1. I am running for reelection to continue serving the residents of the 14th District, as I have since 2000. The 34 years I have devoted to public service in the City Council, House of Representatives, and Senate have given me the experience and know-how vital to building legislative relationships and to developing the laws and public services that address the needs of my constituents, as well as to providing the authority and insight required to identify government mismanagement and hold public agencies accountable to the taxpayers.
The voters of the 14th District need a strong voice, not someone who will just go along to get along. An advocate has to be willing to stand up to speak publicly on issues and problems so that we can address them. This is reflected in my investigations into wasteful and ineffective spending practices in our highways and airports operations, abuse of overtime among some public employees, salary overpayments by state agencies, and the “Wonder Blunder” at the University of Hawaii, among others. These actions are the hallmark of my work on behalf of the people of my district. I believe my willingness to speak publicly on these problems have helped to shed light on the often-overlooked oversight responsibilities of legislators.
2. The Hawaiian community must come together on self-governance. While I am not Hawaiian by blood, my son is Hawaiian. He is a proud graduate of the Kamehameha Schools. Besides my son, my roots in the Hawaiian culture comes from studying hula with Aunty Maiki Aiu since the seventh grade. She taught me how important it is to be a good steward of our culture and she instilled in me my Hawaiian values. As a legislator, I look to the Hawaiian community for counsel on the path they will take toward self-determination and look forward to supporting that path.
3. My role as a legislator is to help facilitate the priorities of my community. I have been a strong advocate of protecting and preserving the Hawaiian culture and our environment. I support laws that protect and maintain cultural and historic sites.
I have introduced and passed measures that dedicate funding from the Hawaii Special Tourism fund for our public trails and parks, and the mandate for a Hawaiian cultural practitioner to be a voting member of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. I have fought to bring back Hawaiian music to Waikiki. I was instrumental in getting the Legislature to appropriate a million dollars yearly so that we can realize our goal of capturing and preserving our cultural past with the Hawaiian music and dance center. This will preserve and maintain our Hawaiian music of yesterday and today. We must capture the stories of our talented musicians, kumu hula before their work is lost.
This past year was the first that I was able to serve on the Hawaiian Affairs Committee and I worked with Chair Maile Shimabukuro on all of the issues that came before this committee.