JILL ON THE ISSUES

I’ve traveled from Hilo to Hanalei to meet with and listen to people about their hopes, priorities, and concerns for Hawai’i. As a mom of two teenage boys, living in a multi-generational home -- I understand the urgency in your voices. I’m living this along with you, day in and day out. It’s clear that we must act now, and do more, to provide solutions and opportunities for all in Hawai‘i. Your priorities are my priorities for Hawai‘i.

Our communities need improved access to healthcare and mental health services.

This issue particularly impacts our rural communities and the Neighbor Islands. 

COVID-19 highlighted the inequity of healthcare options in these communities, which do not have the same access to healthcare services and providers as urban Honolulu.  In particular, the stress and burdens of living through years of COVID-19 also highlighted the shortage of mental health services.  

Access to care also includes transportation – during my visits across the district, I look at the distance between hospitals and medical facilities, gas stations, and grocery stores.  There are many areas in the Second Congressional District where it may take more than an hour to reach a healthcare facility.  Some individuals and families may not have a car or hesitate to drive long distances due to high gas prices.  

We must urgently act to increase capacity at our rural hospitals and medical facilities and increase the number of doctors and healthcare providers serving these areas. We must look at solutions such as mobile health clinics, increased funding for remote and online counseling, and higher education financial incentives for health professionals serving underserved areas.

This is not just a matter of fairness — it’s about saving lives for all residents living in Hawai‘i.

Aggressive action needs to be taken to address climate change impacts and increase renewable energy production.

Hawaii is in crisis. Accelerated sea-level rise is causing our roads and homes to fall into the ocean. We are experiencing extreme weather patterns and rising ocean temperatures that impact our corals and sea life.

While we do have unique challenges, it is also our island environment that is our strength. Hawaii is uniquely positioned to be a leader in renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower.

We need clean energy to power us in the future, and we also need the positive economic impacts of clean energy jobs. Environmental policy and economic prosperity should go hand in hand.

And with such a significant military presence, we can also benefit from the Biden Administration’s efforts to have the Department of Defense lead in areas of renewable energy, a reduced carbon footprint, and climate resiliency. This is an opportunity to partner at home.

I pledge to seek bold solutions to preserve our environment for our keiki and generations to come. 

Funding quality public education for students of all ages is one of the most valuable investments for the future of Hawai‘i.

For families and children of all ages, I will prioritize supporting universal access to free public education, from early childhood and preschool, community college, four-year universities, and programs for post-secondary workforce training and certifications.

Investing in education early on improves student achievement throughout their educational careers, provides a more level playing field for all students, improves earned incomes, and has long-term societal benefits for all citizens.

Job training and workforce pipelines are vital to growing new industries and good-paying jobs so our children can see a future for themselves in Hawai‘i.  For this reason, providing universal access to free community college and programs for post-secondary workforce training will play a significant role in developing tomorrow’s workforce and economy.

Our democracy thrives when all people have an equal voice in government

I’m the only candidate in this race that has pledged not to accept corporate PAC money, and I strongly support the overturn of Citizens United. Since becoming law, we’ve seen far-reaching negative impacts on our democracy where corporations and wealthy individuals can buy elections with unlimited unregulated spending.

I support several campaign finance reforms at the federal level, including the For the People Act and the DISCLOSE Act, a comprehensive set of anti-corruption, government, voting, and election reforms aimed at improving voting access for individuals and limiting the influence of Big Money in politics, as well as ensuring elected officials are working in the public interest.

I will advocate securing every available federal dollar for Hawai’i. 

As chair of Ways and Means from 2015 to 2017, I oversaw billions in spending at the state level and was proud of my record fighting on behalf of Hawaii families. As a working mom, I sit at my kitchen table and balance our household budget every month, ensuring we save and spend wisely. And during the height of the pandemic, I tracked all of the federal dollars allocated to Hawai‘i and helped develop programs to ensure those funds got to the people that needed them most.  

If elected to Congress, I promise to fight for Hawai‘i’s fair share of federal dollars and work with our state government leaders to ensure that the funds are maximized to support our families, individuals, businesses, and communities. 

We must also ensure that no federal dollar is wasted – a recent study showed that Hawai‘i missed out on approximately $200 million that could have been used to support child nutrition programs.  These funds could have also supported our local agriculture industry’s purchasing more local produce to supply these nutrition programs.

I will put my experience managing budgets, large and small, to work for the people of Hawaii and ensure we explore every opportunity for these funds to make a difference for families struggling to make in Hawai‘i.

I will not have our girls grow up with fewer freedoms than we have or allow their fundamental rights of self-determination to be taken away.

Now that this extremist majority Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, it’s vital to defend women’s reproductive rights across our county. 

I was in Washington D.C. when the news about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade broke. That evening I stood in solidarity and disbelief with hundreds of others in front of the Supreme Court building. I vowed to defend the reproductive rights of women across our county. Reproductive choices are deeply personal and should be made by women, not politicians. 

I’m proud to be a founding member of the Patsy T. Mink Political Action Committee, whose mission is to support and elect pro-choice Hawaiʻi Democratic women. During my 12 years serving in the state senate, I introduced or sponsored more than a dozen bills defending women’s reproductive freedoms and expanding access to contraceptives and healthcare. 

If elected to Congress, I pledge to support the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act to support equal access to abortion care everywhere in the country. I will support all efforts to codify access to abortion care into federal law, fully fund Title X Family Planning Programs, and repeal the Hyde Amendment.  Additionally, I will support legislation to protect women’s most intimate and personal data stored in reproductive health apps and make clear that all Americans have the Constitutional right to travel freely and voluntarily throughout the United States

It’s not a question of if but when another pandemic will occur. We must act now to be prepared.

Like you, I was shocked at how unprepared we were to deal with the pandemic and the swift toll it took on our economy, our communities, and the massive loss of life. We can’t let that happen again.  

The pandemic exposed weaknesses in our supply chain and our ability to act swiftly against mass health threats. We must improve systems to distribute life-saving supplies and be ready to scale quickly. The federal government must invest in refilling the stockpile of PPE, tests, and masks, and we need to continue investing in vaccines and research through the National Institute of Health. 

It shouldn’t take a tragedy for Congress to act on gun control. 

As a mom, my heart breaks that kids in this country aren’t safe in schools, and I am outraged at the plague of gun violence that is taking the lives of our loved ones as they’re grocery shopping, attending church, and going to work, just going about their day. It’s time to end the violence.

I fully support the gun control bill recently passed by the U.S. House, but it doesn’t go far enough. I strongly support nationwide efforts to increase the age of gun ownership to 21, ban assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, mandate criminal background checks on gun purchases, including transfers of ownership, require licensure to own or purchase a gun, addressing the issue of home-made “ghost guns,” and enacting Red Flag Laws that allow family members, co-workers, and law enforcement to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis.

Hawaiʻi has among the strictest gun laws and the lowest levels of gun violence in the nation. During my 12 years in the Hawaiʻi State Senate, I repeatedly voted in support of measures that further strengthened our gun control and firearm permit laws.

While in the Senate, we prohibited the possession, manufacturing, sale, transfer, and importation of bump fire stocks and multi-burst trigger activators, making it a Class C felony. 

We also passed a law requiring the immediate surrender of firearms and ammunition if a person has been disqualified from gun possession for reasons such as mental illness or being admitted to a psychiatric facility because even one day is far too long for a gun to be in the hands of a person who may pose a danger to themselves or others.

As part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, we understood the severe threats to our families, especially in situations of domestic violence.  We consistently introduced bills to strengthen gun control laws and protect women and families.

If elected to Congress, I pledge to continue fighting for safer communities and strengthening innovative gun control legislation

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