Issues


Water & Agriculture

Agriculture is preservation. It’s food, it’s fuel, it’s fiber and construction materials … there was a time in Hawaii when local agriculture on each island fed over a million people.

At Pacific Biodiesel, we always knew agriculture would be a large part of our energy future, but we thought it would happen quicker. I started the fuel crop project because we couldn’t wait anymore for the farming sector to get it going. We obtained over $3 million in federal funding for 5 years of crop demonstrations that have not only proven the viability of non-GMO biofuel crops, but have yielded real potential for food, fiber and even skin care co-products. We’re doing this on the Big Island by bringing in partners and working with local farmers on our common mission of sustainability.

This is the type of collaboration we need in Maui County – every interested party should be an agriculture partner focused on the mission of our own preservation. Once again I find myself tired of waiting for our elected officials to pave the way, and so I’m stepping up to be the change. Maui has the resources, and we need to come together now to preserve our children’s future and develop the ag model that will feed and fuel our communities.

Sustainability

We need to ensure our community is healthy and self-sufficient in terms of basic needs. The Council is in a position to support local production of real food (not just exports) and energy - and I believe policy should emphasize Maui businesses and farmers first. We also have to use our resources wisely and realize that if we have the ingenuity to recycle, reuse and reduce, our “waste” can be commodity feedstocks for energy, building materials and other products.

Local businesses and jobs are important. As business owners, my husband and I have always prioritized hiring local. I will continue to be a champion of local business and local jobs which also means continuing to work with and support education and training programs that seek to develop local capacity. We do have the talent and inventiveness on Maui to create jobs and fill them here!

JOBS

It’s a wonderful feeling to say, “You’re hired”! Probably almost as great to say as to hear.

I co-founded a company that has been able to say that to hundreds of people in over 20 years. On the Big Island, we have hired professionals who were otherwise ready to leave the state, a homeless person who was able to move his family out of his car, and our staff of biofuel processors are 100% hired locally. Our own business model has been built on support for local business, local jobs and promoting from within. We also focus on developing local sources for our supplies and inputs which is why the fuel crop project is so important. This emphasis supports many more jobs outside of our direct 75 jobs statewide. I have also personally worked with several community colleges in Hawaii on curriculum development programs with the intent of training for green jobs, including the SSMP at UHMC.

Maui County needs more leaders who understand the need for LOCAL jobs and for job training and retraining. There are state and federal programs that are not being fully utilized, and even a new job retraining statute that passed this legislative session. I know these agencies and resources and I will work with our local business community to increase access and make sure we are focused on jobs for Mauians.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Even if you have a house, your children need to be able to afford a house someday, your employees need housing, your childrens’ teachers need housing … the high cost of housing effects us all.

30 years ago, my husband and I were able to purchase our first home with a federal low income loan and it was the start we needed to get to where we are today. We were a young married couple, pregnant with our first child, when we qualified for a FmHA loan which allowed us to establish roots in South Maui with a small 750 sf home in north Kihei. Due to my second pregnancy, we expanded the house too quickly for the mandatory residency time so we refinanced and paid back all the interest as required. We still live in our Kihei house and are so thankful for the assistance that was there when we truly needed it.

I want that for all families on Maui. I want to work with developers, realtors and those in need of affordable housing to identify funding and create assistance for affordable homes and affordable rentals. Already in my campaigning efforts, I have spoken with developers who have great ideas and want to help. It is imperative that we all work together so that develop can continue in a way that contributes to communities and is welcomed instead of vilified.

Planned GROWTH AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Community Planning is the overarching issue. We need to respect the work that went into these plans, and use our Countywide Policy Plan as a guide for decision-making. South Maui’s infrastructure does not support the amount of development currently in the works and we need to revisit the requests for zoning changes.

Traffic, water, parks and ocean pollution are all issues for South Maui as well as most other Maui communities. Development doesn’t have to be a dirty word, but it does have to be good for our community.

Our community values are expressed in our Community Plans, developed with extensive input, and these goals and values should be guiding all County Council decisions. The Vision and Core Principles our County adopted in 2010 were created by citizens advisory groups, elected officials and county Administration staff and employees.

GOVERNANCE

Are you getting the government you’re paying for? I’m running for office to bring you more transparent, efficient and accountable government.

My husband and I have run two successful businesses in Maui County, and we have to be accountable or we don’t stay in business. We live and operate by the values of honesty, integrity, fiscal responsibility, operational excellence, respect for others and the environment. I represented Maui County schools back in the 90’s as a member of the State Board of Education with those same principals and I know they can work in government. (Successful policies: local school governance structure, curriculum alignment, extended school year)

We can make local government accountable by allowing folks to vote on changes to our County Charter such as the Professional County Manager model that my opponent voted to keep off the ballot this November. The Council is obligated to review other systems of government as required by the 2010 Countywide Policy Plan, which calls for examination of different forms of local governance. I support changing our current system to one similar to many others throughout our country with an elected governing body that hires and oversees a professional county manager. This would give citizens the accountability and continuity that is lacking in Maui’s current system where councilmembers have no control over administrative duties yet must decide on funding requested by the administration.

Currently administrative appointees are hired by the mayor without due process and do not necessarily have the required qualifications. In fact, most of the public has never even seen the job descriptions. I believe it would be more efficient and less costly in the long run to hire professionals who could have longer terms than the sitting politicians and would be held accountable by the Council which is more accessible and responsive to the public.

SOCIAL SERVICES

Maui’s homeless problem is growing and should be prioritized as an important social service issue.

As the Council considers funding for the homeless problem on Maui, we need to address the root causes of homelessness and understand how many folks are intentionally homeless, how many have mental health and/or drug addiction problems, and how many folks are in unfortunate circumstances that they need assistance to resolve. Each of these root causes needs a different approach when creating solutions. The County Council can lead the way by focusing on Human Concerns issues, making it a separate committee or a Working Group of the Housing, Human Concerns and Transportation Committee, regularly reviewing data and/or funding comprehensive assessments in the absence of information, and appropriately funding the County departments and community non-profits that are truly assisting in solving these problems.

There are other social services that are not currently being delivered at full capacity of need and are feeding the stress of everyday life. No one in this election is even talking about domestic violence, drug abuse and cultural sensitivity, but they are big problems that need to be dealt with

My own experience working with local organizations like Hui Malama Learning Center, Mental Health Kokua, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, etc., and being Maui’s Representative on the State Board of Education, leads me to believe we need to examine our current services -- private, government and non-profit, to create stronger public/private partnerships and plans that are action oriented with benchmarks to measure success. Many of our non-profits are doing a great job with very little, and it’s time to look at what they might be able to do with more help.  We should be looking at all funding – federal, state and county, and I think we can streamline the county administration to find funding as well.

We also need to find a way to save our non-profits the burden of coming to ask for budgetary funding every year and I would support a biennial budget, like the State has, to give a more secure planning options for successful programs.