No one should have to decide whether to purchase vegetables to feed their family or pay their rent. But this is a stark reality facing too many families. Housing costs are the single largest expenditure for families in Hawaiʻi today. We must act now to provide truly affordable housing, not through incremental change, but through an overhaul of the system to increase rental, leasehold and fee simple options.
As an estate planning attorney, Kauʻi has the privilege to work closely with families, understand their needs, and help them develop long term care plans for healthcare and succession. By serving low to middle income families, she understands first-hand the issues facing our growing aging population. Many desire to set up a plan to minimize conflict and stress so they are able to live their retirement years with dignity. Regardless of economic status, no kūpuna should have to feel alone in this time because they do not have the resources for the care they need. We must work in partnership with key stakeholders to make more resources available and to strengthen the continuum of care to meet their needs.
Environmental Stewardship & Customary and Traditional Practices
Our elected leaders have not consistently met their constitutional mandate to uphold environmental protections and cultural practices in Hawaiʻi. Their failure is causing conflict in our communities and destroying our fragile ecosystems. We can not afford to continue down this path. Our elected leaders must defend our state constitution rather side with special interests to properly manage our resources and cultural practices.
Teachers are one of the most vital resources in our educational system. They are responsible for helping guide and mold our children; children we expect to be the leaders of tomorrow. But yet, our teachers are undervalued and are among the lowest paid in the nation. Their low wages are further exacerbated by Hawaiʻi’s high cost of living making this profession undesirable. Due to this, Hawaiʻi is facing a severe teacher shortage. It is hurting our children and communities. We must act now to give our teachers the support they need and deserve.
More than 80% of Hawaiʻi’s food is imported from other places around the world. As a result, we are dependent on imports for survival. A national or international catastrophe could put Hawaiʻi in a dire emergency if our food supply is cut off. This pathway is unsustainable. We must do more to support local food production in alignment with other constitutional mandates. We can do this by creating and supporting inter-island food production.
By doing so, we will be able to create jobs in rural communities who have the capacity to grow food, decrease our dependence on imports, and minimize the negative impacts on our special environment to make Hawai’i truly sustainable.
Small businesses face many challenges in starting and sustaining their businesses, especially in Hawaiʻi. Challenges include access to capital, capacity building services, and resources to compete in today’s markets. Small businesses need support so they can serve as a hub for innovation. We can support them by creating a comprehensive center that provides guidance and resources.
We must invest in maintaining and upgrading our infrastructure, educational and state facilities, to be more effective to meet the needs of our growing population.