Name: Suzanne Chun Oakland
Current job: State Senator
Residence: How long you’ve lived in the district: All my life (49 years)
Background: What qualifies you for the position? What else have you run for? Have you been in public office before and if so, what position?
I have served my community with dedication almost my entire life and care deeply for the welfare of the people of Hawaii. Active in community service projects, since elementary school at Lanakila Elementary School and with my family as part of Kalihi YMCA and Kalihi-Palama Community Council. Taking initiative to address community concerns and organizing efforts to actively address these issues, since intermediate school at Kawananakoa Middle School until today in my position as State Senator.
Have served and continue to serve on numerous community organizations’ boards that address the need for affordable housing; improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities, those who have life challenges and want to work towards self-sufficiency and independence,and are survivors of neglect and abuse and sexual assault.
I also have created and serve on organizations that support and care for our children, senior citizens, and families; that focus on early learning, K-12, and higher education; non-school hour programs that allow children and teens to explore their personal and career interests; employment and vocational rehabilitation opportunities; entrepreneurship; healthy lifestyle choices; development of social and community connection through service; financial education; and other areas of interest that people build happy, safe, healthy and prosperous lives. Finally, I chair multiple committees, caucuses, work groups and task forces aimed at implementing public policies that will have long term, positive impact on the sustainability and prosperity of our State — prevention oriented, holistic, and done with much aloha.
My family background and values, education, legislative and community experience, ability to bring diverse groups of people together, and commitment to the people of Hawaii are important qualities in effectively serving in the Hawaii State Legislature
I have included some of my background for your readers’ perusal.
Lanakila Elementary School, 1973
Kawananakoa Intermediate School, 1976
McKinley High School, Honor graduate, 1979
University of Hawaii, 1983, Double Majored with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology
State Senator for Senate District 13, 1996 – present.
State Representative for House District 27, 1990-1996.
Research Assistant and Office Manager to City Council Member Gary Gill, 1987 to 1990.
Administrative Assistant for Smolenski and Woodell, Attorneys at Law, 1984 to 1986.
Community Services Specialist to the Hawaii State Senate under Senator Anthony Chang,1984.
Administrative Assistant for Au’s Plumbing and Metal Works, 1979 to 1990.
Chair of the Senate Committee on Human Services 2003 to 2006, 2009 to present.
Member of the Senate Committee on Education and Housing, 2009 to present.
Member of the Legislative Urban Caucus, June 2010 to present.
Chair of the Senate Committee on Human Services and Public Housing 2006 to 2008.
Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs, 2003 to 2006.
Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, 2003 to 2005.
Member of the Senate Committee on Education and Higher Education, 2006 to 2008.
Member of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, 2005 to 2006.
Member of the Senate Committee on Education, 2001 to 2004.
Member of the Senate Committee on Education and Military Affairs, 2005 to 2006.
Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Water, Land, Energy and Environment, 2001 to 2002
Member of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, 2001 to 2002.
Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, 1999 to 2001.
Member of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, 1999 to 2001.
Member of the Senate Committee on Labor and Environment, 1999 to 2001.
Member of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, 1998 to 2002, 2006 to present.
Co-Chair of the Senate Committee on Human Resources (human services and labor matters are combined in this committee), 1997 to 1998.
Member of the Senate Committees on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Information Technology, 1997 to 1999.
Member of the Senate Committee on Health and Environment, 1997 to 1999.
Chair of the House Committee on Human Services, 1992-1996.
Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Human Services, 1991-1992.
Member of the House Committee on Housing, 1991-1992;
Housing Summit Subcommittee Chair of New Programs and Special Needs, 1991-1992.
Member of the House Committee on Education, 1991-1992.
Member of the House Committee on Health, 1991-1996.
Member of the House Committee on Judiciary, 1993-1996.
Member of the House Committee on Public Safety and Military Concerns, 1995-1996.
Member and Co-Chair of the Hawaii State Legislature’s Women’s Caucus,
1991 to present; Budget Committee Chair, 1991-1992.
Member and Co-Convenor and Co-Founder of the Hawaii State
Legislature’s Keiki Caucus, 1991 to present.
Member of the Hawaii State Legislature’s Small Business
Caucus, 1993 to 1997, 2008 to present.
Former Chairperson and Member of the Liliha/Kapalama Neighborhood Board, 1984-1990.
Member of Honolulu Neighborhood Housing Services Board of Directors, 1986-1988, 1989 to 2009;
President, 1987-1988, 1992-1993, 1993-1994.
Former President and Member of the Hawaii State Youth Volunteer Board, 1978 to present.
Member of the Board of Directors for Hawaii Community Education Association, 1984 to 1998.
Former President of the Kalihi-Palama Service Area Board on Mental Health and Substance Abuse appointed by the Governor,
Former Precinct President of the Hawaii Democratic Party, 1990.
Member of the Board of Directors of McKinley High School Foundation and McKinley Alumni Association, 1989 to present.
Former member of McKinley’s Parent, Teacher and Student Association, 1990, 2009 to present.
Member of the Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center’s Participant Advisory Board, 1991 to present.
Member of the Catholic Immigration Center’s Board of Directors, 1991 to 1997.
Member of Hawaii Syringe Exchange Committee (formerly known as The CHOW Project Committee) 1992 to present.
Member of the Hawaii Democratic Movement, Board of Directors, 1991 to 1997.
Member of the Young Democrats of Hawaii, 1991-1997.
Member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, 1991 to present.
Member of the Hawaii Chinese Civic Association, 1991 to present.
Member of Chung Wah Chung Kung Hui, 1991 to present.
Member of the Hawaii Correctional Association, 1992.
Member of Hawaii Chinese Jaycees, 1991 to 1997.
Member of the Early Childhood System Cost/Implementation
Advisory Committee, 1992 to 1994.
Member of the Early Childhood Education and Care
Coordinating Council, 1992 to 1996.
Member of the West Honolulu Public Health Nursing Section
Advisory Committee, 1992 to 1995.
Member of the Hawaii Even Start Family Literacy Program
Council, 1993 to 1994.
Member of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center Advisory Board, 1993 to present.
Member of the Hawaii Community Services Council Board of Directors, 1993 to 1997.
Member of the Hawaii Early Intervention Coordinating Council, 1993 to present.
Member of the Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, 1994 to present.
Member of the Susannah Wesley Community Center Board of Directors, 1994 to 12/99, 2001-2008.
Hawaii Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors, 1993.
Member of the Advisory Board of Teen Line, 1993.
Member of the Children’s Trust Fund Advisory Council, 1993 to present.
Member of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, 1992.
Member of the Families Together Initiative (FTI) Core Team, 1993 to 1995.
Member of the Board of Directors of the Liliha-Palama Business Association, 1994.
Member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA, August 1994 to December 2000.
Member of the Ma’ema’e School SCBM, 1994 to June 1998.
Member of the Lanakila School SCBM, 1993 to 1995, 2000-2001.
Member of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation Auction Committee, 1992 to 1994.
Member of the Hawaii Kids Count Council, 1994.
Member of the Kalihi-Palama Culture and Arts Society, 1994 to present.
Member of the Honolulu Division Advisory Committee of The Casey Family Program, 1994 to 2004.
Member of the Strengthening Hawaii Families Program of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii, 1996.
Member of the Assistive Technology Resource Center of Hawaii Community Task Force, 1995.
Member of the Hawaii Early Childhood Alliance, 1995 to 1996.
Member of the Good Beginnings Alliance, 1996.
Member of the Blueprint for Change Task Force (Child Protective Services), 1994 to 1996
Convenor of the Elder Abuse & Neglect Task Force, 1995 to 2006.
Co-Convenor of the Child Protection Roundtable, 1996 to 2002.
Co-Convenor of the Health Quest Roundtable, 1995 to 1999.
Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Long Term Care, 1996 to 1998.
Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Early Childhood Education and Care, 1999 to 2000.
Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 1999 to 2000.
Member of the Hawaii Summit 2011 Project Steering Committee, 1996.
Member of the Grow For It Program, 1996.
Member of the Hawaii Women’s Legal Foundation, 1997.
Member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Retarded Citizens, 1998 to 2001.
Member of the Advisory Board of the Breakthroughs For Youth At Risk, 1998 to 2000.
Member of the Board of Advisors of Habitat for Humanity, 1998 to present.
Member, Appointed by Chief Justice Moon to the Judicial Council 8/98 to 2003.
Member of the Board of Directors of Providing Awareness Referrals Education Nurturing Therapy Support (PARENTS), 1999 to 2002.
Member of the Coalition for the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity in Hawaii, 1999 to 2006.
Member of the Hawaii Intergenerational Network Advisory Board, 1999.
Member of the US-China Peoples Friendship Association of Honolulu, 1999 to 2000.
Member of the Advisory Committee Hawaii Arthritis Control Program, 2000 to 2001.
Member of the Board of Trustees of Winners at Work, 2000 to 2005.
Member of the Board of Trustees of Abilities Unlimited, 2005 to present.
Member (Non Voting) of the State Department of Health Advisory Committee, 2000 to 2002.
State Advisory Board Member of the Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL, 2001 to present.
Member of the Hawaii Intergenerational Network Advisory Board, 1999 to 2000.
Member of the Organization of Women Leaders, 2001 to 2002.
Member of Board of Trustee of Goodwill Industries, 2001 to 2010.
Member of Senate Felix Task Force Group, 2001 to 2002.
Member of Dept. of Health’s Neurotrauma Task Force, 2001 to 2002
Member of the Honolulu Community Action Program Board of Directors, May 2002 to present.
Member of the Advisory Board of Bayanihan Clinic Without Walls, May 2002 to 2003.
Member of the 2003 Council on State Governments – West Annual Meeting Hawaii Host Committee, 2002.
Member of the Hawaii Self Sufficiency Advisory Committee, October 23, 2002.
Member of the Farrington High School Community Based Management, 2002 to 2003.
Member of the Legislature’s Universal Health Care Task Force, 2003 to 2004.
Member of the Hawaii Dyson Initiative Advisory Committee, 2003 to 2004.
Member of the Child Support Enforcement System Executive Steering Committee, May 2003 to present.
Member of Kawananakoa Middle School PTSA’s Executive Board, July 2003 to present.
Member of the Joint House Senate Ice and Drug Abatement Task Force, July 2003 to 2004.
Member as State Director, Women Legislators’ Lobby (WILL), July 2003 to present.
Member of Aloha Peace House, July 2003 to 2004.
Member of Aikane O’ Nuuanu , September 2003 to present.
Honorary Member of the Board of the Hawaii Family Support
Institute, December 2003 to 2004, August 4, 2006 to 2008.
Member of the Economic and Financial Literacy Coalition, February 2004 to 2005.
Member of Co-Occurring Policy Academy, March 2004 to 2005.
Member of the Hawaii Council on Economic Education Board, August 4, 2004 to present.
Member of the Pediatric Council of Hawaii, September 29, 2004 to present.
Member of the Public and Human Service Career Pathway Advisory Board, November 2004 to 2006.
Member of the Affordable Housing Task Force, January 2005 to 2008.
Member of the Hawaii Primary Care Association Holomua Project, March 2005 to 2006.
Member Women In Government – State Director Program, July 2005 to present.
Member of the Hawaii 2050 Task Force, August 2007 to 2008.
Member of the Affordable Housing and Homeless Task Force (HCDCH), August 2005 to 2006.
Member of the Early Childhood Education Task Force, August 2005 to 2006.
Member of the Na Keiki Law Center Advisory Group, November 2005 to 2006.
Member of the Hawaii State Consortium for Integrative Healthcare Benchmarking Advisory Board, March 2006 to 2007.
Founder and Co-Convenor, Hawaii State Legislature’s Kupuna Caucus, March 2006 to present.
Member of the Hawaii 3-5 Transitional Task Force, July 16, 2007 to present.
Member of the Pugwash Peace Exchange, August 30, 2007 to present.
Member of the Global Youth Center, 2008 to present.
Convenor, Deaf-Blind Task Force, March 2006 to present.
Member of the Hawaii State Legislature’s Heritage Caucus, 2007 to present.
Member of the Hawaii State Legislature’s Hawaiian Caucus, 2009 to present.
Member, Hawaii Chapter Board, March of Dimes, January 2010 to present.
Member, Palama Settlement Board of Directors, June 2010 to present.
• Major issues: What are the biggest issues in your district/state and your proposed solutions?
Senate District 13, which includes Alewa Heights, Kalihi Business District, Kalihi Kai, Kapalama Heights, Ke’ehi Small Boat Harbor, Liliha, Mokauea and two other islands, Nuuanu, Pacific Heights, Palama, Pauoa, Puunui, and Sand Island, has a rich diversity of people. The residents I represent come from all walks of life, from the very wealthy to the very poor; from every ethnic, cultural, political and religious background; from every career field imaginable, and from newly arrived people to multi-generational families. Our senate district is the home for numerous hospitals and other health facilities, churches and other faith organizations, pre-schools, public and private schools, social service agencies, businesses, consulates, senior housing projects, labor organizations, and invaluable historical sites and artifacts.
As a result, the needs, values and interests of our community are diverse. I believe that this senate district is a microcosm reflective of the State. As the elected senator for this area, it has been an honor to be a part of this community and represent this community and the people of the State of Hawaii. They are caring and hard working people who want the best for our children, kupuna and families. They want to live in a community that promotes good health, a vibrant economy, that provides stimulating and energizing places of lifelong learning, a community that is safe and clean to enjoy recreation and social events together, and they want a Hawaii that will be prosperous, beautiful, and filled with the spirit of Aloha for many years to come.
The biggest issues that face the people in my district are:
Having jobs and owning successful businesses that can support their families and be a source of pride for each person as they contribute their time, talent and resources to our community, State and world.
Maintaining and restoring public education that is comprehensive, holistic, hands-on, and relevant to students and their daily lives; offers not only excellent core subject matter and learning experiences, but provides opportunities for children and youth to explore music, art, sports, potential career opportunities and other areas of student and faculty interest to be well-rounded, contributing individuals to society; having school experiences that will excite and enhance students’ love for learning and enable them to successfully compete in the global marketplace.
Having quality and affordable services, training, and information available to support caregivers who are caring for vulnerable elders, disabled children and adults.
Having affordable,safe and quality early learning centers where parents are able to have their young children develop and grow well, while they are working and earning a living.
Having affordable, stable housing options to rent and to purchase.
Having a community and neighbors that are kind, caring and work together for the greater good.
Having safe streets, public places, and neighborhoods with amenities that keep our inter-generational families and our aging population in mind. Our district has the Pali, Likelike, H-1, and Nimitz Highways going through it. Aala, Houghtailing, King, Kalihi, Liliha, Kuakini, and School Streets; Nuuanu Avenue; Hala Drive; Sand Island Access Road; Vineyard and Dillingham Boulevards; and many other heavily travelled streets accommodating traffic from the Leeward, Windward, East Honolulu, and urban Honolulu neighborhoods. The combination of having a majority of residents who are elderly and some of the busiest roadways in the State located in Senate District 13 pose a great challenge to our residents – pedestrians and motorists alike.
Designing communities that are more sustainable, integrating technology and daily practices that promote recycling, use and production of energy made from renewable energy sources, that reduce the need to import oil to the islands, increase the production and consumption of locally grown and produced foods, that conserve the use of our fresh water supply and protect conservation land and incorporate smart growth concepts that can better support the percolation rain water into the ground so that our underground water aquifers will continuously be replenished with fresh, pristine water for many generations to enjoy.
• Budget philosophy: What is your budget philosophy? Do you foresee increases in revenue through tax hikes and fees or do you believe in cutting spending?
I do not like to see our precious taxpayer money wasted. Continuously looking at ways to be more efficient with what we have and giving people the tools to make this possible is of importance to me. Supporting technology upgrades for child support enforcement, taxation, the court system, the retirement system, the largest State Departments of Human Services, Health and Education to improve efficiencies and redirect resources to improve direct services to the public is important to me. Over the last three years, even the Senate took a bold step to invest in technology and improve procedures, that has permitted us as an organization to save one-third of our budget.
We must also be vigilant in collecting taxes and fines owed the State and invest in human resources that will efficiently and effectively collect monies already owed to the State of Hawaii and its residents.
I have also supported the reduction in taxes over the years when the economy was doing well as well as the elimination or reduction of taxes on food and health-related expenses.
If public services necessary to support the health, safety and public education of our community is in jeopardy, I am certainly open to increasing revenues through taxes and fees to address the public’s needs and collective well-being.
• Taxes and fees: Do you believe Hawaii’s taxes should be lowered or increased?
As I mentioned above, I have voted for and supported tax decreases that helped Hawaii’s businesses and individual tax payers when the economic conditions were good as well as would be open to tax increases that would be necessary to ensure the health, safety and education of Hawaii’s residents.
If you do plan to raise taxes and fees, which specific taxes or fees would you increase? Or would you sign a pledge that says you will not raise taxes?
If the circumstances warrant a tax increase and we have tried our best to improve efficiencies and best use of existing State revenues, then I would be open to increasing the general excise tax for the purpose of better resourcing our public education system, services for our children, kupuna and vulnerable families. I am also open to taking the general excise tax off of food, rent and health-related costs, but would need to know what fiscal impact that would have on the overall delivery of services to the public.
Decisions must be made knowing all the negative and positive consequences of an increase in taxes. That is our duty as elected officials to be fully informed, seek out and listen to all points of views before making a final decision. Not knowing the circumstances that surround such a decision, I would not be able to sign a pledge to support or not support a tax increase. In my 20 years in the Hawaii State Legislature, we have not passed a GET increase. We have voted to increase fees. We have also voted to increase taxes on particular items. For example, taxes on alcohol, tobacco, beverage containers, land transactions, and fuel, which have been used for special purposes related to health, domestic violence, recycling, building of affordable rental housing, homelessness, preservation of conservation land, and investment in technology that will help Hawaii become more energy self-sufficient.
• Rail: If the city has difficulty raising enough revenue for the rail, would you support state tax support for the rail project?
The City and County of Honolulu, when they decided to increase the GET for the purpose of building a mass transit system, projected that the City would be able to support the maintenance of such a system.
I would not be able to commit to using State taxes to support the maintenance of this City transportation system.
• Legalized Gambling: Do you believe gambling should be legalized in Hawaii in any form and if so, in what form?
No, I do not support legalizing gambling in the State of Hawaii other than what is already in statute.
• Public Education: What are your plans to support the public education system while ensuring accountability and results for our students? Do you support an appointed or elected school board?
I believe that, with the active involvement of our parents, students, educators, unions, the three branches of State government, and school community partners, Hawaii’s public educational system has a very bright future. The plan put together by Acting Superintendent Kathy Matayoshi and her DOE team in collaboration with and active involvement of principals and school leadership teams, HSTA President Al Nagasako and HSTA members, parent and business groups, the Legislature, Governor, Board of Education, and many others is an important blueprint for public education reform and improvement.
We have, over the past decade and a half, better resourced the capital improvements necessary to have a safe, wholesome learning environments for students and educators. More needs to be done. Investing in technology and other infrastructure necessary to equip our students with tools to learn skills and knowledge to live in a modern society has also been a priority. More needs to be done. Standards, good pay, and quality teacher education and training to have the best work force possible to teach our students in the public schools continues to be a focus. Allowing innovation in how education is delivered through charter public schools and other learning centers can now provide us with important information to implement best teaching practices in all of our public schools.
It will take a visionary team of leaders in the Board of Education, among student and parent leaders, the Superintendent, the Governor, the Legislature, the teachers and administrators and the broader community to make Hawaii’s public education meaningful for our students in pursuit of their life goals and ambitions as well as their capacity to serve their community, their state as good stewards of our future and of our world community.
I believe that there needs to be greater opportunity for Board of Education member candidates to articulate their values and thoughts on how to support Hawaii’s special and unique educational system to best serve the students who they have been entrusted to educate. I believe the people of our State have a responsibility to know who they are electing to office and I personally would not want to give up that opportunity.
However, if there is a strong and visionary Governor that is able to work effectively with the Superintendent and select a group of Board of Education members that have valuable experience in education; business and finance; have a deep understanding of what past educators have been able to accomplish despite the lack in resources; celebrate, appreciate and give recognition to the thousands of public school graduates and educators who are and have contributed significantly over many years to our State, our nation and the world; and be able to build upon these achievements, then an appointed board would make sense.
We will have the opportunity, as voters, to make that choice and am very hopeful that Hawaii’s people will make wise decisions for the sake of our children’s future and the future of our State.
• Economic Growth: What are your plans to promote long-term economic growth for Hawaii?
We really need to look to the wisdom of our kupuna. Utilizing the ahupua’a system and looking at public policies and practices that need to be put in place to grow more of our food locally, use renewable energy produced here in Hawaii, and looking closely at our schools, work places, community gathering places, and homes to implement sustainable systems and practices is critical to long-term economic growth.
Supporting diversified agriculture and conservation work; expansion of our leadership role globally in health care; expanding our sports and recreation industries, like football, baseball, marathons, but also including the top two spectator sports in the world – soccer and motor sports; continuing our leadership in education and workforce training, expanding Hawaii’s renewable energy industry; supporting tourism in its various forms — leisure, business, cultural, community service and ecotourism; the retail, food and beverage industries; supporting our leadership role in STEM innovation (science, technology, engineering and math), including the space industry; film making and the arts. We also need to support Hawaii’s critical role in peacemaking and military presence to deter military aggression in other parts of the world.
We need to work closely with small and large businesses to understand what can make a positive difference in their efforts to prosper, expand and provide good paying jobs for Hawaii’s people.
• Crime: What is your solution to making Oahu a safer place to live and visit?
Long term investments would be in:
establishing a statewide early learning system with an array of options for families to support the healthy development of young children physically, emotionally and spiritually;
having adequate resources to expand the successful models of prevention of child abuse and neglect;
having an engaging, stimulating and quality public education system that supports student learning, allows them to learn and practice healthy behaviors and learn to be good citizens;
having affordable, stable housing options for people; and
having a vibrant, sustainable economy where quality jobs and work opportunities for our residents is the norm.
help people acquire the skills, knowledge and education to be economically self-sufficient and prosperous.
The short term investments include:
a well resourced Judiciary and law enforcement system that can administer justice swiftly and consistently with services to rehabilitate and reform people with substance abuse and mental health challenges, histories of abuse and neglect, who demonstrate anti-social behavior as well as adequate facilities to incarcerate person who are dangerous to the safety of the public.
maintain, restore and expand programs and specialty courts that have successfully addressed recidivism and helped to monitor and rehabilitate offenders.
build a therapeutic correctional facility that more appropriately addresses incarcerated persons who have mental illness and substance abuse treatment needs.
restore and maintain Hawaii’s sex offender program, which had one of the lowest rates of recidivism in the nation.
• Second Amendment: Would you support concealed carry or more freedom for law abiding firearms owners, do you feel the current laws should remain in place, or do you believe stricter gun laws should be in place?
I believe the current laws should remain in place.
• Homeless: What is your solution to homelessness?
We are currently short 30,000 affordable homes. We need to focus on identifying unused and underutlized state, county and privately-owned lands and fund affordable rental housing and work force housing.
We also need to have a coordinator, possibly housed in a non-profit housing organization like Partners in Care or Aloha United Way, who can help match the needs of homeless families and individuals with the availability of existing rental units.
We also need to better resource existing homeless services that are coordinated by the State Homeless Coordinator Sandy Miyoshi. This includes a program that works with landlords and finds affordable rental units for homeless individuals and families. This program helps mentor and support the newly housed individuals and families, teaches them basic skills to be a good renter and, later, a responsible home owner.
Another State program helps people who are on the verge of homelessness with supplementing their household income to pay their monthly rent. This needs to be better resourced.
We need to maintain the funding levels for homeless shelters and services.
For the chronically homeless, a special housing project needs to be constructed to have people housed and that offers on-site mental health, substance abuse treatment, financial services, job readiness training, etc.
• Compact with Micronesia: Micronesians are able to freely move to Hawaii, which they are doing in large numbers to take advantage of the public education system, medical services and other government benefits. But the governor and other public officials say they are taxing Hawaii’s resources and costing the state more than $100 million a year. This is a federal decision, but would you share your view on whether the Compact with Micronesia should remain in place, should there be some parameters put on the Compact or do you have other solutions?
The compacts between the United States of America, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Chuk, and other nations should remain in place. However, the Federal government should better support States that are highly impacted financially, like Hawaii, through increased funding for health care, education, public assistance, and law enforcement to serve the COFA migrants well.
• Akaka Bill: What is your position on the Akaka Bill? Do you believe it will unite or divide Hawaii? What is your vision for how the Akaka Bill will change Hawaii?
I support the Akaka Bill. It provides the opportunity for us to be united and celebrate and support our native Hawaiian people. It can also divide us if we choose to make it divisive. It is all up to us. I hope that the Akaka bill will provide us the opportunity to govern our natural resources well and live in a more sustainable way utilizing much of the wisdom of our native Hawaiian culture.
• Jones Act: Opponents of the federal Jones Act say it increases the cost of living in Hawaii through a shipping duopoly while supporters say it is needed to ensure port security and American jobs. While this is a federal decision, would you share your view on whether you support an exemption for Hawaii from the Jones Act or should it remain in place?
I will need to hear more about the pros and cons of this issue before making a decision.
• Endorsements you would like to list:
HSTA; AFL-CIO; HGEA; Build PAC Hawaii; Hawaii Teamsters, Local 996; Hawaii Realtors; Carpenters Union; ILWU, IBEW
• Any additional comments:
Phone: (808) 550-4735
Mail: 603-E Kunawai Lane
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Web site address: None.
Campaign Slogan or Theme (optional) From the heart.