Use the Power of Your Voice and the Power of Your Vote … Elections Matter

Use the Power of Your Voice and the Power of Your Vote … Elections Matter

Now the Primary Elections are over, we can focus on the November 8th General Election when we elect who will lead our County for the next few years to address the critical issues facing our community. If you did not register and vote during the Primary, shame on us. Ever since I was eligible to vote I made sure to exercise my solemn responsibility to cast my vote. Elections matter and there are grave consequences if we don’t vote, and even worse consequences when we vote for the wrong person.

Just look at what happened on January 6, 2021 at our nation’s Capitol, where insurrectionists attacked the U.S. Capitol and our democracy … and our leader of the free world did nothing to protect the safety of our citizens. This is a stark reminder and an important lesson—that elections matter.

Even though the law does not require citizens to vote, voting is an especially important duty of citizens in any democracy. In the action of voting, citizens are participating in the democratic process. Citizens vote for leaders to represent them and to promote ideas that matter to them.

Yes, it is easy to get lost in the media buzz around elections and the candidates. Sometimes we lose sight of what is really important. Elections provide the opportunity to make our collective voices heard and to make sure the issues which affect us and changes we care about are part of the conversation.

This year’s election here on Maui is especially important. We must vote for the right leaders who will address the challenges many of our working families face. For example, many candidates running for office recognize the number one issue facing our residents is the lack of affordable housing—simply put, housing our residents can afford.

There are elected officials who purport to support workforce housing but in several instances vote no to 100 percent affordable housing projects. Don’t judge candidates by their words; judge them by their records. Words are easy. Records tell the truth. Get to know the candidates’ record before you cast your vote, to ensure they are in line with your values and expectations.

There are only a few public officials who consistently support the workforce housing projects for our hardworking families, namely, Council Chair Alice Lee and Councilmembers Tasha Kama and Yuki Lei Sugimura, and the administration’s Department of Housing and Human Concerns. We appreciate and thank them for their steadfast support and continued work to ensure our Maui ‘ohana will have homes they can afford and even build equity they can pass on to their children and grandchildren.

Another issue many candidates for public office believe is tourism is bad for our island. Somehow, they do not seem to realize over 85 percent of our economy is dependent on tourism related employment. Most of our residents depend on the tourism industry for their livelihood. Instead of disparaging tourism, let us support and “right size it” so our residents who work in the visitor industry continue to thrive and remain here at home, rather than leave our island.

It is time to vote in unity and collectively for those who genuinely look after your best interests and who will deliver affordable housing for our families. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

If you haven’t registered to vote—register now and cast your vote in the November 8th General Election. We are at a critical crossroad—the power to make changes for the betterment of our community is in your hands. Use the power of your voice and the power of your vote for the sake of our children.
Magkaisa Tayong Lahat!