Building—Not Just Houses—But Homes
"With thousands of our residents leaving each year, we need to rethink the County’s role in addressing our housing crisis. Our local government should be working to facilitate—not discourage—the construction of new housing. Furthermore, our approach to housing needs to be centered on creating a housing supply that is within reach of local people, where they can make a home for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, our permitting process is a significant hurdle to this goal because it is not designed to best serve the interests or needs of our community. Despite repeated attempts to fix the process, we are still burdened by over-permitting and inefficient administration.
As Mayor, I will lead efforts to:
Streamline the permitting process through third-party review of certain building permits and exempting small-scale home renovations from permit requirements
Allow local families to add an ʻohana unit on their property in certain areas for their children or kūpuna
Strengthen the Office of Housing and Community Development to ensure real affordable housing growth, not tax credit sleight-of-hand by developers
Explore the use of alternative construction models to increase housing supply
Expand workforce housing requirements to make housing projects actually accessible to local working families
Generating Renewable Energy
"We cannot live in today’s world without power. Unfortunately, our electric grid right now— which powers our homes, businesses, and schools—largely depends on oil markets overseas. Whether it is wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, or hydrogen, we need to explore every natural energy source on our island. That is how we develop an energy system that is self-sufficient and minimizes negative ecological and environmental impacts.
Investing in renewable energy also expands our economic portfolio. My goal is a truly sustainable Hawaiʻi for ourselves and our children.
In order to achieve this goal, I will:
Allow renewable energy projects to apply for a waiver from the permitting process if they are regulated by a public utility under the Public Utilities Commission
Incentivize the study and development of renewable energy technologies through County grants
Update the Building and Electrical Codes to encourage the use of energy efficient construction while keeping cost in mind for the end-user
Increase transparency and public input in the siting and construction of new energy projects
Advocate for the expansion of the Natural Energy Lab of Hawaiʻi Authority in Kailua-Kona
Enhancing Public Health & Safety
"Public health and public safety go hand-in-hand, and we cannot handle one without the other. Being healthy and safe is the key to positive living for everybody, keiki and kūpuna alike. As the former head of the largest non-profit community healthcare provider on our island during the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes, I understand the importance of public health. We need a Mayor with experience and expertise who understands the role of social and community dynamics in determining health outcomes. For example, the role our County needs to play for our homeless brothers and sisters goes far beyond just law enforcement. Oftentimes, there are mental health, substance abuse, or domestic violence issues involved and these need to be addressed as well. These are things that I have confronted throughout my career as a health professional, and I will continue to do so as Mayor. I am passionate about creating safer neighborhoods throughout Hawai‘i County where people can live, work, and play without fear or danger. I am confident that building strong relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve will go a long way toward contributing to the general welfare of our island.
If elected, I pledge to:
Work with the state Department of Education to place one full-time community resource officer at every public high school in Hawaiʻi County
Reduce barriers for non-profit and faith organizations to increase our supply of temporary housing by constructing “kauhale” (tiny homes) projects on their property
Expand outreach and support services for vulnerable populations, especially those experiencing domestic violence and mental health problems
Continue educating young people and the general public about the dangers of drug use
Support community-driven policing efforts in areas that are most victimized by crime