Education: Hawaii's schools must be modernized and maintained. Our teachers must be paid a professional wage that respects their responsibilities and should be involved in all education policy decisions. Curriculum must be rigorous, benchmarked according to international standards, and inclusive of critical thinking and the arts. Achievement, for both teachers and students, must not be measured by standardized tests alone or high-stakes evaluations, but by team-driven analyses of holistic learning growth. Public education is the penultimate common and must be fully funded.
Human trafficking: Combating modern-day slavery is one of the world's, and Hawaii's, greatest challenges. According to research performed by IMUAlliance and Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, more than 125 "high risk" sex-trafficking establishments exist in our state. Local farms are routinely investigated for exploiting foreign workers. We must strengthen existing human trafficking provisions by passing a comprehensive sex-trafficking statute, ensuring that local penalties align with national standards, and making perpetrators pay for the care their victims demand.
Sustainability: Climate change will cause sea levels to rise by one foot over the next 40 years and one meter by the year 2100, according to experts. Additionally, imported fossil fuels account for over 90 percent of our state's energy supply. Crafting a sustainable future for the islands means immediately addressing both of these problems. Through a combination of solar, wind, wave, and thermal energy technologies, we must make Hawaii's energy portfolio 80 percent renewable by 2050. We should also expand tax credits for fuel efficient vehicles, establish a Clean Energy Bank to subsidize green energy projects, push the EPA to allow states to price carbon, and mandate GMO labeling and pesticide transparency for food products.
Economic equality: Economic inequality echoes political disenfranchisement. People struggling to make ends meet in Hawaii–the state with the nation's highest cost-of-living–are often the people who are chronically underrepresented in local politics. A living wage is a civil right. We must also increase affordable housing development, institute refundable tax credits for low- and moderate-paid workers, streamline small business credit and loan applications, and safeguard the pay, benefits, and pensions of Hawaii's unionized laborers.
Social justice: In 2013, Hawaii legalized same-sex marriage. Yet, GLBT residents continue to face discrimination in employment, education, adoption applications, and everyday life. Native Hawaiians, too, face identity-based struggles, being disproportionately represented in our state's prison population and poverty index. We must work to extend aloha to GLBT persons, indigenous people, and all other suspect classes by promoting rehabilitative justice, passing anti-bullying protections, and giving Hawaii's host population the resources needed for cultural prosperity.
Good government: Government efficiency and accountability, or "good government," is the issue upon which the resolution of all other challanges depends. When government is clouded by ethical ambiguities, fundraising demands, and nonstop lobbying, the public interest gets left behind. To make government processes more accountable to people's interests, we should implement clean elections, increase campaign spending transparency, and tighten ethical regulations for elected officials.