HOOSER: 12 political goals for 2022

It goes without saying that if we don’t set goals, we are sure not to achieve them.

With that in mind, here are 12 public policy goals that I think are worth our time and energy:

• Term limits for state legislators;

• Adoption of real legislation on the living wage;

• A reassessment of the military’s impact on Hawai’i, including the planned expansion of the US Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands in the Westside;

• Repeal of law HB499 / Law 236, relating to lease extensions on the public domain;

• Criminal justice reform / cash bond;

• Increased public funding for state and county elections;

• Legalize the responsible use of cannabis by adults;

• Affordable housing for ALL local residents;

• Food and energy self-sufficiency;

• Protection of our rivers, coasts and mountains;

• Ensure that Hawaiian teachers are the best paid, the most qualified and the best in the world;

• A tax structure that protects local residents and obliges foreign investors and the wealthy to pay their fair share.

None of these goals are radical or revolutionary. There are already models elsewhere. We just need the political will and the leadership to make it happen. It should be a blow to a Democrat-dominated legislature like it does here in Hawai’i.

Term limits should be approved by voters, but should be put on the ballot by the Legislature. Fifteen states, including California, currently have legislative term limits.

Eighteen states have legalized responsible use of cannabis in adults.

Twenty-three states have a higher minimum wage.

There has never been a comprehensive assessment of the collective impact of the military in Hawai’i. The residents of Hawaii deserve to know what these impacts are, and they deserve to have a say in whether further future expansion is needed or desired.

Affordable housing, food and energy self-sufficiency, and protection of our natural environment require long-term commitment, sound planning, and eternal vigilance.

Attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers is the most important thing we can do to ensure the positive development of our children.

Tax fairness can be achieved literally with the stroke of a pen. In previous legislative sessions, many proposals were adopted, but the governor subsequently vetoed it. Without exaggeration, hundreds of millions of dollars are left on the table every year.

Hawai’i is full of money. Just days ago, Governor David Ige announced his intention to put $ 1 billion into the state’s “rainy day fund”.

Yes that is correct. We have an extra billion dollars on hand now and hundreds of millions more every year we are running low.

Our state government has the money, but it simply lacks the political leadership to spend it where it needs to be spent – paying teachers more and building more affordable housing would be a good place to start.

Citizen involvement is a prerequisite for political will. Without active citizen participation, politicians only have the voice of big money and big business.

Please. Trust me for this shot. Make two calls and send two emails. One to your state representative and one to your state senator.

• Senate Speaker Ronald Kouchi, 808-586-6030, [email protected];

• Representative Nadine Nakamura, District 14 (Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapa’a, Wailua), 808-586-8435, [email protected];

• Representative James Tokioka, District 15 (Wailua Homesteads, Hanama’ulu, Lihu’e, Puhi, Koloa, ‘Oma’o), 808-586-6270, [email protected];

• Representative Dee Morikawa, District 16 (Koloa, Kalaheo, Hanapepe, Waimea, Kekaha, Ni’ihau) 808-586-6280, [email protected]

Share with them your thoughts, goals and expectations.

The legislative session opens on January 19 and adjourns on May 5.

Every seat in the state legislature, both House and Senate, and county council, is up for election this year, and most state legislative elections will be decided in the August 13 primaries.

Please own your government. It is important.


Gary Hooser is the former vice president of the Hawaii Democratic Party and served eight years in the State Senate, where he was the majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua’i County Council and was the former director of the State Environmental Quality Control Bureau. He serves on a voluntary basis as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action and is Executive Director of the Pono Hawai’i Initiative.

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