Although he represented District 9 in the Hawaii Legislature for 20 years, Republican Sam Slom lost to Democrat Stanley Chang in 2016.
Slom was out-raised and outspent by a 3-to-1 margin but lost to Chang by just 5% of the vote, or less than 1,500 votes.
He is now running to recapture the seat that runs from Hawaii Kai to Aina Haina, from Waialae-Kahala to Diamond Head.
“What people primarily say is they cannot get in touch with my opponent,” said Slom. “I was always accessible as can be, giving people my home number and home address and meeting with anyone from anywhere in the state.”
The former senator says the issues of traffic, homelessness and cost of living have only worsened since he was in office, and he’s particularly upset about people in East Honolulu leaving the state.
“I still believe in term limits and initiative, referendum and recall, and I have introduced legislation on that,” he said. “But if people want me, they got me. I want to serve.”
Slom, 77, complains that Chang, 36, criticized his age and health during the last campaign. But Slom says he received “a clear bill of health” after his April 2016 quintuple heart bypass.
Asked for his response, Chang said, “I have great respect for Sen. Slom and I wish him all the best. In particular, I hope that he is healthy and I look forward to a spirited exchange of ideas.”
Chang, a former Honolulu City Councilman, said he is proud of his track record in office.
“We still have a number of issues we need to address, including homelessness, the housing shortage and other issues, and I work on this personally every single day.”
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