Education. Prioritizing a quality public education system remains the key to Hawaii’s prosperity. As an advocate for early childhood education, I support access to free universal preschools to engage and nurture our young children as they explore, imagine, and aspire. We must continue to empower our community of educators to cultivate a safe, culturally sensitive, quality education for our young learners. Our schools thrive through instructional leadership in our classrooms. Hawaii’s teachers must be recognized as the most important voice in designing curriculum and assessments necessary and appropriate to accelerate student learning, especially to counter the learning loss impacted during the COVID pandemic. We ask our teachers to help prepare our students to compete in a global society, yet we fail to provide our teachers with competitive salaries. We must compensate our teachers with competitive wages to recruit and retain teachers who commit their professional lives to our students here in Hawaii. Additionally, we must prioritize modernizing the infrastructure of our schools, leveraging technology to allow for an agile educational system that produces innovative digital solutions to local and global challenges.
Law Enforcement. Every day, Hawaii’s men and women in blue embrace a selfless devotion and commitment to public service. Our officers dedicate, sacrifice, and jeopardize their lives to protect the rights, liberties, and well-being of our communities. While I believe we must support our officers to allow them to concentrate on preserving public safety, order, and peace, equally important is elevating collective accountability. Upholding public trust is facilitated through improved transparency, establishment, and monitoring of law enforcement policies; as well as enhanced community partnerships.
Housing. Hawaii’s housing crisis must be addressed in a radical way to promote the overall vitality of our economy and communities. A compelling, collective commitment to developing sufficient, stable housing is imperative if we desire to secure residency for future generations here in Hawaii. In this pursuit, development and developers must be held to standards that ensure sustainability and respect for our cherished ‘aina; likewise, we must secure the necessary infrastructure and assure the permitting process is not overly burdensome to build these essential homes. The shifts we make moving forward should allow us to honor and give life to our ‘aina by perpetuating a rightful place for our children to live and work.
Environment. We must work together to create an economic climate that enhances the viability of our rich agricultural lands while creating vibrant neighborhoods and communities for the next generation. Smart growth policy options must ensure Hawaii’s development is environmentally responsible, securing a resilient and sustainable Hawaii. We are trusted stewards of our land, water, and air; therefore, we must continue to expand our understanding and collective responsibility to care for our valuable ecosystems and resources.
Traffic. Individuals exhaust an inordinate amount of hours in stressful traffic when it can be spent with loved ones or working on personal well-being. We need to incentivize businesses and build infrastructures to allow for remote work, staggered hours of operation, and promote innovative modes of transportation. The completion of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project and biking to work or school through Complete Streets serve as alternative transit options to alleviate the daily congestion on the roads, but it will not be enough. Given Hawaii’s projected population growth and impact of climatic change, we will need to commit to strengthening our long-term transportation plans to continue to improve, maintain, and expand our overtaxed and ever-aging roadways.
Economy. A thriving Hawaii economy requires recognizing the shifts of today’s modern workplace and ensuring our education, private, public, and governmental sectors are aligned to respond to its demands. We must act urgently and expeditiously to upskill our workforce and at the same time identify and address the barriers that challenge our progress. Hawaii must redefine an equitable workforce system that presents numerous and competitive options to access training and employment so our citizens can participate in the workforce and support their families.
Furthermore, responsible austerity measures must be in place when evaluating and developing Hawaii’s budget and governmental initiatives. Our government entities must be transparent and accountable through improved policies, responsive programs, and enhanced service delivery across our state. Fiscal metrics should be a tool required of agencies to inform, respond to, and measure the effectiveness of appropriations.