VIDEO: Ramon Kitaichi Madden, House District 10 Candidate Profile, Decision 2010 MauiNOW.com
Ramon Kitaichi Madden, 2010 candidate for State House District 10, Transcript:
Introduction: Aloha West Maui voters. My name is Ramon Kitaichi Madden, and I’m running for the state House to represent West Maui in the upcoming 2010 Primary Election. I live, work and play in West Maui, and I’m a proud parent of a 12-year-old son who attends Lahaina Intermediate. West Maui has seen a lot of changes, but most of them have not been for the better. You talk to the people on the streets–we are faced with an infrastructure that’s over capacity and underfunded. We also have an education system that is not our responsibility–we seem to be giving up control to Oahu, when what we need is local school boards
to fix the problem and allow principals to keep more of the money. We also are experiencing a major problem with our small businesses in West Maui. And West Maui is small business–over 90% of the businesses in West Maui are considered small. They’re in trouble. They’re basically suffocating with too much rules, regulations–so I’d like to lower those and also fines and fees to give small business the room they need to breathe and to blossom for the future.
Lahainaluna boarding program: What do you think about the Lahainaluna boarding program—should it continue to get state funding, or should it look elsewhere to sustain operations? If funding is kept—what areas of education should be cut instead. Answer: I’m a big supporter of the Lahainaluna Boarding Program. I went out and got petitions; I sign waved; I actually appeared on the cover of the Lahaina News with a big poster saying I support the Lahainaluna Boarding Program. Now, every two years it seems that the Lahainaluna Boarding Program is up for funding. When I’m elected to be the state House Representative, I think that one of the most important things I can do is submit a bill to promote the Boarding Program in perpetuity. I’d like to see something that’s like a 24 year plan, and that would mean that whenever they wanted to remove funding, they’d have to remove it. Just like the school, it’s been there even before the state legislature. We shouldn’t be fighting to keep it every two years. We should be working together to improve it. To reiterate, we shouldn’t have to defend our right to have a boarding program–we’ve always had it. Instead, they should come up with a really reason why they should remove it.
Job Growth: Two industries on Maui most impacted by the economic downturn have been the construction and tourism sectors. What do you plan to do at the legislative level to get people in those trades back to work. Answer: There’s a lot of projects on the books for development, and if you take a closer look at the 2030 plan, they’re looking at bringing upwards of 40,000 people just to West Maui (in some of the numbers). I think that that would benefit the construction industry alot, but I think it would really hurt tourism. And I don’t think we can afford to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. So, a lot of these projects are planned on ag land, and I’m a big promoter of diversified agriculture. We need construction jobs, and we also need tourism jobs. I think that if we work together, and focus on community input, that we really can find a win-win and balance the situation. But, because West Maui is over capacity, I would not support any new large development projects without getting the infrastructure that we already deserve.
Economy: What type of legislation do you hope to introduce or support to help stimulate the neighbor island economy. Answer: In West Maui and on Molokai–those places are both traditionally agricultural based, and I think that it would really promote the economy to move towards that again. There’s a lot of barriers and restrictions that stop us from being able to do what we’ve done naturally for years, and most of those come from the legislature. So, what I’d like to do is dissolve a lot of those things that are stopping us from being competitive, such as the re-zonining of agricultural lands, the movement of water, all these things are part of our constitutional rights–(and part of the legislature) and it’s up to the legislature to defend those (rights). Like I said, traditionally, we’ve been an agriculture-based economy, but also a business-based economy. I think that we can move back towards that–where business and agriculture can work together to be beneficial to all of us. We should be the Salad Bowl of the Pacific–West Maui and Molokai working together–instead, we import nearly 90% of our food. I can’t say that the legislature is helping the situation. As a matter of fact, I think they’re stalling–that they’re more of the problem, and the reason why we don’t have that now.
Honoapiilani Hwy:There are currently widening and realignment projects taking place on the Honoapiilani Highway but they do not address the immediate concern of traffic relief when there is a fatal traffic accident or a fire forces the extended closure of the road. What alternatives do you envision to alleviate infrastructure concerns now? Answer: I’ve been a supporter of the Lahaina Bypass for a while and I’ve looked at the plan. The plan is a good plan. Unfortunately, the way that it seems to be progressing, it’s all dependent on the Highway Road and Modernization Act passing. That basically means that–In the state of Hawaii we pay some of the highest gas taxes in the nation. On Maui we pay 52 cents per gallon extra for every gallon of gas that we pump. Now, that money is supposed to be allocated to finishing our roads, and the real tragedy of that is that not all of the money that was allocated for the roads was used for that. Instead, it was basically raided into the legislature’s general slush fund. Now that we want to do these big highway improvements, I believe our Highway Road and Modernization Act is a $4 billion project–$4.17 billion–coming from Oahu, where they’ve melded all of the projects together that are overdue. They intend to pay for this, now, with future tax increases. So basically, selling our future out, to pay for something now that we should already deserve. I believe that we can make these things happen and prioritize these projects. I’ll break them up into smaller projects, and not one giant lump-sum. That’s specifically because (the legislature) did have the money, and decided to do something else with it. So the legislature–it should be their responsibility to figure out how to get that money back without raising taxes.
Closing thoughts: Once again, my name is Ramon Kitaichi Madden. My campaign slogan is “Don’t get mad, get Madden.” When I ran in the last campaign, I focused mostly on the problems facing West Maui. This year, we’re focusing on solutions to the problems. I believe that the greatest resource on Maui is the people of West Maui, and I realize that there’s lots of problems and lots of things–the state House is expected to come up with solutions for them. My plan is to look towards solutions in the community, and allow the community to come up with organic solutions instead of top-down solutions coming from Oahu. We need to focus on home-rule, and what’s best for West Maui first.
As far as other things that we haven’t mentioned so far, I’d really like to take the time to talk about the doctor shortage that’s occurring on Maui. Because, if we continue to keep losing doctors to the mainland, then, there will be less care for the people that need it. I think that the doctor shortage has already reached emergency levels. The problem with this is very simple. It’s that the medical malpractice insurance is much cheaper to get on the mainland–that means that to do business in Hawaii, a doctor is losing money every day that they are in business. There’s a real easy way to fix that, and that’s a punitive cap on damages–and that can only be done by the state legislature. We need to do that–it’s called tort reform. It’s been tried before, and I believe that we need to keep trying until we get this to happen. Because that’s the only way that we’re going to be competitive in the state of Hawaii–not only to keep the doctors that we have, but encourage other doctors to come over.
In closing, I’d like to thank everybody once again for supporting me in the last election. I received 2,000 votes, and I knocked on 2,000 doors. We’re trying a lot harder this year, and I believe that we can win it. So please tell your family and friends in West Maui, don’t get mad, get Madden for state House. Mahalo.