We like all the candidates we walked story with, Hashimoto, Hughey, and Wagner, but Justin Hughey came across as the most focused candidate to aggressively push issues that we think are of tremendous importance. Hashimoto is a young, energetic appointee, but we worry that as Joe Souki’s replacement and longtime political insider he represents politics as usual. Mary Wagner proposes good policy, but we are not as convinced that her background with MPD and Maui County’s IT department give her the perspective we hope to see in a state rep.
Hughey, on the other hand, speaks from the background of a working class teacher, HSTA union officer, and recipient of a Na Hale O Maui affordable home. We appreciate that in his interview he was able to specifically indicate the need for dedicated funding streams to ensure that our keiki receive quality education, and bravely discussed taxing luxury investment homes to offset the burdens on residents. Hughey also addressed the teacher shortage by emphasizing a need to retain, train, and provide opportunities for locals who want to teach. Education and opportunities for youth are vital for our future, and we value this opportunity to put a teacher like Justin in the house.
Early voting is available until August 9. Primary Election Day will be on August 11 from 7am to 6pm. Visit elections.hawaii.gov to learn more.