Sen. Roz Baker to battle two opponents in Tuesday’s general election
WEST MAUI – Sixth District State Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D) faces two challengers – Libertarian Bronson Kaahui and Republican Jared P. DuBois – in Tuesday’s general election.
Baker represents South and West Maui (Makena, Wailea, Kihei, Maalaea, Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili, Kapalua). The term is four years.
The 68-year-old native from Texas has plenty of experience. She’s served the community as senator since 2002 and was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives for ten years (1988-98).
Baker has aspirations for her constituency.
“I want to use my 22 years of legislative experience to continue getting results for the people of the Sixth District and Maui County. I am especially committed to issues that affect the average working person, such as creating more living wage jobs, decent housing and access to healthcare services,” she said.
Baker is organized, committed and knows the ropes.
“My top priorities are to keep construction on track for the new high school in Kihei and fight for much-needed improvements to many Sixth District schools, find ways to diversify and grow the economy, protect our natural resources and support clean energy.”
Communication is her strong suit. She’s responsive and resolute. Her long-term relationship with the district has given her a fine-tuned knowledge and understanding of the community and the ability to identify the leading issues, such as education, energy, healthcare and the economy.
Her educational objectives are specific. She is motivated to “complete construction on the new high school in Kihei; improve the Lahainaluna (High School) boarding program; provide more classroom computers; and build a new elementary school on the West Side.”
“Our goals should be to give our students the best foundation we can; inspire them to continue learning and give them the confidence, the ability to read, compute and think critically. It is important that the DOE (state Department of Education) really enable Hawaii schools to strive for excellence while evaluating performance and instituting measures to help principals lead and teachers teach more effectively.”
DOE backing is paramount; the inventory of needed improvements is expansive.
“I want to see our educational processes streamlined, accountable and collaborative, so the funds can be efficiently and effectively used,” Baker emphasized.
Public school facilities should be maintained as a top order as well, and she suggested a “dedicated DOE repair and maintenance team for Maui District with the funds to timely address projects in all district schools and provide more air-conditioned portables and new buildings on other campuses to alleviate overcrowding, especially at Kamehameha III and Kihei Elementary.”
Transportation is categorized in the top five of her West Maui get-it-done list, including pressing forward with construction of the remaining phases of the Lahaina Bypass; re-igniting “planning for additional lanes around the Pali to Maalaea; and exploring the relocation of Honoapiilani Highway mauka to mitigate erosion, stabilize shoreline and ensure safe traffic flow,” Baker said.
Addressing homelessness and providing senior services and long-term care are part of her community vision.
Additional priorities include stimulating the economy through governmental channels and funding, such as rehabilitating public housing facilities and developing infrastructure projects to create jobs; ensuring the county is paid its equitable share of the transient accommodations tax; maintaining current policies to support renewable energy strategies; supporting the growth of the local technology industry; and offering more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational resources to give Hawaii students the skill and mindset to compete for future careers in the ever-evolving job market.
Baker is asking for your vote.
“For the past 12 years as the Sixth District state senator, I have a demonstrated a strong, proven track record of getting results. As chair of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, I’ve drafted and helped pass important legislation to improve healthcare access, support clean energy and diversify the economy. Most of all, I’ve listened carefully to people’s concerns and worked hard to translate them into positive actions.”
Kihei resident DuBois, 50, said he is running, “because I don’t think voters have real choices anymore.
“Often one-third to two-thirds of the seats in our elections are either uncontested or not seriously contested. This leads to a legislature which can become complacent without needing to worry about being replaced, and ends up doing less and less for the public and more and more for those who give them money and would give them better jobs after leaving office,” he continued.
“Since I said I only intend to serve one term, I would not be fundraising while working for the people of Maui and representing them, ever. I want to work in the State Senate to see how I think the government can work better and in a less corrupt way, and put those ideas and recommendations before the public. And I want to try to get them engaged and give their voices better representation in the State Senate, especially those of ordinary means who are shut out the most now.”
DuBois said key issues and concerns this election season include the high cost of living and resulting problems, with people skipping meals and cutting corners; funding stalls for the Kihei high school and West Maui hospital; and the need for lower cost housing. He supports looking into allowing people to subdivide ohana apartments or main houses to create new alternatives for temporary housing, as well as mobile home parks and more campgrounds to “lessen the red-hot demand for housing” and lower rents.
Within the Sixth District, residents are concerned about pesticides and limiting genetically modified organism (GMO) testing. DuBois thinks these issues should be addressed at the state level, and he supports GMO labeling when possible.
“The primary needs and concerns of those I would represent are about the quality of life and the affordability of living here. They want and deserve better quality and a higher standard of living – and at a more affordable price than the ever-spiraling upward costs of living here these days allows,” he said.
Increasing tourism and supporting the industry, making it easier to run a business and funding the West Maui hospital and Kihei high school are additional priorities.
According to DuBois, the state can better support the economy and local businesses by being more open to their concerns, instead of just focusing on the largest corporations and businesses. He supports holding forums where merchants can speak directly to legislators and propose changes themselves.
The candidate said the state Department of Education can help public schools by hiring more teachers and lowering class sizes, so teachers can offer more individual attention to students. He also supports restoring after-school activities that have been cut and encouraging students to form their own clubs within the schools.
DuBois earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a Certificate in Baltic Studies at the University of Tartu.
He has worked as a clerk for the County of Maui and as a programmer with Scandere.com and Kula Software.
His political experience includes serving a one-semester internship in Sen. John F. Kerry’s Boston office.
DuBois said his biggest concerns are corruption in government and the lack of interest by most Hawaii residents in the process.
Kaahui was profiled in the May 8, 2014 issue of the Lahaina News. “Bronson Kaahui wants to fight for liberty as West Maui’s senator” is archived on the Lahaina News website at www.lahainanews.com.