CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT: Sam Puletasi – Candidate Lt Governor
By Maui Now Staff
Sam Puletasi is a candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor in the State of Hawaiʻi. Puletasi is among a list of five democratic candidates vying for the seat, and among a total of nine individuals identified as candidates in the race on the 2014 ballot.
The complete list of candidates (in alphabetical order) includes: Elwin P. Ahu (R); Les Chang (I); Clayton Hee (D); Cynthia “Lahi” Marlin (L); Sam Puletasi (D); Miles Shiratori (D); Warner Kimo Sutton (R); Shan S Tsutsui (D); and Mary Zanakis (D).
Full Name: Palasi SAM Puletasi (Name will appear on the ballot as: Sam Puletasi)
Date and location of Birth: May 28, 1962, American Samoa
Current residence: 91-1027 Laulauna St. #20B, Ewa Beach, HI 96706
Occupation: Retired, 18 years of service as undercover special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Custom Enforcement; former National Union steward for American Federation Government Employees; former instructor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, South Carolina; current Editor in Chief for Le Malae Worldwide Media by Albert Ainuʻu; former publisher for Le Lumanaʻi o Samoa and editor/director for Samoan News Papers and Magazine, Taupou Production.
Elected offices held, if any: (none) (Former candidate for 2010 Senate seat District 20 against Senator Will Espero and former candidate for 2012 House of Representatives for District 40 against Bob McDermott.)
Education: 1983-1986 graduate of Chaminade University of Honolulu, B.S. 1983, major in Criminal Justice and Political Science, commissioned at UH Air Force ROTC; Masters of Science at SJSU in Administration of Justice, 1987; graduate student at USD Law School Paralegal Program.
Community Involvement: current regional chairman for the Oʻahu County Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi; current board member for the Hawaiʻi State Medical Commission/Board; currently active community leader and entertainer/emcee for many community events; former vice president and senior senator for college student body government associations and president for many social clubs.
Family status: (blank)
Lieutenant Governor Candidate Questionnaire:
1. What is the number one issue facing Hawaiʻi? Why do you feel it warrants special attention and how do you hope to resolve this issue? If you have more than one item, please elaborate.
Answer: There is one overarching issue that has bearing on most every other issue affecting Hawaiʻi. Like the saying goes: it’s the economy, stupid. The economy affects employment, tax revenues, education, healthcare, crime, traffic congestion, and infrastructure investment. We need a healthy, vibrant, diversified economy in order to thrive as a community. And there are two aspects of the economy in particular that I would focus on as a public servant: the cost of living and economic self-sufficiency and independence. The cost of living is accelerating at a rate that is making it impossible for many of us – especially the younger generation – to remain in the islands and enjoy the opportunities and lifestyles that many of us in the older generations were able to take advantage of. Increasing income disparity and gentrification is driving many into poverty and homelessness. We must address the growing cost of living with living wages and affordable housing. We must also support local agriculture and alternative energy to limit our dependence on imports, otherwise we will remain at the mercy of national and international markets.
2. What do you believe is the biggest potential growth industry that Hawaiʻi could capitalize on and what will you do to facilitate growth of that industry in the state?
Answer: I would not limit my support to one growth industry. I believe we should help nurture all of the growth industries that contribute to diversity like alternative energy, biotech, R & D services, creative arts, farm production and higher education. We should also keep a watchful eye out for emerging industries – especially those that are unhindered by our limited resources and geographical isolation.
***Candidate spotlight segments were compiled as a public service to further educate and inform Maui voters about the upcoming primary election on August 9, 2014, and the general election on November 4, 2014. The questionnaires were distributed via mail following the primary election candidate filing deadline for select races affecting Maui County. The responses do not reflect the opinion or position of Maui Now or Pacific Media Group.