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Hawaii State House, District 50

Duties: The Hawaii State House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the Hawaii State Legislature. The Hawaii House of Representatives is a part-time body.Areas Represented: Kailua, Kaneohe BayHow Elected: The house consists of 51 members elected from an equal number of respective representative districts. A Representative must be a Hawaii resident not less than three years, is at least 18 years old, and is a qualified voter of the representative district from which the person seeks to be elected. Candidates for state legislative offices who are nominated in the primary election and are unopposed in the general election will be deemed elected to the office sought after the primary election regardless of the number of votes received by that candidate (Hawaii State Constitution, Article III, Section 4).Term: Two years, not subject to term limits. Base Salary (2020): $62,604 plus $225/day if living outside Oahu, $10/day for members living on Oahu; Senate President - $70,104

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    Patrick Pihana BRANCO

  • Kanani SOUZA

Biographical Information

Please provide a brief Candidate Statement describing your qualifications and why you are running for this office.

What are your top two goals and how will you achieve them if elected?

What do you think about the state of women in Hawaii's elected and appointed public offices? What have you done to support women in government? What will you do?

How would you address concerns about a lack of transparency at all levels of government?

Do you support automatically registering people to vote when they apply for a driver’s license or state identification card, provided they can voluntarily opt out of registering. (Senate Bill 2005 passed the senate and is currently in the Hawaii House Judiciary.)

What, if any, actions would you work towards in your first 100 days to address the threats facing Hawaii due to climate change?

Do you believe the response to the COVID-19 crisis could have been improved, and if so, how?

My family and I have called Kailua home for four generations. I had the great honor of serving as a U.S. Diplomat for seven years, working in Korea, Colombia, Pakistan and Venezuela. I left each country reminded of what’s truly unique about Hawai’i: our sense of community. Now, I want to give back to the community that raised me. Using my background in economic development and in working across different parties, I want to help drive the conversation as our state navigates one of our most difficult times in charting a path for economic recovery.
My top goal will be economic recovery while working toward long-run economic sustainability. I will immediately implement short-term solutions to help Hawaiʻi’s working class, including an emergency loan program and short-term health insurance for the unemployed. Second, I will implement long-term, targeted strategies to diversify our economy. My second major goal is education. Because of my experience overseas, I understand what our educational system needs so our keiki can compete in a global economy. I will prioritize supporting our students and teachers and advocating for additional educational resources.
Hawaiʻi has a history of electing strong female leaders. Pioneers like Patsy Mink come to mind. Also, the fact that two out of four Congressional representatives are women demonstrates the values of Hawaiʻi voters. That said, it is not perfect; women only occupy about 30% of our state legislature seats. As a legislator, I will unequivocally support programs that assist women -- from longer paid family and medical leave to appointing more female officials to oversee state agencies. As a Native Hawaiian, I understand the importance of under-represented groups helping each other and I will continue to support organizations, like the State Commission on the Status of Women, dedicated to advancing women in the government and workplace.
- Make more state reporting readily available online in a centralized database. We could also eliminate the current charge for downloading data. - Create official social media channels to keep residents quickly updated. - Improve mechanisms to receive and report community input on proposed projects through centralized online portals. - Support local journalism to ensure government oversight. We could provide tax breaks for struggling media companies or subsidize investigative journalism training.
Yes. I’ve seen this successfully employed in other states. It would provide easier registration, particularly for younger voters. I would support measures providing a convenient means of voter registration via the DMV’s licensing process while preserving an individual's right to opt out.
I have three areas of focus: renewable agriculture, mobility, and energy. Within the first 100 days, I will introduce legislation to promote farming practices that require carbon sequestration and regenerative agriculture. Additionally, I will work to provide capital to local companies creating a supply chain connecting local farmers to local consumers. Second, I will immediately advocate for the creation of a State Data Office so we can understand the impact of transportation data and plan the most effective ways we can reduce carbon emissions through our commutes. Third, I will only promote renewable energy projects in which the community benefit is ensured, such as a reduction on household energy bills.
Our response had many successes, particularly the quick enforcement of a mandatory 14-day quarantine that helped flatten our curve. However, there are other areas in which we could improve: -Communication needs to be coordinated and decisive through all levels of government. We need a clear approval process between state and city offices, especially before public pronouncements. - Officials should communicate clear timelines for reopening the economy and keep planning as transparent as possible. - Unemployment assistance needs to be prioritized and more automated to avoid delays. The state should invest in the technology and infrastructure needed to ensure future claims do not overwhelm our networks.
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