LAHAINA - Edward H. Kaahui said Hawaii lawmakers must "engage, listen and commit themselves into serving our community, instead of special interest groups.
"Voters say they are not listening," he added.
The Lahaina resident is running for the Tenth District seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives. He will battle incumbent Rep. Angus McKelvey in the Democratic Primary on Aug. 11. The winner will face Republican Chayne Marten in the Nov. 6 General Election.
Democrat Edward Kaahui is running for the Tenth District House seat.
The first-time candidate said he is running "because my family and friends are tired of my complaining and grumbling as to why things are not getting done, like 30 years of promises to fix the highway to Wailuku.
"With the amount of money generated in the Tenth District for the last 40 years, the Lahaina community has not had their share of tax money by having first-class highways, first-class schools, first-class beach parks and recreational areas, first-class affordable housing; but we do have first-class hotels!"
Talking to people in the community, he feels traffic, jobs and housing are the three top issues in the 2012 elections.
Kaahui said Honoapiilani Highway is congested, and "highways should be completed from Puamana to Maalaea."
Upgraded highways can lead to more jobs in West Maui.
"By working and completing the highways, we will create opportunities to open up the development of communities such as Pulelehua, Kaanapali 2020, Olowalu Town Construction industry will create jobs for carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers, truck drivers and laborers, etc. Other related jobs will be food and entertainment industry," he explained.
Kaahui believes reasonably priced housing is possible if the county, state, federal government, large landowners and developers, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Department of Hawaiian Homelands and Bishop Estate, work together and involve everyone in housing development.
Looking at the Tenth District (Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Maalaea, Kihei), Kaahui feels the state should support agriculture, a hospital and historic preservation in West Maui.
"The state should encourage the growth of agriculture here on the West Side by providing farm lands, agricultural water rates and farm loans for small businesses. They should also provide tax incentives to promote and encourage the growth of the film industry," he said.
"The state should encourage and support the establishment of a hospital in West Maui through private funding. Being that Lahaina is a special place, the first capitol of the Hawaiian government, the first school west of the Rockies and having the first printing press, the state along with businesses in Lahaina should provide funding for the restoration and preservation of these historical sites."
Kaahui said the state can support Maui's economy by completing the highway from Puamana to Wailuku, giving the county its share of the hotel room tax and providing funding to Maui County to support the establishment of beach parks from the Pali to Puamana with restrooms, showers "and safe areas for camping, picnicking, surfing, fishing and leisure for the people of Maui."
Asked to give the state a grade for education, Kaahui said it deserves a B-. He feels the Department of Education should better prepare students to go to work after graduating from high school.
"We have many issues with our public schools involving funding, school curriculum, student meals, student transportation; most importantly, school curriculum. Some high schools should prepare the students for entry into the workforce by having a curriculum that allows them to explore the possibilities of their field of interest. The school should have an internship program with the hotels and other related hospitality industries, including government jobs," he commented.
Kaahui is retired. He graduated from the Kamehameha School for Boys, then earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Maui Community College and Oceanside Community College.
His community involvement includes service in the Lahaina Lions Club, Hawaiian Civic Club, Malama Maunalua, Na Mele O Maui, Napili Canoe Club and the Hawaiian Homes Association.
He feels his "homegrown experience" at school and working in the public sector his entire life will be an asset in the Hawaii Legislature.
"By living in Hawaii, educating my children and grandchildren in Hawaii, gives me an insight into the issues that affect the entire community," Kaahui noted.
He said voters should pick him in the August primary, because he is "committed to serving our community, dedicated to preserving and improving our unique island lifestyle and passionate about listening to and engaging in our community in the multitude of issues facing us today."
"I don't think my opponent is listening or engaging with the people in our community. His loyalty is to the majority of his campaign contributors, who reside on Oahu," Kaahui concluded.