In addition to our people, planet, and peace policies, we have a comprehensive set of other policies to solve the challenges facing working people in Hawai'i and across the United States.
Progressively Reform Federal Taxes
The United States tax code is unequivocally unfair to working families, with the average working family paying 16.11% of their income in federal taxes and the average billionaire paying 8.2% of their income in federal taxes. As your representative, I will propose tax reform that creates a fair tax code through the following:
- Lowering taxes on earned income by 20% for the average middle-class family.
- Reforming retirement accounts by creating a unified system in which all workers can participate, regardless of if their employer offers a 401(k) or not.
- Removing the Social Security (FICA) tax cap, which currently exempts the wealthy from paying Social Security taxes on income over $147,000.
- Raising taxes on capital gains from 20% to 33%.
- Reinstating the full state and local tax (SALT) deduction.
- Establishing a wealth tax on the top 0.1% of households.
- Enacting a tax on carbon dioxide pollution.
Revolutionize Public Education
Our public education system should serve as a path to prosperity for all people regardless of the economic class one is born into. However, many years of under-investment in public education have deteriorated the public education system. Living in the richest country in the world, our keiki deserve the best public education system in the world. As your representative, I will work to revolutionize the public education system through the following legislative agenda:
- Establishing universal, fully-funded public pre-kindergarten.
- Funding community colleges to make associate degrees tuition-free.
- Redistributing federal funding from private universities to public universities, particularly minority-serving higher education institutions.
- Prohibiting federal dollars from funding for-profit charter schools and expanding US Department of Education oversight of non-profit charter schools.
- Forgiving the student debt of public servants – including military service members, teachers, firefighters, police offices, and other federal, state, and local government employees – who have served for eight years.
- Subsidizing teacher salaries with federal funding so that no teacher in Hawai’i earns less than the federal government’s low-income limits, which are $57,900 for Maui, $67,700 for O’ahu, $47,950 for the Island of Hawai’i, and $57,100 for Kaua’i.
Investigate Reparations and Further Native Hawaiian Self-Determination
The US overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i and subsequent injustices to the Native Hawaiian people have created an immense debt that has yet to be repaid. I see no path toward justice for the Native Hawaiian community without reparations and self-determination as defined by the Native Hawaiian community. As such, I support the following policy actions:
- Amending the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act to include indigenous peoples and passing the legislation. Reparations are in no way a final settlement, but interest upon a moral debt that is owed to the Native Hawaiian community.
- Participating in a Native Hawaiian-led process to come to a community consensus regarding the best path to achieve Native Hawaiian self-determination and then advocating for that form of self-determination in Washington DC.
Support Our Veterans
We have a moral obligation to care for those who have served the United States in the armed forces. The alarming rates of veteran suicide, houselessness, and unemployment demonstrate that our representatives in Washington have failed to fulfill our promises to veterans. As your representative, I will advance a legislative agenda that accomplishes the following for our veterans:
- Strengthening mental health care to reduce the number of service members and veterans who die by suicide to zero.
- Increase funding for HUD-VASH vouchers, grant and per diem payments, and pilot programs to combat veteran houselessness.
- Improving education benefits through increased online student housing allowances, childcare stipends, and elimination of delimiting dates.
- Passing comprehensive toxic exposure reform, including improvements to the claims process, to provide health care and benefits to all toxic exposed veterans.
- Increasing dependency and indemnity compensation benefits for family survivors.
- Enhancing employment counseling for new veterans and expanding preferences and tax incentives for hiring veterans and military spouses.
- Preserving the integrity of TriCare.
Subsidize the Jones Act
The Jones Act is, to say the least, a controversial law that greatly impacts every person in Hawai’i. The law requires that cargo being transported between two locations in the United States be transported using ships that are built, owned, and crewed in the United States and by US citizens. Opponents of the Jones act argue that the law greatly increases the cost of shipping to Hawai’i as shipping companies cannot use less expensive foreign-built ships or foreign crews, in addition to eliminating competition, often pointing to a study that asserts the law costs each family in Hawai’i $1,800 a year. Proponents of the Jones Act argue that the law ensures national security and reliable shipping to Hawai’i through an experienced merchant marine and developed maritime industry. Regardless of the merits for or against Jones Act, the federal government, not the people of Hawai’i, should hold the burden of paying for the increased costs of shipping to Hawai’i that result from the law. Thus, as your representative, I will enact the following Jones Act reform:
- Amending the Jones Act to subsidize shipping to Hawai’i so that the cost of shipping to our state is what the cost would be without the implementation of the Jones Act.
- Not repealing the Jones Act.
Protect Personnel Health Decisions and Bodily Autonomy
The government has no place in regulating the decisions one makes in a doctor’s office. It is my staunch belief that every person in the United States has a right to safe abortion access. While the recent revelation that the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn the precedent established in Roe v. Wade is a setback for the United States, I will work with others in Congress to codify the right to abortion in federal law by passing the Women's Health Protection Act. In accordance with my values of bodily autonomy, the federal government does not have the right to force people to take particular drugs, including the COVID-19 vaccine. While I am fully vaccinated and encourage every person to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, the federal government does not have the authority to force people to take the COVID-19 vaccine. As such, I am opposed to federal vaccine mandates. With these values, I will support the following legislation as your representative:
- Passing the Women's Health Protection Act, which codifies the precedent set by Roe v. Wade into federal law.
- Not voting for any legislation that mandates an individual to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Declare a National Housing Emergency and Establish a Federal Response to Houselessness
Homeownership has served as the most effective path to the middle class and financial security in the history of the United States. Every person on our islands should expect that if they work, they will be able to own a home over the course of their career. However, we are entering an era in which the prospect of owning a home has become an unimaginable dream for most people who call our state home. Unless we take bold action to build affordable housing and regulate investing, working families in Hawai’i will continue to struggle to afford housing. As such, I will advocate for the following policy changes to ensure affordable housing for Hawai’i’s working families:
- Declaring a national housing emergency and authorizing the Defense Production Act to construct emergency housing for unhoused people in Hawai’i and across the United States.
- Mobilizing each relevant body of the federal government to facilitate the effective supply of building materials to the US market.
- Expanding the mortgage interest rate deduction from the first $750,000 of a mortgage to the first $1,250,000 of a mortgage.
- Liberalizing zoning restrictions and ensuring the elimination of the remnants of racist housing restrictions.
- Creating a forgivable down payment assistance program of up to $25,000, adjusted for home costs, for first-time home buyers.
Ensure Public Safety and Invest in Crime Prevention
Like many members of our community, I am alarmed by the recent rise in crime and violence on our islands. Every person, regardless of the community that they live in, has the right to a safe environment.
The best way to respond to crime and ensure public safety is to prevent crime before it takes place through investing in economically depressed communities and transitioning to a justice system based on restorative principles. We need to understand that there is an immense difference between violent and non-violent crime. As a community, we must realize that the vast majority of the people who partake in non-violent crime do so because of a lack of meaningful economic opportunities. As such, we must expand economic opportunities in marginalized communities, as the previous policy reforms will do, and evolve in our response to public safety through lowering recidivism, treating mental health episodes as a medical issue, and ending the failed war on drugs.
The criminal justice system should attempt to reform incarcerated individuals to become productive members of society upon their release. We must transition from a police response to mental health episodes to a medical response to such health issues.
The war on drugs has undoubtedly failed. The federal government’s prohibition of recreational drugs has ruined countless lives and robbed our communities of billions of dollars that could have solved pressing issues.
It is long past the time for common-sense gun reform, which, at a minimum, must include universal background checks, allowing the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research on gun violence, and allowing law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis.
With these premises, I will support the following policies as your representative:
- Expanding federal funding for convict education and reintegration programs to reduce criminal recidivism through job training during imprisonment and job placement programs upon release.
- Creating a federal fund for states and municipalities to test alternative public safety measures, such as expanding emergency mental health services through hiring social workers.
- Legalizing and taxing recreational soft drugs, including cannabis, psilocybin (shrooms), and DMT.
- Decriminalize hard drugs – such as heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone (oxycontin), morphine, benzodiazepines, methamphetamine (meth), cocaine, crack, Ecstasy, ketamine, PCP, and LSD – following the Portuguese model, which is a humane and health-led approach to combatting drug use.
- Enact common-sense gun reform, including universal background checks, allowing the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research on gun violence, and enabling law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis.