I first got to know Jill Tokuda when she served on the state Senate Education Committee during the 2007 legislative session. At the time, I was assistant superintendent for school facilities and support services for the Hawaii Department of Education.

She was a fast and eager learner, always inquisitive, always courteous, and always professional. She later went on to chair that committee, then the Ways and Means Committee, and finally the Senate Labor Committee.

These leadership responsibilities have given her deep exposure to, and considerable insight into, the most pressing local and statewide issues facing our island communities.

Lieutenant Governor Candidate Jill Tokuda Dem Party Convention Kona.
Lieutenant governor candidate Jill Tokuda at the recent Democratic Party state convention in Kona. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

After I retired from the DOE, I became involved in the effort to enact an earned income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. It was a program that began in 1975 at the federal level that has been strongly supported and expanded over the years by both parties in Congress.

Jill Tokuda, as chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, listened carefully to the arguments, both pro and con, for instituting an earned income tax credit. She strongly supported the legislation and in 2017, the bill passed into law thanks in large part to her leadership.

Hawaii deserves a public official like Jill who will listen to multiple perspectives, thoughtfully consider all sides of a debate, and act.

Hawaii deserves a public official like Jill who will listen to multiple perspectives.

Politics is the art of the possible, and we need leaders who realize that while perfection is the goal, moving toward that goal with something that is not perfect is better than not moving at all.

Actress and author Shirley MacLaine cautioned us never to trust a man when he’s drunk, in love, or running for office. Fortunately for us, we already have 11 years of Jill’s constructive and productive leadership to know that she will work collaboratively for the continuous improvement of our community.

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