Assistant Professor of English, UH Manoa; Legal Writing Professor, Syracuse University College of Law; legislative aide to Senator Richard Matsuura, and Representatives Mark Nakashima, Marcus Oshiro, and Calvin Say
I have an extensive educational background and experience working in the State Legislature.
I received a B.A. in English from Harvard, a Ph.D. in English from UCLA, and a J.D. from the University of Washington. For decades I have written and published at a professional level. For example, as a judicial clerk at the Washington State Supreme Court, I drafted more than a dozen published opinions.
As a legislative aide to Senator Richard Matsuura, I was involved in the drafting of Hawaii's Procurement Code. More recently, as an aide to three different House members, I know what a Representative does and how things get done. I know the personalities in the House and what to do to support an initiative.
I also know how to help constituents by working with State and City and County agencies to help solve their problems.
The number one challenge in the State and district is the high cost of living, which also creates a lack of affordable housing and homelessness. Although Manoa in general is prosperous, there are many residents of District 23 who rent rather than own their own homes. For them there needs to be a way of driving the cost of housing down or of increasing their incomes. For those who do own their own homes, crime in the form of burglary is a constant concern. The feeling is that people from outside the district are committing these property crimes. If they were not under economic duress, they would have little incentive to commit these criminal acts.
The long-term solution to the high cost of living is to create a knowledge, information, or innovation industry in Hawaii. Such an industry would be able to do what tourism cannot: generate high paying jobs and keep profits from this industry in the state.
The current Administration and previous Administrations have put initiatives in place to encourage an innovation industry. But despite their mantra that such an industry begins by having a world class university, they have not stepped up to the plate and fully funded UH Manoa.
My highest legislative priority is to fund UH Manoa so that it does become a world-class university. It currently sits at around 160 in the US News ranking of national universities. It needs to move up into the top 100. In order to do that faculty retention must be a priority. Salaries must be higher and low-interest mortgage loans must be available to those who are awarded tenure. Also, the maintenance of UH Manoa's physical plant must be fully funded and the backlog in such maintenance reduced.
With a world class university in place, we will be able to attract students, faculty, and entrepreneurs from the Far East and the Mainland, and our best local students will be able to find good jobs here.
Studies have shown that one high paying job in the knowledge industry creates four jobs in the service sector. All incomes are higher. Properly done, a thriving innovation industry will bring about economic growth, which will address the high cost of living by increasing incomes and eventually lowering tax rates.
My number one legislative priority is to increase funding for UH Manoa so that I serves as source of research and development for a knowledge industry in Hawaii. Such an industry should be able to generate numerous start-up companies. Unlike tourism, the profits from these small businesses will stay in our state. There will be more high paying jobs in the innovation industry and better paying jobs in the service sector.
If elected, I will also be open to constituents who wish to have legislation introduced on their behalf. They can just come in to see me. This is subject to the bill introduction limits set by the House.
I am also open to constituent concerns. If someone has a problem that government can address, he or she can call or email my office. We will try to help you.
Since I am 65 years old and taking care of two parents, I am well aware of caregiver and kupuna issues.
I am also a fiscal conservative. When I hear the gubernatorial candidates propose some expensive initiatives, I wish there would be a greater recognition of the cost of these proposals. The taxpayer will be stuck with the bill, and I will want to put the brakes on many of these proposals. My own higher education initiative is an exception. An investment in education usually pays off.