Since late May, Kanu Hawaii volunteers have been working on a pilot effort to engage residents on Oahu's Windward side. We choose this region to pilot HawaiiCandidates.info because it has a large number of Kanu members, it has candidates competing for office (so voters have a choice), and the community was about as diverse as any in the state. We'll apply what we'll learn in this community to expand to new areas before the General Election. Read more about the project.
keep it for farming
We need both affordable housing and productive agricultural lands. Placing a moratorium on building housing will only increase the cost of housing exponentially. At the same time, we must protect our prime agricultural lands. I co-authored a law to identify and preserve Important Agricultural Lands in our state to ensure that we will have available land for farming.
Each year we add approximately 25,000 cars on Oahu. In 20 years when rail is projected to be completed, we could have about 400,000 more cars on Oahu. In protecting the windward side against major development, we need to support development in the Ewa area. We need to support future generations, in many cases our own family members, in commuting to and from work. We should honor the vote taken by the residents of this county and move mass transit forward in a fiscally responsible manner.
I voted for teacher evaluations that are both agreed to by teachers and the DOE. Incentives should be considered as part of the package. Teachers should be evaluated on their performance, which may include student achievement, to further their professional growth. However, it may be unfair to penalize a teacher for a student who is habitually absent, or may not complete their assignments. A successful student requires support and direction at home as well as a highly qualified.
I support increasing the voluntary public funding amount for candidates. I am not sure that complete public funding of political campaigns is a good use of taxpayers' dollars.
Mahalo for all you do to make a difference. Please participate in the political process and don't forget to vote on or before AUGUST 11th!!
First is ensuring a safe and positive learning environment. Over the last 8 years I brought in over $175 million to repair and improve our Windward schools. Second, is providing more critical support for our teacher s and staff. Lastly is addressing some of the social issues that directly affect student performance. For example, in some schools more than 30% of students are absent for over 10 school days each year. This seriously affects student learning and we need to look at ways to ensure students have the support systems they need to achieve success.
As the daughter of a single mother who went from food stamps to earning a Ph.D. and opening her own small business, I understand the value of a quality education. And as a graduate of only public schools (kindergarten through law degree), I understand the importance of investing in public education. In addition to supporting meaningful teacher evaluations that do not focus solely on test-scores, I have worked to address underlying factors that make real education possible. Encouraging parent participation, decreasing classroom size, providing healthy food for all students, improving school infrastructure (including "Safe Routes to School"), ensuring a safe learning environment for all students, and promoting keiki/kupuna programs to encourage cross-generational sharing of knowledge.
Over the last four years, the state had a budget shortfall of over $3 billion. I was a strong advocate for protecting core public services while not raising taxes on most working families. For example, I fought against an increase in the general excise tax increase to balance the budget, made sure that working families receive their tax refunds on time, supported policies to maintain our economic recovery and tried to protect education, public safety and health.
The state must continue to help families struggling to cover basic living expenses: health care, housing, and food. With my training as an economist, I will continue to promote local and sustainable growth and to address the burdens on working families through smart growth and redevelopment, business-friendly tax policy, reducing taxes on low to mid- income wage earners, and fighting against increasing the GET. I view the current recovery from recession as an opportunity to re-evaluate our economy from the ground up, because Hawai'i's families should not have to endure the booms and busts associated with an economy that is extremely dependent on imported food and oil, in addition to being heavily based on tourism. The state must do more than pay lip service to diversifying our economy and must create the necessary conditions for sustainable, resilient economic growth. We must create high-paying, high-quality jobs for our keiki, as the next generation deserves to raise their families here too. To this end, I support increasing local production of food (for jobs, food security and to preserve open spaces) and investing in the clean energy industry. Renewable energy has the potential to boost our economic growth substantially by keeping literally billions of dollars currently spent on fossil fuels in our local economy, creating local jobs, reducing our cost of living, and creating energy independence, all simultaneously.
I believe in a balanced approach to address budget shortfalls. You need both revenue enhancements and reduction in expenditures. Over the last four years I helped pass legislation to address the over $3 billion shortfall that faced the state. Many of the revenue enhancements focused on exporting taxes through visitors, reducing generous corporate tax exemptions, and credits and enforcement. Our expenditure cuts were surgical and focused on protecting core services as much as possible.
I believe we can better evaluate government expenditures to ensure that every dollar spent by government will help grow our local economy and help local people. We can lower government overhead with better training, technology, and management. Local sourcing of goods and services will create jobs and increase tax revenues. I support eliminating tax exemptions for large corporate interests (usually foreign-owned), particularly those offered in perpetuity, to increase government revenues. I want to make sure that these terrific profit-making corporations bear their fair share of the tax burden. In the future, government should at least estimate the costs and benefits of all major public expenditures to make sure that the projects paid for -- using public funds -- will actually benefit Hawai'i's families. The failure by government to compare the costs and benefits for major expenditures leads to government waste and private benefit, often litigation, but no public benefit -- rail, Superferry, Aloha Tower, and the proposed underwater sea cable are just a few examples. We can do better with our money for all our families.
We must invest in our infrastructure. Over the last 8 years, I fought to bring over $100 million to maintain our roads and address our Windward infrastructure needs. I was able to get $1.5 million to begin plans and design of the widening of Kahekili Highway and am happy to announce that it will be moving forward this summer. The funding I got to pave Kaneohe Bay Drive is also moving forward and the project will start Fall 2012.
Kaneohe must balance population growth with our limited transportation infrastructure. Reducing traffic in Kaneohe can be a model for reducing traffic in the rest of the state. I believe there are many solutions but our state department of transportation and our city and county agencies must coordinate efforts and shift their priorities to be better connected to our communities and the land use planning process. I believe the money set aside for this particular rail project could be much better spent, or returned to the taxpayers. The proposed rail will cost an unknown but huge amount of money but it will barely impact our current traffic problems and it will be many years before we see even that small change. We must use our time and resources to rebuild walkable, livable, mixed-use communities and complete-streets policies to provide options for all users -- drivers, bus riders, pedestrians, cyclists, everyone. There are many other ways to eliminate having to drive so far to work in the first place. I will continue to support expanding our current public transportation infrastructure. We can have a reliable, timely, affordable bus system that regularly services remote and near-downtown communities. Tourists and locals alike will benefit from buses that service the Windward side without crowding our streets and parking-lots. It is also important that we complete highway safety and construction projects so that our roads are as safe as possible.
My job is to serve my constituents and the residents of this state. I have never felt or been indebted to big donors. When considering proposed legislation, I look at all the facts and make the decision I think is best for our state. I believe transparency is the best way for people to hold their elected officials accountable for policy decisions.
The strength of my campaign is my community and the volunteers who have supported me since my first campaign in 2008. These supporters have not only donated money to my campaign, but countless hours of their time to ensure that I can run a lower budget campaign that is only indebted to my constituents. We must get money out of policy and politics. In order to do this, we need advocates in the legislature that are committed to regulating campaign contributions and lobbying so that candidates will better listen to and serve their constituents. I have repeatedly supported policies to limit corporate campaign contributions and rebuild our public financing system.
I buy and eat local where I can. I go to the local farmers market at Windward Mall, look in the weekly ads for local produce and cook what's local and on sale. I have always supported legislation to help our local farms, including a pilot livestock feed development program. I also co-authored the Important Agricultural Lands law that protects prime agricultural land in our state.
I am a gardener, a member of Kokua Co-op, a lover of farmers-markets and I regularly prepare home cooked meals using local produce. Learning how to grow food and how to prepare whole foods are important ways we can all "eat" local. I have also personally supported local farm projects like Ma'o Farms, Hui Kū Maoli Ola and the community farmers in Kahana and Waiahole, with both my time and my money. In order for more people to eat locally, local food must be more affordable, and this means pursing policies to reduce number of barriers farmers face so they can earn a living. Throughout my years at the legislature, I have consistently championed policies to promote agriculture, get kids exposed and involved in farming activities and fresh foods, and make it easier for everyone to buy local. I believe we must ensure the land for farming remains affordable. I have supported the protection of community water uses so that farmers have the water they need to grow food. I am very concerned about the state's land use policies and the recent decisions by the Land Use Commission that will allow for the development and paving over of prime agriculture land on Oahu. I believe the Land Use Commission has become counterproductive and failed to fulfill it's own mission. I support a localized and diversified food system for Hawaii's local communities. My current favorite is Pakele's Hawaiian Food that just opened in Temple Valley.
I have found that conserving energy usage and saving money can be done together. I sold my 6 cylinder engine car and replaced it with a used, 4 cylinder, more fuel efficient car. Installing compact fluorescent light bulbs is an easy way to reduce energy consumption and save money. I also try to eat locally produced food, which reduces fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Turn lights off when not in use, unplug appliances, carpool, recycle, use energy efficient appliances, grow my own food, used cloth diapers for my keiki, purchase re-used and upcycled products for myself, my family, and my home (I am probably one of few legislators whose wardrobe comes mainly from Savers). I try to bring my own containers and shopping bags to stores and restaurants, use reusable water containers, and encourage my children to play outdoors and limit time on the computer. I drive a hybrid. I work from home when possible to avoid a commute.