The achievements of Americans of Japanese ancestry surround us: in their back-breaking toil as immigrant plantation workers … the role of those workers in shaping the organized labor movement … the courage and sacrifice of the members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion and others during World War II … in their determination to build a post-war homeland steeped in the American ideals long denied them … the election of Japanese Americans and other disenfranchised citizens to the Legislature, county councils, Congress and the governorship … and in their contributions to the attainment of statehood and the evolution of a society offering opportunity to all.
It is with profound gratitude that we embrace this proud history, and with hope and optimism that we now build on the legacy of Japanese Americans.
Today Honolulu finds itself in the midst of the greatest economic and public health crisis it has ever faced, an unprecedented challenge that has compelled me to seek to return to City Hall as mayor. And it is from that legacy of Japanese American leaders that I draw much of my inspiration and ideas.
My five-point plan for our community includes: (1) a sensible plan for public health and safety that directs our resources at staying vigilant during the pandemic and ensuring our first-responders are trained and equipped for any emergency; (2) bringing business back by restarting tourism and expanding on synergistic, travel-related industries; (3) making Honolulu world-class by completing the rail system within our means and catalyzing transit-oriented development to create housing and business opportunities along the rail route; (4) minding our money by implementing careful, thoughtful spending and fiscal policies; and (5) keeping Honolulu clean and sustainable through impact fees on heavily used public facilities, renewable energy use and adopting climate change mitigation measures.
My focus on rail harkens back to the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who was a steadfast supporter of the transit system when we were both in office. His counsel and tremendous influence on Capitol Hill led to the project’s launch and the federal government’s funding during those early stages.
My insistence on prudent spending policies was shaped by those of former Governor George R. Ari-yoshi, a fiscal conservative who watched government spending and assiduously balanced the state budget year after year. He also supported my desire to be a White House Fellow which led to a fabulous experience with then Vice-President George H. W. Bush This enabled me to make valuable contacts on both sides of the aisle which has been part of my political persona to this very day.
We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. My dream, if elected mayor, is to continue to expand on the legacy of service, dedication and achievement that distinguished the builders of modern Hawai‘i.