State Representative, 30th District
Honolulu City Councilmember, Assistant VP Territorial Savings and Loan
Honolulu City Councilmember
• As a state legislator for many years, and holding the offices of State Representative and City Councilmember, I am experienced, and dedicated to working to represent the people of my district and the State of Hawaii. Through this time, I have been passionately focusing my work to saving taxpayers money, to improving the health and well-being of the people of the state, and to leaving a better legacy for the children of Hawaii. I am currently working on a bill to address the $25 billion in unfunded liabilities (the obligation of the state to government and county employees to cover pension and healthcare costs) to save over $500 million dollars yearly for the state and county, without increasing the tax liabilities of the citizens of Hawaii. If you would like more information, I would welcome the opportunity to present my core ideas and reasonings surrounding this bill to you.
• how to create a more economically efficient government without increasing individual taxes and/or fees.
i. One way to address affordable housing and homelessness issues is to minimize financial waste and redirect cost savings to areas in need of funding. I introduced a bill during last session- the Unfunded Liability Bill. This measure would free up and save over $500 million per year for the next 30 years, which in turn would result in increasing funding flexibility in the future for programs addressing homelessness, affordable housing, education, and healthcare, and other funding needs of State and counties.
• creating affordable housing opportunities, decreasing homelessness, and providing better access to healthcare
i. We are currently in a primary care shortage in our community, and this is projected to get worse as our population increases. We are currently short about 700 primary care physicians to meet the immediate needs of our population. This is projected to increase to a shortage of ~1500 primary care physicians in 10 years due to retirement and relocation of physicians to other states which compensate more fairly with regards to care. The cost of obtaining a medical education can be very high, leaving many starting physicians needing to seek opportunities that can offset their educational debts. Given that Hawaii is a high cost of living state, after paying their monthly educational loans, there is often not an equitable compensation left over for those practicing here vs moving to other states with a lower cost of living. I would like to look into establishing a State program that would potentially forgive part or all of a primary care provider’s educational debt in exchange for practicing here in the state, especially in our rural areas, where the need is greatest. This could be modeled similarly to the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, and would allow us to fill that healthcare shortage.
ii. I believe we should continue to improve and strengthen Public-Private Partnership between Developers and the State and counties – the State and counties to provide lands and Developers to build safe affordable home communities throughout the state upon these lands.
iii. Provide Tax credits for those involved with programs that provide affordable housing opportunities
iv. Increased job training and transition programs to provide job training and opportunities, and creating tax credits or incentives for businesses participating with these programs or providing job opportunities.
• Improving public education. We are currently short about 1000 teachers statewide in our public education system. The state should focus on making a push to both encourage and retain good and qualified teachers for our youth via the following:
i. increasing teacher wages in order to retain a good pool of educational talent, and increasing the educational budget so that teachers don't have to purchase needed school supplies from their own pockets
ii. housing cost breaks for educators at key benchmarks (1 year, 5 year, 10 year, etc), to incentivize those who choose to take and continue careers in education
iii. develop a program to encourage our youth to pursue an educational degree in exchange for at least a 5 year contract to teach in Hawaii. This program would involve creating scholarships and loan forgiveness plans for graduates who chose to teach in Hawaii, and is tied to similar benchmarks as noted above.
Restructuring the budget to be able to appropriately fund areas in education, safety, healthcare, and other areas of need that currently are not receiving adequate funding. I introduced a bill last session- the Unfunded Liability Bill. This measure is an innovative way to save taxpayers’ money. This measure would free up and save over $500 million per year for the next 30 years, which in turn would result in increasing funding flexibility in the future for programs addressing homelessness, affordable housing, education, and healthcare, and other funding needs of State and counties. If you would like more information, I would welcome the opportunity to present my core ideas and reasoning surrounding this bill to you.
The business of running the state has always been a team effort. While no one person can solve all the problems or fill all the needs of every constituent, my goal and my strength has always been being able to work together with members on both sides of the line to find solutions that work for our community. Key points I hope to tackle this upcoming legislative session include creating more affordable housing, increasing access to healthcare for all of our citizens, increasing the minimum wage to help more closely meet the cost of living in our state, and create innovative budgetary strategies which will create more funding and revenue for underfunded areas like education and public safety, without raising individual taxes and / or fees. Additionally, in terms of my district, I am focused on addressing flooding concerns from Halawa stream and Makalapa Park, improve development potential of residential and affordable housing units in our community, and funding transitional and job training programs to increase income potential and subsequently decrease unemployment, homelessness, and recidivism in our community, which will also have a positive impact on public safety.
I strongly believe that education is the equalizer between different economic classes. As such, I am dedicated to creating a stronger educational system that would involve increasing the number of teachers in the state, paying them fairly to encourage educators to continue their careers here in Hawaii, and incentivize those seeking careers in education, to encourage them to stay here in Hawaii to teach.