RUNNING FOR: State Representative, 11th District (South Maui)
CURRENT OCCUPATION: Bartender at the Maui Prince Hotel, Banquet Waiter at the Grand Wailea Hotel
MAUI TIME WEEKLY: Why should people vote for you?
STEPHEN WEST: I am a working family candidate. I work two jobs, and I have two children. I’m pretty in touch with the workingman out there struggling and trying to make a living. From the educational aspect, I’m really up with what needs to happen with the education system. I care about how my children are raised and the families around me. At this point, the bottom line is that I just see nothing being done in our education system. I know what the issues are in relation to our family and the needs that they have.
What do you see as the first priority in land development?
Our community needs a school, and that should be the top priority for South Maui. Not only do we need a school, we need a school that is energy independent—one that will basically be a model for other schools in the state. We have the ability now to put solar in our schools and actually save money instead of spending it. We can then take that money and give it back to our teachers and our students.
As well as that, I recently wrote a resolution for the Democratic Party which pertained to basically sweat equity housing for our residents, getting them a much more realistic chance at buying a home by getting groups like Habitat for Humanity involved and by offering tax incentives to the businesses to be involved in this process as well.
What are your feelings on Hawaiian sovereignty?
I think they definitely deserve recognition, and I truly believe that they need a stronger voice. I definitely believe in the Akaka Bill as a first step, one of many that need to be taken.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Linda Lingle?
I hate to say ouch again, but it hurts. A double ouch.
Boy, oh boy. Damn. Clothing.
I’m strongly against it. If I have to say ouch again, I will say ouch again.
What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do?
The most difficult thing that I’ve ever had to do is being a father and having to work two jobs and juggle the busy life to try and give my children that quality of life. In addition to that would be when my wife and I took on a 13-year-old that had parents that were crystal meth addicts. We really had to nurture her and get her to a point where she felt good about herself and about being a part of something.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
I’m definitely not a scholar, so a lot of times when I go to speak I just speak from the heart, and I end up embarrassing myself. It happens quite frequently.
What was the last book you read?
The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
What is your favorite thing about Maui?
Meeting my wife here, and just being able to spend any free time with her and being with her here, seeing as I’m from Iowa. In addition to that I want to say that I really enjoy Hana when I go there. It has a sort of peacefulness to me and brings me back to center.
If you are elected, what is one thing you will not do?
I can tell you this right now, I will not be a Republican. I will not forget about where I am from, what experiences I’ve had, and I will not forget about the workingman because I am a Democrat. MTW