with the creation of new space for various forms of
We must provide more and safer options for all people to travel within our neighborhoods – that
is the reason I have worked to create and support Complete Streets policies (and the reason I
was the only legislator to receive a Complete Streets Award). I will continue to fight for the
implementation of community supported Complete Streets projects at all levels of government.
That means in some areas, there should be safe sidewalks and separate bicycle lanes. In
addition, government must partner with the private sector to provide more shuttle service and
THIS IS A “COMPLETE STREETS” QUESTION, PRIMARILY UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF
THE CITY. THERE HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANT PUSH BACK FROM USERS OF HAMAKUA,
AND THE LESSON IS THAT THE CITY SHOULD INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY IN CHANGES
BEFORE THE CITY IMPLEMENTS THEM. ROADWAYS THAT HAVE A DEDICATED BIKE
LANE, WITH SIDEWALKS FOR PEDESTRIANS AND WHEELCHAIRS, CAN IMPROVE
Tourism in Hawai’i brings in over $16 Billion in revenue each year. Some of that money the tourism industry is profiting off of needs to be invested back into the infrastructure to repair, maintain, and make the improvements suggested
I would increase funding to put more bike lanes and pedestrains need to use crosswalks and
stop using their phones when crossing. Also bikers can use our bus systems where they need
to go, also same goes for people in wheelchairs and the handicap they can use the bus system
or they can use the handivan.
Our Windward Oahu transportation infrastructure is still functioning under designs to
accommodate 1970s era transportation technology and roads. With today’s advances in
technology, there are many more innovative options and solutions to transportation
issues. Our community has grown beyond the size and scope of Honolulu sub-district.
Policy meant for an 800,000 urban metropolis is not a one-size fits all for our town of
35,000 people. Let Kaneohe prioritize and decide what makes the best sense for our
9. What would you do to help improve the resilience of our WindwardCommunities in response to a tsunami or major hurricane?
In the wake of natural disaster, immediate assistance for victims (e.g. evacuation, food, and housing) often comes from members of the impacted community. I would investigate and establish a program that reimburses altruistic members of the community in a way that is similar to the State’s program that reimburses people who provide respite care for those in our foster care program.
We are so fortunate to live in Hawaiʻi, a place filled with tremendous beauty and natural resources. However, we have some seasonal disasters that are unique to our state, and it’s important to be prepared. There are many kinds of natural disasters that can impact our islands. Because of their level of devastation or frequency of occurrence, our top three hazards are hurricanes, tsunamis, and flash floods. However, earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides, wildfires, and pandemic outbreaks are also all potential threats that we have and continue to experience in devastating ways. That’s why it’s important for people to be individually prepared, for our government to continue to invest in hardening our infrastructure to protect against devastation, and to provide resources towards disaster response. The most important thing for individuals is to have an emergency response plan and supplies in the event of a disaster. Every year, just before hurricane season begins, I send postal mailers with the most up-to-date information on how families in Hawaiʻi can get prepared, what supplies to include in their emergency kits, how to make an emergency plan, and how to stay informed in case of an emergency. I also provide this information in my office, on my website, by email, on social media, in town halls, and at the \\\"Congress on Your Corner\\\" public outreach events that I regularly hold across the district. I have hosted telephone town halls on hurricane and disaster preparedness with over 5,000 constituents joining the call, as well as Hawaiʻi Emergency Management leaders from every county, to discuss the forecast for the upcoming hurricane season, review new recommendations, and answer questions from the community. When these disasters occur, we as a community need to come together to support those who are most negatively impacted. We fight for federal funding, work with the state and county, community leaders, and service organizations to mobilize and deliver support to those who need it. We continue to see an outpouring of aloha for the people of Kauaʻi and Waimanalo who are still recovering from record-setting rainfall and flooding in April that wiped out many homes, left communities isolated due to landslides, and required hundreds to be evacuated. Over the past several weeks, thousands of people on Hawaiʻi Island have seen their homes, livelihoods, farms, and businesses devoured by lava. For those impacted by this crisis, day-to-day life remains difficult and their futures uncertain. Help and support for basic needs are sorely and urgently needed. Thankfully, we were able to get quick approval for FEMA Individual Assistance to help Hawaiʻi Island residents who have been displaced, and we continue to seek the same assistance for Kauaʻi residents. This funding will assist with things like temporary housing, home repairs and replacements, medical needs, child care, transportation, and more.
Emergency Preparedness Education! I already am a Board Member with Ko’olaupoko
Emergency and Response and also a member of the Community Emergency
Preparedness Team. Outreach and Education is the Key!
Using Kailua as an excellent example, I would support community efforts to obtain CERT qualification along with the recruitment and retention of younger Kāne‘ohe residents to help bring us into the future as CERT team leaders and coordinators. I would engage the Castle Education Complex to add age-appropriate vignettes for classroom comment and discussion so that when in high school, the transition between a disaster and what a person can do to help, is made easier through understanding.
This questions is really one of self sustainability. Currently Oʻahu only has a reserve supply on island for about 7 days if a disaster would take out our port. This is frieghtening when you realize how remote our islands are. Hawaiʻi used to be 100% sustainable roughly 200 years ago. It took that short amount of time to become 95% or more dependant on outside resources. We must return to the old ways of sustainability and marry them with modern knowledge to better prepare for natural disasters. Hurricanes and tsunamiʻs are real threats but also other disasters such as man made ones like our cesspool issue could eventually cause a huge issue. If we were to be able to produce the majority of the food we consume, the materials we use to make homes/clothes/neccesities we could withstand any storm.
Education is key to improving the resilience of our Windward Communities in response
to a tsunami or major hurricane. We need to continue to have community events that
educate and promote preparation for natural disasters. Partnering with private
companies and non-profits, such as the Hawaiian Electric Company or the Red Cross,
to disseminate information to the community about what would happen in the case of
an emergency is also important. It is also important to encourage everyone to speak to
your neighbors and family and friends about the importance of being prepared and
having safety/preparation kits and plans ready, as well as helping one another if a
disaster does happen.
I also think that including emergency preparedness programs at the local high schools
will help to educate our community about the need to be prepared for natural disasters.
Children and youth can be great advocates to help educate their parents and family
members about the need to be prepared. It is also important to engage various groups in the community, such as neighborhood watch groups, and have them share
information about emergency preparedness.
I would collaborate with the existing organizations working on this issue (the Community
Emergency Response Team, Federal, State and City and County emergency management
agencies, etc.) and encourage community leaders themselves to create their own organization
to prioritize actions and help the community prepare. I would also work to build on past success,
including the passing of Act 76 – a community-based law I wrote to address hazards that
changed the way hazardous rocks and trees are addressed statewide.
While I served as a Representative for District 47, I worked closely with residents in Hau`ula in
particular to create and implement a disaster preparedness plan, which includes emergency
food and shelter for the community. Hau`ula created an amazing model that can be replicated,
and I will work in collaboration with any and all interested community leaders and organizations
to do the same. I support community-led preparations because it is the community members
and leaders themselves that must be ready when disaster strikes. Government can assist to
provide resources, but it is the community members themselves (all of us) that will respond first.
I WORK WITH AND SUPPORT THE WORK OF KAILUA NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD MEMBER
CLAUDINE TOMASSA, WHO HAS TAKEN THE LEAD IN THIS AREA. SHE SPONSORED A
WELL-ATTENDED WINDWARD PREPARDNESS EVENT, AND WE NEED TO CONTINUE
THESE QUARTERLY AT LEAST.
One of the major problems being one of the most isolated land masses in the world, is that when a disaster strikes, we can be completely cut off from the rest of the world for quite some time. The best way to be prepared for such circumstances is to be less reliant on outside goods and produce more of our own.
We are all in this together, we all need to prepare a plan in case we do have a major disaster
and we need to rally everyone in our communities not to just think about it but to talk about it so
we can have a plan of action. We need to create teams in every community who can help start
putting these plans into action and to educate the community. We can all get disaster booklets
from Hawaiian Electric and the City. As a resilient community you should be able to sustain
ouselves for at least two weeks. Always be prepared never let your guard down.
Taking personal responsibility is the first line of defense. That means personal
preparedness for emergency and security situations, through training in First Aid, CPR,
home security, self-defense, and keeping adequate supplies of food and water at home.
This allows emergency personnel to focus on the most critical needs, instead of catering
to every individual problem. Encourage and provide for training of individuals, groups
and businesses to build the collective resilience of the community as a whole.
10. What is the biggest issue facing your district?
The biggest issues in Congressional District 2 (housing, mental health, cost of living) can all be traced back to our depressed economic situation. In CD2, the most important issue to work on now is revitalizing our economic engine by identifying and then capitalizing on areas of economic opportunity in agriculture, art, technology, and remote services in the areas of IT, finance, and healthcare.
There are many issues facing the people of Windward Oʻahu and our state, the biggest of which is our high cost of living and an extreme shortage of affordable housing. Our residents and their families, many of whom have lived here for generations, are being forced to leave Hawaiʻi because they simply cannot afford to stay here. Recent reports indicate that in Hawaiʻi, it takes an hourly wage of $36.13—or an annual salary of $75,150—to afford a two-bedroom rental. On Oʻahu alone, there are only 40 affordable rentals available for every 100 extremely low-income renters. We must treat this housing shortage like the crisis that it is and tackle it by bringing together a disaster-response team made up of county, state, and federal representatives working with the private sector to cut the red tape and expedite the building of more affordable housing units that will stay that way—and not be flipped and sold for profit, as we’ve seen happen too often in our islands. There is a wide-range of additional issues that face the people of Hawaiʻi and also deserve attention here. We\\\'re currently facing an emerging opioid epidemic that, if left unchecked, could lead to a serious public health crisis. Our broken criminal justice system, to include the outdated marijuana prohibition, continues to levy a grave fiscal and social cost to our communities, and families are being torn apart. Health care premiums and prescription drug prices are skyrocketing. There are still significant shortfalls in veterans’ benefits and healthcare, both in availability and quality of care. We must enact real comprehensive reform to our broken immigration system. Threats to our water, land, and our environment continue in many different areas. These issues and many others affect the lives of people all across the 2nd Congressional District, and I will continue to do all I can to fight for the well being of our families and our planet.
Keeping the WindWard side Country. As I was part of the Kahalu’u Neighborhood Board
that was issue an Very important subject of discussion, and dealing with our house less
population. I think more resources and outreach is needed to get our house less into
Unmitigated development. Like many other ahupua‘a, Kāne‘ohe and Kailua are unique in a variety of ways and are also very separate. Cosmopolitan living and a rural feel are intertwined. Development is needed in some areas, and in others, it needs to be left alone. So, here goes: Developers are focused on development. Good developers are focused on development as a dance with their partners - those partners being the community and the ‘aina. We sometimes mistake community uproar for NIMBYism (not in my backyard) when we’re actually speaking for the ‘aina - because essentially, we are the voice of the land. With better-developed plans that carefully consider cultural practices, water supplies, the need for places to live, agriculture and more efficient infrastructure for homes and business, we will better value the richness of the little space we have left. I will help developers and communities find the “sweet spot” so that what is planned can serve us now and our keiki into the future.
The biggest issue facing District 48 is the unsustainability of our economy (which includes our housing market), our ecosystem, and the state overall. Our state needs to have a long term and short term vision for the health and success of our islands. Currently, I see a vision that is cenetered around self serving, profit making, and exploitation of all the things we hold dear to us a residents of Hawaiʻi. Our housing market is going great for foreign investors and not local people. Our tourism industry is booming for foreign owned buisnesses and the tourists but is destroying our ecosystems. All the things we hold dear as people of Hawaiʻi such as, time off with our family, enjoying nature in its purest form, eating some of the freshest food in the world, etc.., it is all being comprimised by our current status quo. We need fresh faces with fresh ideas and people who are willing to push the envelope. We don’t elect individuals to carry on with the current status quo. It is up to our voters this year to make that change and I am happy to be the candidate to represent that. Mahalo!
I think the biggest issues facing my district are the high cost of living, lack of affordable
housing and the increase in homelessness. These are the top concerns that people
have shared with me as I walk door-to-door. Other topics that have been shared with
me frequently are the need to support our educational system here in the district, as
well as traffic and road conditions/concerns.
My heart is to serve my community. I am committed and passionate about serving the
place where I grew up and the place where my children will call home. I want to ensure
that Windward Oahu is a place that my family, friends and community are proud to call
home and that it is represented by someone who values its unique past, understands its
present challenges, and passionately believes in its hopeful future.
If there are any questions or concerns, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me
at email@example.com or 808-548-9708. Thank you.
For so many, it is affordability. Whether it’s taxes and fees, the high cost of housing, food and
medicine or low wages, many people are struggling to get by or suffering. Poverty, hunger and
homelessness are indicators of affordability challenges, and government can and must do much
better to address the most pressing issues of the day, before bigger catastrophes strike. That is
why I’m running for office -- the legislature desperately needs qualified, motivated and
determined legislators to solve problems, and quickly. Please also see my answers above.
IN KAILUA, QUALITY OF LIFE IS IMPACTED BY THE AREA BEING “DISCOVERED” BY
THOUSANDS OF TOURISTS PLUS TOO MUCH HOUSING BEING BOUGHT BY
MAINLAND/OVERSEAS OWNERS AND USED AS UNPERMITTED TRANSIENT VACATION
UNITS. LOCAL RESIDENTS ARE STRUGGLING TO RETAIN A RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY,
AND I AM WORKING WITH THEM. THE POSSIBLE LANDLORD INDUCED CLOSURE OF
PALI LANES, THE BOWLING ALLEY THAT IS THE GATHERING PLACE FOR SO MANY
LOCALS, IS ONE OF THE CHALLENGES WE FACE. I PERSONALLY HAVE MET WITH THE
LEADERSHIP OF A&B TO URGE THE CORPORTATION TO ALLOW PALI LANES TO
REMAIN. CORPORATE PLANS ARE TO REPLACE THE LOCAL BOWLING ALLEY WITH A
PLAZA FOR TOURIST SHOWS AND OTHER USES.
For the windward side, and most of Hawai’i, that would be the rapidly rising cost of living. Illegal vacation rentals and real estate speculation, result in low supply and high demand in the housing and rental market. Current short term rental laws need to me enforced more stringently. Affordable housing units need to be created with rent controls need to be implemented, as well as affordable units for same cannot be allowed to be quickly sold at market value.
The biggest issue would be our aging infrastructure, we need to fix our state highways which
hasn’t even been touched since Obama was President and get the city moving on fixing our city
streets also. We need to maintain a strong, virbant Windward Oahu and have a strong
sustainable economic growth that creates jobs, allowing to keep commitments and to create
new opportunities for generations to come.
Apart from the other pressing issues that are frequently talked about, I’d like to highlight
our Kaneohe streams. It’s the lifeblood of communities defined by the ahupuaa. Let’s
make the Kaneohe streams safe and usable spaces again. Let’s interconnect our
communities with walking, biking and wheelchair accessible paths. Let’s take ownership
of the maintenance and care of our streams and break down the barriers that divide our
communities. Let’s make Kaneohe more than just a place to hang your hat at night to
sleep for the night. Let’s make it the thriving community that cooperated and brought the
first night of electricity to Kaneohe. We can do so much together as a community, when
more of us are able to take responsibility for our neighborhoods.