To the Members of our Kapolei and Makakilo Community,
Aloha, my name is Kanani Souza and I am your State Representative District 43 candidate. I grew up in Kapolei and my family has resided in the district for over 30 years-- the very pioneers of our community just like many of you who have spent decades in Makakilo and Kapolei.
We moved to Kapolei at the very beginning when the subdivision of Kumu Iki was built. I was an elementary student at the time at Maryknoll Grade School and that was my first experience with the town commute. We moved into our brand new home that was still surrounded mainly by dirt. The only place to shop was at Handy Pantry in Makakilo. No Kapolei Shopping Center existed at the time. We mainly shopped in town for groceries and would haul them home.
Watching the community grow over the last 30 years has been exciting and special to say the least. We are a part of the fabric of Kapolei and our family has grown as the community itself has taken shape. Many of you understand this dynamic because you also experienced watching our community grow and thrive over the years.
I am running for office as State Representative for District 43 because I want to give back to our community that has given so much to me and my 'ohana. As a lifelong resident of Kapolei, I am well-equipped with the knowledge and experience in understanding our community issues, our residents' needs, and how we can collaboratively create positive change for our community.
I feel blessed and humbled to be the only candidate in the District 43 race who grew up in our district and have forged meaningful relationships over the years with our community members.
As I walk door-to-door connecting with our community members and listening to your concerns, I already know many of you. Some even remember my siblings and I riding our bikes near our home or playing sports (soccer, baseball, volleyball, softball) at all of our local parks in the area when we were youngsters, or singing in the church choir at St. Jude Catholic Church in Makakilo.
I have spent my life dedicated to excellence so that I could serve my community and the State of Hawai'i. While at Maryknoll Grade School, I learned the concept of "noblesse oblige"-- "to whom much is given, much is expected." At my University of Southern California commencement, our commencement speaker provided the same sentiment, "in everything you do, be of service to others." Being a public servant for our people is my sole motivation in running for State Representative, District 43. We have seen the corruption and self-serving approach to government from our legislators recently and over the years. It is time to elect individuals who are not career politicians, have a strong sense of ethics, and truly have a heart for public service.
Photo of the Second City of Kapolei from Kapolei.com
OUR STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE
FOR THE PEOPLE
Are you tired of politics as usual in the State of Hawai'i? We have seen time and time again the self-serving interests of our legislators. We can no longer entrust our community and growing families to leaders who care more about their campaign funds and serving special interest groups over being a true public servant for our community members. We need vocal leaders who are not afraid to do the right thing for the people of the State of Hawai'i.
I am running as a Republican to bring balance to our State Legislature. We have the most lopsided legislature in the country, and one-party rule is not conducive to creating healthy dissent and achieving our desperate need for accountability and transparency. One-party rule breeds corruption and lack of transparency, which are dire ongoing issues at the State Capitol.
After going to thousands of doors in our district over the last few months, I am encouraged by the support of our community in my endeavor to serve you. I have learned that our residents are keen and discerning when it comes to electing leaders and engage in a thoughtful process to make informed decisions. The role of a State Representative on the day-to-day deals with district-specific issues, which as the only candidate who grew up here, I understand our community well.
We have one of the most conservative districts in our State, and I have garnered tremendous support over the last few months from our community members. Our community wants CHANGE, someone who will stand up for them in the Hawai'i State Legislature, and not back down from doing the right thing, especially when the stakes are high. This is why I have the support of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
I bring a balanced approach and have been able to work across party lines with individuals who share different ideologies, which is apparent from my previous work history and leadership roles: I was on the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai'i, and have worked for Democrat legislators: (1) the late Representative Diana "Mele" Carroll where I was the Committee Clerk for the Native Hawaiian Caucus and the Co-Committee Clerk for the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, (2) Senator Clarence Nishihara, where I was the Committee Clerk for the Committee on Tourism, and (3) Senator Glenn Wakai, where I was the Committee Clerk for the Committee on Technology and the Arts. My time working at the State Capitol has prepared me with a solid grasp of the practical nature of the legislative process.
My goal is to bring people together. I have always been open-minded and a learner in many regards. I always strive to acquire skillsets and experiences that provide me with new perspectives and ideas. For instance, while in law school at the University of Hawai'i, William S. Richardson School of Law, I was a member of the Hawai'i Innocence Project working on real cases in which new DNA could potentially exonerate incarcerated individuals. I participated in the law school's Small Business Clinic, in which our cohort would help individuals set up businesses in the State of Hawai'i (from trade name and trade mark registration to creating liability forms for businesses that encompassed risk elements).
I was also fortunate to spend a one-year internship working with the Chief Division Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Honolulu Division, Anthony Lang, where I would brief new case law and conduct presentations with Special Agents to keep them up-to-date with new developments in areas such as excessive use of force. I was also selected for a competitive externship with the Honorable David Alan Ezra of the United States District Court after my 1L year, where I wrote memos regarding cases that ranged from complex commercial litigation to a death-penalty case.
One of the highlights of my time in law school was working on the case (originally known as Ah Chong v. McManaman) which increased the foster board payment for Hawai'i foster families. I brought the Plaintiff, Raynette Ah Chong, to the table which was instrumental in the success of the case.
This milestone for foster families was important to me because I grew up with an adopted brother who came from the foster care system and was deemed special needs. He attended Kapolei Elementary and was provided the requisite care and attention he needed in a special education classroom. I was able to experience the challenges along the way for children in his position, and as a result, vowed to strengthen our public school system in Hawai'i, especially for special needs students.
After law school, I worked in the private and public sectors, most notably as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Hawai'i County and the City & County of Honolulu, where I was able to be involved in the prosecution of hundreds of OVUII cases.
For the last four years, I have been blessed to be a Lecturer at the University of Hawai'i, West O'ahu where I teach Business Law to many students in our westside communities. I am a strong advocate of education and providing our local students with opportunities and resources to thrive.
We have an amazing community flourishing with young families, keiki, and kupuna. As a result, our district members are less concerned with party politics and more concerned about voting for the most qualified candidate who most importantly, has a heart for our community and who understands our community because of time spent here with all of you.
When elected, I will answer only to our community members and will never be beholden to special interest groups. We need to create change now and I am up for the task. I humbly ask for your support and your vote in the general election on November 8, 2022. With aloha...
Makani 'olu'olu e kai malie,
We need to create the kind of change at the Hawai'i State Legislature where our communities and families are thriving and are being directly and tangibly affected by positive and solid policies. I will speak up for our community members and push back when necessary. We need more fearless leaders in our State government."