COVID-19 – The Path Forward and Diversifying our Economy
We must continue to stay vigilant to protect the health of our community, while also focusing on the emergence and re-growth of our economy.
With a renewed focus on getting contact tracing in place and ensuring that every visitor tests negative for COVID-19 before stepping on a plane, we will soon be able to safely reopen our economy to tourism. I also support working expeditiously to open our economy to visitors from low-risk countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia.
Economic Recovery and Steps to Diversify
Support the growth of our local farming and agriculture – this is grounded in Hawai‘i’s roots and history. Through federal funding (for example, through a federal job corps program being discussed by Congress) we can grow and revitalize our local farming and decrease our dependence on exports.
Grow our television and film industry; by removing the cap on tax credits for film and television productions in Hawai’i, television and film productions will bring large numbers of jobs and resources to our islands.
Develop and expand our clean energy market such as solar and wind energy – these are job creating industries in scientific, technology and engineering fields (in addition to being part of a movement to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels). Tax credits and other incentives for local clean energy companies can catalyze this movement and create well-paying opportunities for our residents.
Tech (e.g. IT, data analytics, and other emerging fields) are remote industries. Being one of the safest places on earth, with a low COVID-19 infection rate, we should explore novel ways to bring Tech jobs to Hawai’i.
Support small business – keep Kaimukī Kaimukī!
One of my top priorities is to ensure our favorite local restaurants in Kaimukī continue to thrive, and to ensure Kaimukī remains a destination neighborhood with a small town “main street” feel.
To support small businesses, I will:
Ensure federal relief funding goes to small local businesses
Provide assistance to local businesses to develop or improve their online and social media presence
Support legislation that protects the needs and interests of local small businesses
Stand up to illegal monster home developers and owners
Monster homes in residential areas must be properly regulated and enforced.
Simply put, all builders must follow the rules, and both City and State regulators need to enforce the laws on the books and not turn a blind eye to bad actors who are ruining our neighborhoods.
Penalties for construction of a home without proper permits must be enforced
Prior to permitting there must be assurances that the common residential area lots meant for one or two bathrooms can withstand the greater demand for plumbing, waste and sewage of multiple-times more bathrooms and kitchens
City building inspectors must fairly address complaints and conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that a building permit is only approved for legal and compliant homes
In addition to City inspectors, State labor and environmental inspectors must also be vigilant to ensure that construction sites follow all State laws
Fix roads, public parks, gyms and recreational facilities
To keep resources flowing and circulating in Hawai‘i we must find ways for the State and City (possibly with stimulus assistance from the federal government) to work together and fix district roads and infrastructure, as well as maintain the public parks, gyms and recreational facilities.
As your Representative I will work collaboratively with State and City stakeholders to prioritize these improvements. I grew up playing in basketball and baseball leagues in Kaimukī and Palolo (some of my fondest memories growing up are at Kaimukī Gym and Palolo District Park). The health, safety and happiness of our Keiki and neighbors require well-maintained public recreational areas.
Create affordable housing
Meeting the needs of our people through affordable housing will be even more pressing as we face the challenges of recovering from COVID-19.
As a community, we must commit to tackling this problem through a combination of encouraging private activity and the State directly engaging in construction of affordable housing (i.e., utilizing private and public funding to do so).
Equally important is ensuring these partnerships include affordability guarantees. This may involve consideration of rent controls or other similar measures to ensure that affordable housing remains affordable.
I would also recommend that the state fund the State Rent Supplement Program, and support efforts to utilize State land for affordable housing production.
Address homelessness through housing, mental healthcare and social services
To address our State’s homeless crisis, we must provide mental healthcare, and substance abuse and alcohol rehabilitation programs, as well as affordable housing and shelters for our homeless.
In addition, we must keep our sidewalks, beaches and public spaces clean and safe for our families. However, we can only accomplish this humanely by providing reasonable alternatives and paths to reintegrating them back into being productive contributors to our community.
Invest in education and teachers for Hawai‘i’s future
As a former educator who cares passionately about the well-being of our Keiki in these islands, I am committed to improving our public-school facilities and diversifying areas of study and extracurricular programs.
Through collaborations between our public schools and local organizations, we can expand and improve our extracurricular programs. Also, we must improve and increase support for hard-to-staff programs such as special education and Hawaiian Immersion programs.
Address climate change with environmental resiliency and sustainability strategies
Climate change is one of the biggest threats to my generation and future generations and it must be addressed immediately.
To address climate change Hawaiʻi needs to invest in clean energy, reduce carbon emissions, and protect our shorelines. It is essential to invest in clean energy such as solar and wind energy. Moreover, I will support measures like HB 1675, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and allocates a portion of funds from gasoline sales to an environmental preservation fund, and HB 1621, which establishes the Honolulu Shoreline Climate Protection Pilot Project.
Criminal justice reform
Hawai‘i needs to address how its criminal justice system disproportionally impacts low income and minority groups.
To address these issues, Hawai’i should move away from mass incarceration as well as its cash bail system. Through cash bail, our State detains individuals who committed minor offenses for years at a time as they await trial or sentencing. This system disproportionately affects minority groups, and leads to mass incarceration. Moreover, mass incarceration is extremely costly to taxpayers. Instead of offering cash bail, pre-trial incarceration should be based on whether the individual is a risk to public safety, or a flight risk.
Keep our homes and streets safe
While we all hope that each and every one of our neighbors lives with Aloha, it is an unfortunate reality that property crime, theft, graffiti and domestic abuse continue to be serious issues here in Kaimukī.
There is a delicate balance between keeping our homes and streets safe and protecting the civil liberties of our constituents. As your Representative, I will support the enforcement of laws on the books designed to keep our community safe by focusing our resources on violent and dangerous criminals. By prioritizing our resources on violent offenders and threats to public safety, we can blunt the incidence of all crimes, including theft, vandalism, and property crimes in our neighborhoods.