Tupola Will Help Raise Our Quality of Life

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The following editorial was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday, November 4, 2018 as part of the "Raise Your Hand" column in the Insights section.

By: Evan Gates and Kana’i Kapele
Kamehameha Schools Kapalama, Class of 2019

According to the U.S Census Bureau, as of 2017, 13,537 people have left Hawai’i for the mainland because of the dramatic changes to their living conditions. Our island home is slowly becoming a distant, unattainable dream. Each year that we wait, each time we settle for incompetency, we are losing precious hope in the future. Representative Andria Tupola is determined to make vital changes to the living conditions of the local people in Hawai’i by focusing on housing, education, and employment .

Homelessness is pervasive in Hawai’i. We consistently have the top homelessness rate in the nation. The Ige administration has attempted a central, top-down strategy based that has failed to address the needs of the homeless community. Mrs. Tupola understands that homelessness is a different issue in every community - the needs of the homeless in Waiʻanae is vastly different than the needs of those on Maui.. By bringing in regional experts who know their areas better than any governor ever could, Mrs. Tupola will address the specific needs of each community. Additionally, she aims to decrease the cost of living by supporting local developers and increasing access to Hawaiian Home Lands. Her solution to increase reporting of trust land management, maximize funding from federal grants, and improve financial literacy education will bring the much needed change that is sought by Hawai’i families.  

Education and sufficient funding are imperative because together they allow people to obtain the life skills and knowledge necessary to become successful citizens. However, the DOE reported that public schools receive $12,855 per-pupil and charter schools receive $7,323 per-pupil. Unfair distribution of funding affects Hawai’i youth as they are forced to learn in settings not only unsuitable for learning but downright dangerous. Teachers are responsible for students’ success, yet the current administration has continued to mistreat them. It is no coincidence that the HSTA has felt it necessary to push for a Constitutional amendment in order to secure their proper funding; the current government has failed them. Many teachers are moving out of the state because their salary is not suitable with the cost of living. The Ige administration has proved that they cannot be trusted to support our teachers. Mrs. Tupola strives to secure equal funding for public schools, support teachers more effectively, and properly assess resources and facilities. She introduced HB 1369, a measure that would create a council composed of educators to give input on policy, and HB 2621, which increased education funding for local universities.

Lastly, Hawaiʻi has a low unemployment rate, but problems hide below the surface. Forbes ranked Hawaii  as the worst state to start a new business. In addition, Hawaiʻi lacks business resources and is limited to capital grants and local partnerships. Small businesses serve as a means for local families to achieve financial safety, yet the Ige administration has created an environment toxic to those who wish to contribute to the economy. Mrs. Tupola intends to decrease the corporate tax rate, increase opportunities for grants and local partnerships in order to aid startup businesses, and identify employment gaps to allow local businesses to remain in Hawaiʻi. Governor Ige has attacked these plans for favoring developers, but he fails to realize that these changes support small business owners as well.

Mrs. Tupola has been our state house district representative for the past four years. From leading community cleanups to painting lockers, we are personal witnesses of the immense impact and change that she has done in our community alone. Her campaign will decide whether Hawaiʻi will always be a home for the local people to stay.

Ige's Efforts Have Improved Our Schools

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The following editorial was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday, November 4, 2018 as part of the "Raise Your Hand" column in the Insights section.

By: Ian Eshelman
Mililani High School, Class of 2019

Public education is a core component of making today’s society function. Without a strong public education system, our youth would be hard-pressed to learn and grow, creating a bleak future for everyone. Therefore, the need to dedicate ourselves to improving public schooling and by proxy, our future, is of utmost importance. Wanting a brighter future for all of us, our governor, David Ige, has been taking steps towards creating better public school environments and is thus deserving of another term. I am confident that he will continue to enact change that will positively affect Hawaii, especially our youth.

Currently, Governor Ige has cooled over 1,300 classrooms, providing more students with a healthy learning environment while still minimizing costs for the schools themselves. His initiative is designed to mitigate the heat in classrooms as efficiently as possible, allowing schools to save on electricity bills and put that money into educational programs. Having cooled classrooms allows students to focus on their studies instead of being overheated and sluggish. It also makes crowded classrooms much easier to teach and learn in by reducing the effects of having so many people in a small area.

As for the curriculum provided in schools, Ige has been a strong supporter of the dual credit program. This program allows high school students to take college level courses and earn credit at both the high school and college level for free. By taking dual credit courses, students are able to accelerate their college careers while reducing the amount of courses that they would have to pay for in college. Governor Ige also created “Hawaii’s Promise” which offers state assistance to local, low-income community college students to help pay for tuition, books, supplies and transportation costs. By reducing the costs of college, many more students that would never be able to afford college are now able to complete higher education.   

Extracurricular activities comprise much of a student’s high school career, and Ige has provided many opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom. Specifically, Ige has been advocating for students to get more involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. He has created competitions such as the Hack-a-thon and the Agathon, competitions focused on getting students working with companies to create products. These competitions give students an entry to the working world by both showing them how the design and invention of a product works, and giving them professional contacts who work in the industry.

Voting is a powerful right that we all should exercise.  I encourage everyone to take the time to vote by absentee, walk-in, or on November 6th. If I was old enough, I would cast my vote for Governor Ige. He cares deeply about the young people of Hawaii. The Governor is a strong leader focused on developing an innovation economy where students like myself can look towards robust employment opportunities in the future. His leadership will allow young people to stay in Hawaii, contribute to our communities and raise our future families for years to come.