From future leaders, advice for the governor

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The following editorial was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday, December 2, 2018 as part of the "Raise Your Hand" column in the Insights section.

By: EMERGE Conference Attendees

While adults were casting their ballots on Election Day, students from all across the state elected to learn and be empowered. At the EMERGE Student Leadership Conference, over 500 high school students and college freshmen heard from visionary local leaders from all walks of life. Not only did our youth witness what it means to be a leader, but they also discovered how to see beyond themselves for their future and the future of Hawaii. Before departing, students wrote brief letters addressed to the next Governor of Hawaii expressing how they would also take on tomorrow. These letters were hand delivered to the Governor’s office three days later. Here are some of them:



Dear Governor,

Congratulations for being in office. I believe we all hold a great responsibility living in Hawaii, so I will do my job by continuing to be politically active, especially during times of distress. I truly hope you use your position of power for the betterment of this state. Please listen to what we have to say and we will continue to show our utmost respect towards you. Thank you and good luck.

-Kaimele Kop, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama


Dear Governor,

Congratulations! I myself will be a leader by challenging myself to serve the less fortunate in our community. A people I especially sympathize with are the victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse. I will try and do more to make their plights known and assist organizations that work to help survivors of such situations. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope we can better Hawaii together.

-Sarah Tamashiro, Sacred Hearts Academy


Congratulations on being elected! I hope for the best for you and your term. I am a student from Pahoa High and Intermediate, and I will take on tomorrow by instilling an interest in STEM in our youth. I plan on bolstering our job outlooks and giving students something to be passionate about. I would like to extend to you a warm aloha.

-Harvey Tagalicud, Pahoa High School


Dear Governor,

Congratulation on being elected! You worked very hard to get to this point and so, thank you for being a leader and role model! Just like you, I aspire to be a leader. I will take on tomorrow by encouraging my classmates at Roosevelt High to be leaders themselves and to take with pride the spirit of aloha wherever they go. I will also encourage them to dream big and to look for ways to give back to the community here. Again, I would like to say congratulations and thank you for your hard work. I wish you a successful term.

-Sara Kim, Roosevelt High School



Congratulations on becoming the Governor of Hawaii. I hope you will lead us with passion and kindness! As you lead us into tomorrow, I will try to do the same. I will take on tomorrow by pursuing my passions about a greener, more sustainable Hawaii - whether it may be recycling on my own and bringing my own reusable bag or straw or encouraging my school and classmates to do the same. Once again, congratulations, and I know that you will lead Hawaii with the people in your mind and heart.

-Megan Okuma, Leilehua High School


Congratulations New Governor!

I hope that you govern and lead Hawaii to a better and more sustainable future! I will take on tomorrow by inspiring and empowering others to unite to achieve a vision for the better. I hope to influence change in my community on Oahu because I believe that the future is in my generation’s hands. I hope that you also listen and including the youth in your gubernatorial team.

-Stephanie Albaña, St. Andrew’s Schools

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.