Campaign Corner: We're GenZ And We're Voting for Amemiya - Honolulu Civil Beat


About the Authors

Dyson Chee

Dyson Chee, 18, is a freshman at Kapiolani Community College. He is pursuing a degree in interdisciplinary studies. 

Nikkya Taliaferro

Nikkya Taliaferro is a 17-year-old Moanalua High School student. She is the executive director of Hawai'i for Black Lives, a teen advocacy group protesting racial injustice.

Kawika Pegram

Kawika Pegram, 19, is the executive director of the Hawai‘i Youth Climate Coalition. Pegram is a Waipahu High School graduate and first-year student at American University.


Eighteen years. It’s the number of years a person has to have lived to vote. It’s the average of our three ages.

In the last 18 years, we have witnessed two major recessions, the decimation of our environment and the unjust killing of black and brown people. In that short period of time, our generation has shouldered titanic burdens that will steer the course of our lives.

With this in mind, we take upon us the great responsibility to support candidates who understand the realities of our generation and who have demonstrated their ability to meet the needs of the youth.

Therefore, we support Keith Amemiya for Honolulu Mayor.

One of the most pressing issues of our generation is climate change. Both candidates state on their websites that climate change is an urgent and serious threat to our future. However, after watching and reading various candidate Q&As, debates and forums, it is clear that Rick Blangiardi has not made climate change a priority, but it remains a priority for Amemiya and our generation.

Blangiardi believes natural gas belongs in a 100% renewable energy Hawaii. Amemiya does not believe that natural gas has a future here. He believes in science, and science tells us that natural gas is a fossil fuel.

We need people who understand the urgency and immediacy of climate change, who will take meaningful action starting on day one. For the rising seas and thundering hurricanes will not wait for us to execute an actionable plan. We want a mayor who will dedicate more than two paragraphs on their website towards climate change and sustainability on Oahu.

Even if we were to halt climate change with the snap of our fingers, we cannot afford to live here anymore. Honolulu is our home, the land we are connected to, the place where we grew up  — and one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Every year, thousands of our family members and friends leave for the continent in an attempt to find stable and affordable housing, and we wonder if we will be next to join the slow yet painful exodus.

It is our kuleana to ensure our keiki and our kupuna have a place they can call home, and only Amemiya has made housing for all a part of the agenda. Under his plan, local residents – people who invest, care for and are a part of our community – come first for the housing we all so desperately need. Not tourists or overseas investors.

Mayoral candidates Rick Blangiardi and Keith Amemiya.

You might be tempted to learn what Blangiardi has offered. On his website, Blangiardi has offered nothing nearly as comprehensive as Amemiya’s plan, with only a page dedicated to housing in his Roadmap to Recovery. Housing for all is not mentioned, nor is the local community’s need explicitly prioritized in the housing section.

We want to have a future here, and between the two plans, Amemiya’s plan gives us the most hope – by far.

Finally, the all-too-recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many more have awakened the country (though far too late) to the realities of police brutality in their local communities, Hawai‘i included. Amemiya has demonstrated, on several occasions, a nuanced understanding of the role police play in Honolulu: what they excel at and where there is a need for improvement.

Amemiya understands the exchange of funds necessary to ensure our police keep their salaries, but that we also invest in social programs to pivot our most at-risk away from incarceration. Amemiya is not afraid of new and innovative ideas, whereas Blangiardi, who is endorsed by SHOPO, has demonstrated a disinterest in HPD reform.

Let’s be honest – Amemiya is not charming. He does not look comfortable in front of the camera. If this were a school popularity contest, and we had to choose the “cool kid,” we would be voting for Blangiardi.

But the government is not a school, and educated voters take more into account than first impressions. We want a candidate who is focused on developing detailed plans to ensure that we, the people of Oahu, have safety, protection and stability, because that is exactly what we need during these uncertain times.

We want someone who is bold and transparent enough to create plans that voters can hold them to. No matter who the next mayor is, he will need to hit the ground running. Having detailed plans provides both an invaluable head start and a measuring stick that voters can use to ensure that the mayor is keeping his word.

 

Every campaign season we get tons of emails and commentary from people supporting or opposing particular candidates. Campaign Corner is a forum for healthy — and civil — discussion of candidates and their issues. Endorsements and criticisms are part of a voter’s decision-making process. Here are the ground rules: The column must be written by an identifiable person and accompanied by a head shot and brief bio. The commentary must be original and not published elsewhere. No campaign email blasts. No letter-writing campaigns. Send columns and questions to news@civilbeat.org. The opinions and information expressed in Campaign Corner are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.


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About the Authors

Dyson Chee

Dyson Chee, 18, is a freshman at Kapiolani Community College. He is pursuing a degree in interdisciplinary studies. 

Nikkya Taliaferro

Nikkya Taliaferro is a 17-year-old Moanalua High School student. She is the executive director of Hawai'i for Black Lives, a teen advocacy group protesting racial injustice.

Kawika Pegram

Kawika Pegram, 19, is the executive director of the Hawai‘i Youth Climate Coalition. Pegram is a Waipahu High School graduate and first-year student at American University.


Latest Comments (0)

For over a year, I was saying, "anyone but Caldwell". Then we end up with these two. And now I am saying "anyone but Blangiardi".  With Hanabusa, and red suit Trump flag waving Lingle at his side that is a BIG NO for me. His inconsistencies through this election have been consistent. I don't think he is a people person.  BUT, I like both actually.  Just not as mayor. Blangiardi does remind me of Trump and his supporters reflect that. Which is great if you like that style leadership. I do not. So Amemiya has my vote. He has assured us Caldwell will not be involved in his administration. If he wins, I will be CLOSELY watching to make sure.

seabass · 2 months ago

"...Amemiya is not charming. He does not look comfortable in front of the camera. If this were a school popularity contest, and we had to choose the "cool kid," we would be voting for Blangiardi." lol! You’ll have a lot to learn. Elections are most definitely a popularity context in Hawaii but there is absolutely no way that Blangiardi is the cool kid!! Have you seen Amemiya’s Tik Tok/reels dance vids with his family? He’s definitely trying to win this popularity contest but I want change so I’m voting for Blangiardi. I don’t agree with some of his policies but he is a realist who is not afraid to rock the boat. And boy, does this boat need rocking!

kbaybaby · 2 months ago

So, young people's voices are more important than voices of older people?

StopWastingMoney · 2 months ago

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