I am running for reelection because I want to continue to fight for the people of Hawaii on issues that matter to them—to keep jobs and create new ones for our families, to move Hawaii towards energy sustainability, and to make sure that our keikis’ education is again our top priority and furlough days will never happen again.
My opponent John Willoughby recently published an article in the Hawaii Reporter that included unfounded and ungracious negative comments about me. Because I hold Hawaii voters in the highest regard, I am compelled to respond. However, I do not wish to dwell on the negative as he did. Frankly, I think most voters are tired of the negative television ads and meaningless rhetoric, which are not representative of the Aloha spirit. Instead, they want to know what we will do if we’re elected to serve.
We have to continue fighting the fights that matter to Hawaii. These include the fights to grow our economy and create more jobs, to help our farmers and ranchers, and to strengthen our schools.
We have to fight for these priorities because these continue to be tough times. I know that people are struggling in this economy. I’ve met them all across the state, spoken with them, read their letters, and I understand their struggles.
When I was younger, challenging times are what brought me to America and made Hawaii my home. My mother fled a terrible marriage in Japan, bringing me and my brothers to Hawaii. We arrived with little money. My mother had to work hard to support us as a single parent. I remember the time my mother lost her job. It took months for her to find work again, and it was a time of insecurity, anxiety, and fear.
We all know someone who has lost their job, or their health care, and the anxiety and the fear are the same today.
That is why my focus is on improving the economy so it will produce more jobs, so people can pay their rent and provide for their children. I have personally met with people throughout Hawaii who have jobs because of some of the economic stimulus measures I voted for in Congress.
For example, I voted for a bill that provides tax incentives to the solar energy industry. I met with people working in the industry here in Hawaii, and they told me that if this bill didn’t pass, then they’d have to lay off many of their employees. I voted for this bill because it’s what people in Hawaii needed.
I’ve worked hard with good friends in Congress like Representatives Ike Skelton, Sam Farr, and Steny Hoyer. Although my opponent claims to know Ike, Sam, and Steny, they are supporting my reelection, so we can keep working together in this next Congress. While we’ve passed some of the largest tax cuts in history, put thousands of people back to work, and passed historic health care reform, there’s still a lot left to do.
For example, Hawaii is the most oil-dependent state in the nation, and we pay too much for gas and electricity. This is why I have been fighting to increase the research and development of alternative energy in Hawaii. By encouraging the development of biofuels and the use of Hawaii’s plentiful wind, solar, and ocean energy, Hawaii can lead the way in developing innovative solutions – as well as creating jobs in a new, clean-energy economy.
I am working with farmers and ranchers here at home in Hawaii to provide more local jobs and increased opportunities to grow and export more “made in Hawaii” products. I support farmers and ranchers so they can grow more of the food we eat right here in Hawaii. Making Hawaii more self-sustaining is good for farms, and for our future.
Being in Congress is about being an advocate for people back home, like the man I met at a local airport who had just started his shift, and would be working most of the night. He was coming from an all-day shift at the hotel where he works. He works 15-20 hours a day, six days a week, and he does it to support his family. These are the kinds of stories that drive my work in Congress, and these are the kinds of people I’m fighting for every day.
If I am fortunate enough to be reelected, I will continue to fight vigorously for all of Hawaii’s families. I ask for your vote.