Police officer in Joliet, Ill.; staff in the Scientific Investigations Section of the Honolulu Police Department; manager of the Records & Identification Section and the Information Technology Section of the Maui County Police Department
I have more than 40 years of public service, in a variety of high-responsibility positions, including in law enforcement and information technology. I am a long-time board member of the Kehalani Community Association, working to improve the neighborhood where I have lived for two decades. Since 1994, I have volunteered with the Democratic Party in numerous capacities, including work on the campaigns of Barack Obama and Mazie Hirono. I was Maui representative to the National Democratic Convention in 2012. I volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program and participate in the Pacific Cancer Foundation’s Patient and Survivor Support Group. I've been endorsed by the Hawai`i Government Employees Association and Planned Parenthood. I hold a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and MBA in information technology. Based on my life and work experience, educational achievement and community volunteerism, I am prepared to be the state representative for District 8.
Lack of affordable housing; stagnant wages; environmental degradation.
Enacting a paid family leave law is my highest legislative priority. Committees at the legislature have found there is substantial justification for this pro-woman, pro-child, pro-family proposal. Indeed, a paid family medical leave bill passed both houses in the 2018 legislative session. Yet the bill didn't advance to the governor. I will work with the Women's Legislative Caucus to ensure its passage and enactment during my first term in office.
Here are some of the key findings from a committee report on the legislation:
- The majority of Hawaii's workforce cannot afford to take unpaid leave to provide care for a newborn, bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition or be a caregiver to an aging parent. Yet, 240,000 employees, who serve as primary caregivers to a family member, face this dilemma.
- Seven in 10 children live in a household where both parents work, and over a quarter of children live in households with single parents. Therefore, a lack of meaningful paid family leave policies puts them most at risk.
I will lead on affordable housing - a multifaceted problem and the most pressing issue facing District 8 residents. Hawaii now has the distinction of having the nation’s most unaffordable rent costs. The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently found a typical two-bedroom rental in Maui County has a market cost of $1,619 per month, and a tenant would need to earn more than $31 an hour just to stay sheltered.
Unfortunately, Hawaii’s minimum wage is only $10.10. The gap between our earnings and our housing expenses continues to widen for many of us, even with so many residents working two or more jobs. While our current officeholders have been discussing the issue of developing more homes for residents, no one has been able to bring all sides together to generate viable solutions. I will work with the newly elected Legislature to convene developers, government officials, environmentalists, farmers, housing advocates, bankers – anyone willing to come to the table in good faith – and finally prioritize affordable housing.
My campaign is based on my desire to help my longtime friends and neighbors throughout District 8 raise their standard of living through higher wages, more family-friendly workplaces, more affordable housing and a cleaner environment. I am inspired to follow in the footsteps of Hawai`i leaders who have come before me, such as Patsy Mink, and help make Maui a more livable place for all. The time has come for me to step up. It’s inspirational to see so many others coming forward to run for the first time this year. I am running to win and make a real difference in people’s lives.