Commissioner for the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women
I'm an environmental scientist, small business owner, foster parent, and mom. I have worked as an agent for social change my entire adult life, initially as an advocate for racial justice and environmental issues during my college years then later widening my scope to include women’s rights and class disparities. I proudly serve as a commissioner for the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women and am the former Hawaii State Chair of the Women's March on Washington.
I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and grew up around the world as a dependent of the Department of Defense. My family is of Native Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, and Polish ancestry and my genealogy can be traced back to the islands of Kauai, Maui and Hawaii. After returning to raise my family in Hawaii, I launched an environmental planning, permitting, remediation and renewable energy company and community service. Last year, in addition to running Women's March for our state, I was the named state plaintiff in a class action lawsuit to reform foster care in Hawaii. We were awarded $84M by the Judiciary.
After great consideration, I decided to run for this very important position because the people of rural Hawaii deserve a representative who will remain a servant to their needs in Congress. While I am not a politician, I am a proven and effective community leader, confident that I will succeed in meeting the needs of the people of Congressional District 2, rebuilding our economy, protecting our environment, and improving our quality of life. For too long the needs of rural Hawaii have been ignored or handed off when their congressional representative moves to a new seat. I am willing to commit the rest of my career to this role and make the needs of rural Hawaii my priority in Washington.
#1 Health Care – Access to quality health care choices remains top priority. In Congress, I will ensure to appropriate more money for federally qualified health care centers in rural Hawaii. I will also work toward attracting and attaining more qualified health care professionals in these districts. My team has already assembled a group of rural health care professionals and advocates who are currently researching opportunities at the federal level.
#2 Economy & Jobs – CD2 was once an economic bread basket for the state and we have swerved into a dangerous lopsided economy with little diversification. I seek to change that in my Congressional capacity. I have a team of economists who specialize in studying economic opportunity clusters in Hawaii’s rural regions and we have identified significant opportunities in agriculture, health, and local art. Additional growth can also be realized by effective management of our housing crisis and our mental health crisis.
I will support raising the federal minimum wage chained to the CPI and work to divert tax breaks, for the wealthiest among us, to fund public school education.
#3 Education – As a mother who of children enrolled in public and private schools, I see the stark differences in the quality of education between both types and I believe that every child deserves a top rate education. I, myself, am a proud product of public schools and I will work to ensure that public education is fully funded, teachers are paid more, and that educators have a say in policy and procedures.
My first task in Congress would be to 1) end the Zero-Tolerance Policy for immigrants crossing U.S. borders; a policy which enabled the construction of new prisons for profit and the indefinite incarceration of immigrant families seeking asylum, 2) locate all the children separated from their parents and reunite all of them through a compassionate and sensitive protocol and 3) hold those responsible for this abusive enforcement accountable for crimes against humanity. This work would be led by the Congressional Task Force on Immigration that is chaired by Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
Second, rebuilding and diversifying the economy of rural Hawaii will be my lifetime achievement. My campaign team has gathered a cohort of economists that are already researching economic models and opportunities for each of the islands in our state. My job in Washington will be to build relationships with representatives who have successfully grown rural economies in their states and identify supports for the opportunities that we have at home including: growing clean energy technologies, growing our agriculture-for-food sector, and growing our local art economy.
A House Representative should put the needs of her house first. I will focus my work and efforts on the people of Congressional District 2, not only of this generation, but for generations to come. I will not use this elected seat to further any ambition for higher office. I will center my work on the needs of Hawaii's people which include quality health care, top rate public education, and a robust economy.
For too long, the people of rural Hawaii have been ignored. We are a tightly knit community and when one suffers, we all feel the effects. I will always be true to my representation and work to end our Affordable Housing Crisis with truly attainable housing; end houselessness with true compassion, not criminalization; protect our aging kupuna, fully fund early childhood education and public education; and ensure Medicare for all.
My entire campaign has been run by dedicated volunteers and funded solely by personal donations from family, friends, and community members. As a team, we are running this campaign to return the power of this seat to the people. We feel that we deserve strong, caring, and long term representation in Congress because that's what it will take for our communities to thrive in the near future and for generations to come.