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Hawaii State Senate, District 9

Duties: The Hawaii State Senate is the upper chamber of the Hawaii State Legislature. The Hawaii State Senate is a part-time body.Areas Represented: Hawai‘i Kai, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Niu, ‘Aina Haina, Wai‘alae-Kahala, Diamond HeadHow Elected: The senate consists of 25 members elected from an equal number of constituent districts across the islands. A Senator must be a Hawaii resident for not less than three years, is at least 18 years old, and is a qualified voter of the senatorial 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: Four 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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    Stanley CHANG

  • Sam M. SLOM

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 interest in public service goes back to my parents. They were immigrants from China. My father became a UH professor, and was able to buy a house, put me through school, and give us a good life. When I graduated from high school, 90 percent of my class went to college on the mainland, and most have not come back. The American dream my parents achieved is no longer possible for young people today. That’s why I’m running for State Senate.

I have been involved in public service since my first City Council campaign in 2009. In the State Senate, I have been an outspoken voice for affordable housing as Housing chair. We have much, much farther to go, and I hope to continue my service to move us closer to ending the housing shortage.
My top goal is ending the housing shortage in Hawaii through my ALOHA Homes proposal: construction of high density, mixed use communities on state-owned lands near rail stations on Oahu. The plan includes availability to all individuals regardless of income, a highly dense urban plan, and the production of tens of thousands of units per year.

My second goal is establishing housing savings accounts to help people save for down payments and rent payments. I would like to see a voluntary, opt out program that will save 5% of people's paychecks for them in a separate account that can be used for any purpose, including housing. But because there would be no tax advantage, it would not impact the state budget.
While women remain a minority in the State Senate, I advocate for those legislative priorities which advance the priorities of our state’s women. I consistently co-sponsor the Women’s Caucus bills. For example, I joined with every woman in the Senate to request that the Department of Health convene a task force to consolidate data and information regarding violence against women. I additionally worked with the same group to introduce a resolution to request that the Department of Human Services provide data to help estimate the budget appropriation and legislative action necessary to fund an expansion of Med-Quest coverage to all post-partum women for a period of twelve months following childbirth.
The Legislature’s job is to keep the other two branches of government accountable. Transparency in government is crucial for a healthy and informed democracy in Hawaii. Governor Ige’s suspension of public access to vital records, regardless of whether or not it expedites our efforts to combat the coronavirus, is inherently wrong. I am grateful that Gov. Ige chose to revise his decision in May, and I believe that we must return to total transparency as soon as possible. As State Senator, I affirm my continuing commitment to transparent politics, and pledge to notify my constituents of testimony opportunities, legislative decisions, and public committee hearings and meetings via my newsletters, social media, public meetings, and more.
I am in full favor of this proposal; I was one of the seven senators to introduce Senate Bill 2005. I am committed to securing its passage. I have introduced automatic voter registration bills for multiple years. Voter participation is the bedrock of the democratic process, and I believe in expanding voter access through every reasonable means.
In my first term, I consistently supported taxes on carbon emissions, real estate disclosures of inundation risk due to sea level rise, and other bills designed to address climate change.

Furthermore, I believe in a fundamentally different approach to urban planning--high density mixed use developments near rail stations, all emphasizing walkability--that would essentially eliminate car transportation, the only other major local source of carbon emissions. This approach would be integrated into our ALOHA Homes proposal.

Hawaii is already a leader in our nation’s response to climate change. Our state’s first-in-the-nation 100 percent renewable energy goal has a target date of 2045, and I support accelerating that timeline.
One thing I would have done differently was to redeploy workers more quickly to the Unemployment Insurance Division. Clearly, the division was not prepared to handle the avalanche of claims that it faces today. Another would be to work to make the maximum amount of federal coronavirus funding available for individual relief. The hours-long lines for free food, the tens of thousands of people still waiting for their first unemployment checks are just two symptoms of the pervasive crisis that could have been ameliorated by legislative action.
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