During my time in public service, as a Hawaiʻi State Representative and as a Honolulu City Councilmember, I have always fought for working families and the vulnerable. I was born and raised on Oʻahu. My grandparents were Filipino immigrants who worked hard to call Hawaiʻi home. I know the importance of a strong work ethic, acting with integrity and doing what you say you are going to do.
There are so many challenges facing our Honolulu community. COVID-19 brought our economy to a standstill and our working families are in distress. The cost of living is too high, housing is in short supply and it seems like we hear a new story of crime or drug abuse each day.
To some, it seems like things just keep getting worse – but, not to me. I see this as a pivotal opportunity in our City’s history. We can choose to continue the status quo or make bold changes now.
Our unique Hawaiʻi lifestyle is special because of the beautiful aina but we stay here because of the strong sense of commitment to ʻohana that you can’t find anywhere else. To me, our strength comes from our people. Honolulu’s rich history and traditions must be preserved and protected while we work together to create opportunities for our children and grandchildren to live happy, healthy, productive lives here at home.
Join me today. Change starts now.
KYM’S TOP 10 PRIORITIES
1. Economic Recovery – Job growth & diversification
The City must use federal funds received from the CARES Act to support families and struggling local businesses and to invest in a better future. We have a record number of unemployed residents and closed businesses due to the pandemic shutdowns. Now is not the time for talk but action.
Kym believes keeping families in their homes with food on the table is the top priority. Since the crisis started she committed herself to supporting people in need with Covid-19 testing sites, food distribution events, mask giveaways and by offering support to those in need. She held numerous town halls to assist specialized industries like restaurants, hair salons, fitness studios and more to reopen safely to get people back to work.
Kym believes the key to Hawai‘i’s future success is economic diversification and investment in sustainable, clean energies, technologies and agricultural systems that can provide food, fuel and jobs for our people. Tourism will always be a part of Hawai‘i’s culture but we need to be a resilient, independent community who can stand on our own.
VIDEO – Formerly homeless families on West Oʻahu receiving keys to their future. The Joshua ohana moved into Kauhale Kamaile, a new permanent modular housing project for previously homeless families along the Waiʻanae Coast. The 16-unit project is for families and individuals who earn 50% of area median income.
2. Reducing Homelessness – Focused on housing & healing
Kym is the only candidate running for Mayor, who worked at a homeless shelter. The current policy, which moves the houseless from one side of the street to the other, is a waste of taxpayer dollars. The solution to homelessness is housing and accessibility to drug treatment and mental health care services. Instead of the millions of dollars spent moving the houseless around, she would push for those funds to be spent on increased drug treatment, mental health care and creative housing options. In addition, Kym would enact legislation that allows flexibility in the City’s building code to allow Kauhale Villages or tiny home communities to be built rapidly.
She recently crafted innovative affordable housing laws, which will build thousands of truly affordable units. The City Council passed her initiative to dedicate $23 million dollars to reducing homelessness in Honolulu. She also dedicated an additional $2 million to helping homeless communities in her own West Oʻahu district. Kym recently sought funding dedicated to creating housing and treatment for addiction and mental health services.
We can’t just throw money at this problem though – we must work with service providers, community leaders and elected officials at every level of government to improve conditions for all.
3. Affordable Housing – Homes for our ‘ohana
With so many residents struggling right now, getting people in homes they can afford is crucial. As Chair of the Zoning and Housing Committee, Kym revealed that outdated building codes and permit delays prevented affordable units from being built economically and swiftly. As a solution, she helped enact sweeping legislation that changed building and zoning codes. It enables families that own small lots to revitalize properties with truly affordable housing that does not use taxpayer money. Now, every developer building more than 10 units must build affordable housing within their project.
Providing affordable housing at the lowest income levels is crucial. Kym will push for the use of vacant government lands, especially those located along the new rail route, to be used for affordable housing. Reducing land costs and providing low interest or no interest loans and grants to builders and non-profits will help housing get built without delay. Kym plans to revamp the entire permitting process by removing backlog, adding more staff and integrating new technology to improve timelines and approvals. For smaller projects, she hopes to reduce the permitting process to just two weeks. She will continue to incentivize the development of affordable housing and work with the State to ensure Transit Oriented Development includes truly affordable and work force housing.
Kym has worked on many affordable housing projects providing rents as low as $300 a month for a studio to $940 for a three-bedroom unit. She will expand opportunities like this and ensure that there are real options in communities across the island.
4. Tourism Management – Culturally & environmentally responsible policies
Kym knows that many kama‘aina feel pushed out of their home by the tourism industry yet overall visitor spending is lower and lower. She brought local economist, Paul Brewbaker, Ph.D, to the City Council to reveal that Hawai’i was receiving far less revenue per tourist than 40 years ago. This means that despite Hawai’i’s record visitor numbers, local residents are now spending far more to maintain City resources and tourists are spending less. Councilmember Pine calls on tourism leaders and public officials to shift our resources toward tourism management.
We must prioritize the protection of our natural resources and attract higher spending tourists that contribute more to our economy and to our cultural and environmental preservation. The current visitor trends overburden our residents, our infrastructure and our natural resources. It has been a mistake for the City to not take an active role in tourism management, especially since Honolulu is impacted the most.
As Mayor, Kym would ensure that the State Department of Economic Development and City Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency take a larger role in tourism management. She believes impact fees should be charged to tourists to help pay for the preservation of our natural resources. All companies that work in the visitor industry should have a tourism management plan to ensure their operations do not negatively impact the environment, our culture or quality of life for residents.
We need to change the way we manage the impact of tourism. Social media increased connectivity and also exposed our once private local spots to the world. As a result, many residents are concerned about overcrowding, environmental wear and tear and desecration of sacred areas.
5. Crime Reduction – Safer, happier communities
Since 2005, then State Representative Pine, said she believed there were not enough police officers to efficiently serve the people. As a City Councilmember she also fought for more police officers but City officials claimed the police force was sufficient and matched national standards. Honolulu’s newest Police Chief recently confirmed what Councilmember Pine and many residents feel, that the police department is faced with a 30% staffing shortage. Certain types of crime are so bad that even police officers explain that they just don’t have enough officers to investigate and follow up.
This is a matter of priority – we don’t have to accept this as the new normal. There were more than 2,000 crimes involving tourists in 2017, a troubling statistic given our economy’s dependence on the visitor industry. Crimes involving the use of a firearm are up 40% since 2014. The number of assault cases in Honolulu has risen every year since 2014. Kym will ensure that public safety is the core responsibility of government and will explore innovative and efficient policies to help law enforcement keep the peace. Our ‘ohana should feel safe walking their neighborhoods at night, using public transportation and visiting our beaches.
As Mayor, Kym will renew our focus on public safety and crime reduction. More importantly, she will demand that every Police Chief be allowed to tell the truth about the operations and conditions of our police force. Police officers who risk their own lives to keep us safe must be given all the resources they need to protect us.
6. Transparent Government – Leadership with integrity
Nowhere in Hawai’i’s recent history is our lack of transparency and accountability more obvious than the Honolulu High-speed Rail Project. It was the Council’s investigations into rail that led to the federal investigation of the project, which Councilmember Pine believes is necessary to stop corruption. She will continue to demand transparency and accountability from the rail project – the City has a mandate to finish it, now we have to make sure it’s done right.
There must be accountability for the rail project. In the wake of broken promises about the rising cost of the project and amidst an ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation into allegations of waste, fraud and abuse, we need transparent oversight and honest leadership. This project is too important to O’ahu’s future and our ability to work in good faith with the federal government moving forward.
As someone who highly respects our law enforcement, Councilmember Pine was extremely disappointed with the corruption that took place within the City’s law enforcement and legal departments. This is unacceptable and reform and accountability is necessary. We cannot set standards for our citizens that City personnel do not also uphold. The City should not be financially responsible for the willful criminal acts of City employees.
She fought against using taxpayer money for expensive out-of-state lawyers to defend any employee of the rail project, police department, or the prosecutor’s office who may have participated in illegal acts while on City time and she will continue to do so as Mayor.
7. Cultural Awareness – Incorporate and restore cultural values
O‘ahu’s rich history and traditions must be preserved and protected while we work together to create opportunities for our children and grandchildren to live happy, healthy, productive lives here at home. The preservation of our culture and way of life should not be an afterthought, but the backbone of how we live our lives. Government should reflect that at every level.
While on the Council, Kym introduced the Keep Hawai‘i Hawai‘i package of legislation. This initiative seeks to educate visitors and locals alike about the importance of preserving and protection the beauty of our land, ocean, wildlife and our people for generations to come. Kym believes that with mutual respect and awareness we can make a Hawaii that kama ‘aina can enjoy again.
Kym also enacted the first legislation that allowed cultural groups to take an active role in protecting and preserving sacred spaces. Current leadership in Honolulu has pushed to make O’ahu more like other cities outside of Hawai’i. Kym believes that Hawai’i’s culture, beauty, and Aloha spirit are what attracts people from all over the world. Instead of becoming like other places, she believes we should invest more in what makes us so special.
As Mayor, she will partner with established cultural organizations, the University of Hawai’i, cultural leaders and environmental organizations to highlight the rich diversity of our island and prioritize projects that preserve our uniq
8. Environmental Protection – A Resilient O‘ahu
While Hawai‘i was closed to tourism and residents stayed home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 our animal life and environment had time to heal and recover from years of encroachment. This is why Kym believes the next Mayor must preserve time for the environment to heal and for kama’aina to be able to enjoy the island free from crowds.
The City must prepare our island’s infrastructure for adaptation to higher sea levels and the realities of our changing environment. This means enacting policies to fortify our infrastructure to manage the impacts of heavy rains, coastal erosion, rising sea levels, increased flooding, and more frequent, violent tropical storms and hurricanes.
The City must support policies and enact legislation that promote renewable energy and energy efficient technologies while being conscious of financial impacts to our residents.
Our City must also improve our systems for recycling and processing waste and toxic substances. Kym envisions an O’ahu free from dependence on landfills. As Mayor, she will support new technologies that ensure our waste is recycled or used to produce clean energy with zero emissions.
As Zoning and Housing Chairwoman, Kym passed legislation that preserves 45,000 acres of agriculture land on O’ahu. These types of initiatives are crucial to achieve food sustainability. As an island state, we are vulnerable to natural disasters and there is much we can do to better prepare our City. She also believes that O’ahu can also become a top exporter of specialized food and agricultural products. As Mayor, she hopes to attract agricultural experts and innovators to find new ways to grow Hawai’i agriculture.
We are all tired of seeing illegal dumping, derelict vehicles and used tires tossed around our island. We must improve access to refuse locations for proper dumping, implement technologies to reduce waste and increase public awareness about the importance of caring for our ‘aina.
9. Quality of Life – Accessible City Services
The recent pandemic has made it clear that the ability to telecommute, use social media and rely on efficient software systems is more important then ever.
Kym is passionate about updating City systems and integrating new technology into Honolulu government to make living on O‘ahu easier for all. With new processes and software systems we can implement changes to reduce wasteful spending and increase efficiency at Honolulu Hale.
10. Cost of Living – Supporting families
People are hurting now, more then ever. Kym grew up in a hardworking family and believes we must support working families. There is a great disparity between what our workforce earns and the cost of living. Kym will make it a priority to work with government officials and business leaders to find creative ways for us to close this gap in Honolulu. What people make is half the problem.
What people have to spend is the other piece. Kym will spend her first term in office dedicated to bringing people’s everyday expenses down at the City. Small changes today can make big differences in our lives. Kym will work to reduce resident fees and spend less on non-critical projects at the City.
She is also focused on adding housing units to our market that are truly affordable to our local workforce. Reducing residents’ largest living expense, the cost of housing, will remain Kym’s top priority. We cannot continue to lose our loved ones to lower out of state prices. Our families should be able to stay here and live a comfortable life here, together.