Public policy goals for 2022 – Your thoughts?

It goes without saying that if we don’t set goals, we are sure not to achieve them.

With that in mind, here are 13 public policy goals for your consideration.

* Term limits for state legislators
* Passage of true living wage legislation
* Closing of Red Hill on Oʻahu and reevaluation of military impacts statewide
* Repeal HB499/Act 236 – Relating to lease extensions on public land.
* Criminal justice/Cash Bail reform
* Leadership on climate change
* Increased public funding of state and county elections
* Legalizing the responsible adult use of cannabis
* Affordable housing for ALL local residents
* Food and energy self-sufficiency
* Protection of our streams, coastlines, and mountains
* Ensure Hawai’i teachers are the highest paid, most qualified, and best in the world
* A tax structure that protects local residents and requires offshore investors and the wealthy – to pay their fair share.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s not really.

None of these goals are radical, or ground-breaking. There are models already in place elsewhere – we just need the political will and leadership to make it happen. This should be a slam dunk for a legislature dominated by Democrats such as exists here in Hawai’i.

Term limits would need to be approved by voters but must be put on the ballot by the legislature. 15 states including California presently have legislative term limits.

18 states have legalized the responsible adult use of cannabis.

23 other states have a higher minimum wage.

If a majority of our legislative leaders and the congressional delegation were willing to stand with the public at the gates of Pearl Harbor (either literally or figuratively) until the Navy agreed, you can be assured Red Hill would be closed tomorrow.

There has never been a thorough evaluation of the military’s collective impact in Hawai’i. Hawai’i residents deserve to know what those impacts are, and they deserve a say in whether or not additional future expansion is needed or wanted.

Affordable housing, food and energy self-sufficiency, and protection of our natural environment require a long-term commitment, solid planning, and eternal vigilance.

Attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers is the single most important thing we can do to ensure the positive development of our children.

Tax fairness can be achieved literally with the stroke of a pen. In past legislative sessions numerous proposals were put forth and passed, but then vetoed by the Governor. Without exaggeration 100’s of millions of dollars are being left on the table each year.

Hawai’i is flush with cash and just days ago Governor Ige announced his intention to put a billion dollars into the state’s “rainy day fund”.

Yes, that’s correct. We have a billion dollars extra on hand now and hundreds of millions more each year we are missing out on.

We have the money, but just lack the political leadership to spend it where it needs to be spent – paying teachers more and building more affordable housing would be a good place to start.

Citizen involvement is a prerequisite of political will. Without active citizen participation, the politicians are left only with the voice of big money and big business.

Please. Trust me on this one. Make two calls and send two emails. One to your Representative and another to your Senator.

Share with them your thoughts, your goals, and your expectations. You can find out who they are and their contact information by entering your address at

If you have more time and energy, please also contact ALL Representatives and ALL Senators.

The legislative session opens on January 19th and adjourns May 5, sine die.

On March 1st candidate filing opens and on June 7th it closes for those running for election in the August 13 primary election. Serious candidates of course will have already begun their campaigns by now or will be starting very soon.

Please get involved. Take ownership of your government. Take action. It’s important.

Gary Hooser
* Please follow me on Twitter! @garyhooser

**Mahalo to all for your support of Sergio Alcubilla for Congress and for the Pono Hawai’i Initiative. Because of your help, both made their year-end fundraising goals! More to follow…If you are curious as to Why I am supporting Sergio Alcubilla for Congress over Ed Case – this blog piece I wrote recently pretty much explains it.

***Final note – In the coming days and weeks, I will begin featuring candidates running for election in 2022 – statewide. My focus initially will be focusing on “new” candidates (non-incumbents). Later, I will shift to highlighting those incumbents now in office who share the core values of putting people and the planet above corporate profits, AND whose actions and votes while serving demonstrate that.

Here’s to a great 2022!

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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3 Responses to Public policy goals for 2022 – Your thoughts?

  1. Burt Furuta says:

    “Attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers” puts the emphasis in the wrong place–on the personal qualities of the teachers. The emphasis really needs to be on 1) teacher training and 2) the school environment being supportive of teachers’ professional development.

    On the first point, Deborah Ball, the Dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan, argues that the number of teachers needed is so large, we need to train “ordinary” people in the practice of teaching (specific high leverage practices) and content knowledge for teaching (which is different from the knowledge needed to solve problems or take a test). Most teacher education programs produce graduates who are not prepared to teach. Programs across the country vary greatly in quality and in general do not train teachers in the actual practice of teaching. We need a national standard that is practice-based and produces successful teachers who are committed to the profession.,content.%20Teachers%20strategically%20choose%20and%20use…%20More%20

    On the second point, here is a paragraph on Finnish teachers, often regarded as the best in the world:
    “In Finland, teaching is regarded as a team sport built on teacher collaboration. Teachers are members of professional teams that share the same goals and purposes. Most schools in Finland have both physical space and time for teachers to work together within every school day. School improvement and professional development focus on enhancing personal work and organizational performance and they normally have strong emphasis on teamwork, collaboration with teachers and schools, and shared leadership. Enhancing social capital is as important as improving human capital in Finnish schools.”

  2. Burt Furuta says:

    Professor Maia Cucchiara has an opinion piece in the New York Times on why American public education was so vulnerable to the pandemic. Here is a paragraph:
    “First, Americans fail to take the work of teachers seriously. This manifests in teachers’ low salaries compared with other professions, of course, but also in the requirements for entering and remaining in the profession. Compared with teachers in higher-performing countries (such as Finland, Singapore and Canada), teachers in the United States receive less rigorous training before entering the classroom and are less likely to participate in high-quality, sustained professional development throughout their careers.”

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