Name: Joy A. San Buenaventura
Phone: (808) 961-2131
Office/Position Sought: State House of Representatives
Senate/Representative District: District 4 Puna
Are you an incumbent? Yes
Campaign contact name, phone number, and email address: See above.
1. I am running because I believe I am the best qualified for the job amongst the field of candidates for this position. I have been a practicing attorney for over 30 years serving mostly poor to middle class families. I know their hardships, their problems and I know how the current law has helped or failed them. In fact right before I was elected to my first term, I had successfully argued the cases of 2 puna residents in front of the Hawaii Supreme Court. One of the cases I argues was a court-appointed case of a wrongfully convicted poor Hawaiian whose conviction I was able to vacate.
I am running for office to fix the flaws in the law that have failed to protect the people. Thus, in my first term which occurred after Puna’s twin disasters, I successfully sought to fix the homeowners insurance law to prevent insurers from cancelling property insurance when there is a slow-moving disaster. Insurance companies cancelling insurance meant that people who had their life savings in their homes could not sell because banks require insurance before issuing mortgages and those who paid their insurance faithfully were left without coverage. I also acquired funding for an alternate road where Puna was shown to be very vulnerable when the lava almost cut-off Puna from the rest of the island; and funding for a community kitchen at Kua O Ka La, a Kalapana charter school which has to truck in cooked food every day because they have no kitchen. Kua O Ka La sought funding for years and it was only when I advocated for their grant that they were able to get it.
As vice-chair of Judiciary, I advocated for penal code reform because too many low risk, non-violent offenders were being imprisoned. I also advocated for $15 million for another building in Hawaii Community Correctional Center (they house misdemeanants and those awaiting trial), which has the highest overcrowding in our prison system; and as a member of the public safety committee, I advocated for a puuhonua system review instead of our current incarceration model.
2. I am not Hawaiian; and I believe it is presumptuous for me to opine as to Hawaiian self-governance. From my experience, Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prison system, and in the homeless population. If Hawaiians want self-governance, I will strongly support it short of the entire state seceding from the US.
3. My district has one of the largest native Hawaiian population in the state, and the highest number of Hawaiians with a high-quantum of Hawaiian ancestry; and thus, as a legislator, I have an open-door policy to all Hawaiians and Hawaiian groups. To date, no Hawaiian group has ever been turned away. As vice-chair of Judiciary, we resolved to have the Hawaiian language be integrated into the judiciary website; and passed the decriminalization of Native Hawaiian burial practices during my first term of office. In 2016, I supported and signed my support for the largest Department of Hawaiian Homelands administrative payment in history. I hope that by doing so, DHHL will substantially reduce its waitlist and be able to house Hawaiians: Not only house those Hawaiians who can afford to construct a home, but also those who are homeless. Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in the homeless population.
I do not have specific Native Hawaiian bill ideas in mind. I am interested in helping DHHL reduce its waitlist. I hope the monies we have allocated to them will reduce such waitlist and I support and am willing to introduce whatever laws they need to ensure that more Hawaiian have homes before they die. Last year, my legislative aide Tai Pa, a Native Hawaiian and Puna native, sought a state-wide ahupua`a designation resolution. I introduced that resolution for him, and supported his admission to Richardson School of Law.