Congressional District 1
Honolulu City Council Chairman/Attorney
CHAIRMAN & PRESIDING OFFICER - Honolulu City Council: 6/2011 to 1/2017, 3/2018 to Present; BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIR - Honolulu City Council: 1/2011 to 6/2011; MEMBER - Honolulu City Council: 1/2017 to 3/2018; Director:
Honolulu City Council: 2011-2014; Waipahu Neighborhood Board: 1991 to 1993, 1995
Leadership and practical experience. I am an attorney by profession with more than 20 years of experience working with Hawaii’s Congressional delegation as both a city administrator and Chair of the Honolulu City Council. The issues facing the First Congressional District and the City and County of Honolulu are very similar and have been part of my responsibility for my entire career in public service. Government works most efficiently on behalf of its citizens when there is cooperation and collaboration at every level; county, state, and federal. If we are not all on the same page we cannot get anything done. I understand the law, the policies, programs, and, most importantly, the relationships that govern the delivery of federal resources to the district. After all, that is the top responsibility of our members of Congress. As one of 435 in a Congress controlled by the Republicans, we must work efficiently and effectively to secure our share of resources and services. Anybody who knows me understands that we work hard, and we work smart. My record reflects that. There is no time for drama and distractions. Let’s focus and get it done.
1. Affordable Housing and Homelessness
The biggest issue facing our community is access to affordable housing and our unfortunate distinction as a state with one of the largest homeless populations, per capita, in the country. That is unacceptable when you consider our thriving visitor industry and vibrant economy. More local people should share in that prosperity. But the reality of our economy is that 17 of the 20 largest professions pay an average salary of less than $38,000 a year. We need to increase the federal minimum wage to resemble a living wage. Federal resources, such as HOME funds, Community Development Grant Block Funding (CDGB), Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and others must be effective managed in coordination with the county and state. There must be a comprehensive plan to address homelessness and affordable housing, one with measurable benchmarks and community buy-in. Too often, once the federal resources are awarded, we lose track of the implementation. I would require regular progress reports as part of a coordinated effort with the county and state.
2. Infrastructure and Transportation
Infrastructure and transportation improvements go hand in hand with increasing access to affordable housing. Transit Oriented Development represents our greatest opportunity to create truly affordable housing that our work force can afford. We must work together to ensure the successful completion of the entire rail line, from East Kapolei to Ala Moana, and be sure that we efficiently plan the communities and development around each station to meet the immediate housing needs of the community. If we do rail right, we create jobs, housing and connect people with new economic opportunities while lessening our dependence on fossil fuel burning automobiles. Rail is the final piece of a multi-modal transportation system that will provide viable alternatives to driving and will hopefully help reduce what we know to be some of the worst traffic congestion in the country.
We live on an island in the middle of the Pacific. We must care for our infrastructure and coordinate plans to refurbish and rebuild while accounting for the realities of climate change. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, changing weather patterns and warming seas present challenges that we must quickly address. In April, during the historic rains and flooding that devastated the North Shore of Kauai and parts of Oahu, we saw exactly what happens when water infrastructure and roadways are overwhelmed. Like any issue I address, I will push for a coordinated, community-based approach, where every stakeholder is involved and knows their role.
3. Military and Veterans Affairs
As the son of an Army veteran who served in the Korean War, my family was raised with a deep respect and appreciation for our veterans and the members of the United States Military. Their work and sacrifices on behalf of our country are to be honored and commended.
The Department of Veterans Affairs in Hawaii has improved since they began addressing the issues of backlogs and infrastructure. But there is more work to do and veterans struggling to connect with their benefits is unacceptable. They put up their lives for this country and deserve our best effort on their behalf.
Hawaii is the gateway to the Asia Pacific and home to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which manages an Area of Responsibility (AOR) that covers half of the planet. About 50% of the world’s population lives in the Asia Pacific, and it is home to two of the three largest economies. It is a diverse array of economic and military challenges. We need the more than 16,500 Department of Defense employees and their families focused on their mission and protecting our communities.
The military is a longtime community partner and one of the principal drivers of our local economy. I will continue to support their efforts and help manage the relationship between the Department of Defense and the community.
My first priority when elected, is to develop a cohesive working relationship with Hawaii’s congressional delegation to ensure that we work together in advancing an agenda that focuses on Hawaii’s priorities first and foremost. I would also seek to develop relationships with other Congressional representatives, in both the House and Senate, who may have similar ideologies and State/Federal interests. Standing alone and advancing one’s personal agenda will not result in tangible benefits for Hawaii. In terms of specific legislative priorities, I’ll work to increase oversight of Veterans Affairs, so Hawaii's veterans can receive timely access to the housing assistance, health care, and employment training they deserve. I will also address homelessness and the need for affordable housing by finding solutions to the affordable housing and homelessness crisis affecting Hawaii, by ensuring that federal funding for these programs is protected and spent effectively. And I’ll make sure that Hawaii is getting its fair share of infrastructure and transportation investments by advocating for additional federal investments and funding flexibility to get important local projects - like the rail transit project - done without additional burden on local taxpayers.
I would vigorously advocate for Hawaii's interests by legislatively addressing issues that are of the utmost importance to our constituents which have been detailed above. Additionally, I would seek to develop relationships with the executive branch agencies to identify and advocate for resources (i.e., funds) for affordable housing, health care, infrastructure, employment training programs (traditional and non-traditional), education and domestic violence among others.
My name is ERNEST YORIHIKO MARTIN ("Ernie Martin") and I was born and raised in Hawaii. I am the son of Ernest C. Martin, a retired U.S. Army Veteran, and the late Teruko Ikeda Martin who came to Hawaii from Tokyo, Japan. Me and my wife of 31 years, Melanie, have 3 children of our own, Mallory, Ernest Jr., and Becky.
I am a product of Hawaii’s public school system and was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend college, the only one in my family of 9 siblings to have had this opportunity.
I started my public service career as a groundskeeper trainee and was able to work my way up to the position of Director of Community Services, where I worked to help various non-profit organizations acquire federal grants.
I was first elected to office in 2010 and re-elected for a second term in 2014. I am humbled to have served as the longest tenured Chair and Presiding Officer of the Honolulu City Council, holding this position from June of 2011 to December 2016, and again from March 2018 to present, which I believe demonstrates an exceptional ability to foster collaboration among my colleagues.
I am an attorney by profession with more than 20 years of experience working with Hawaii’s Congressional delegation as both a city administrator and Chair of the Honolulu City Council. The issues facing the First Congressional District and the City and County of Honolulu are very similar and have been part of my responsibility for my entire career in public service. Government works most efficiently on behalf of its citizens when there is cooperation and collaboration at every level; county, state, and federal. If we are not all on the same page we cannot get anything done. I understand the law, the policies, programs, and, most importantly, the relationships that govern the delivery of federal resources to the district. After all, that is the top responsibility of our members of Congress. As one of 435 in a Congress controlled by the Republicans, we must work efficiently and effectively to secure our share of resources and services. Anybody who knows me understands that we work hard, and we work smart. My record reflects that. There is no time for drama and distractions. Let’s focus and get it done.