Senate candidate Holt says fixing ‘disaster’ that is DOE is first step toward better schools

Rosie Holt of Wailua Homesteads, a Republican candidate for the state Senate seat that effective with this year’s elections is all of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau, pledges to vote to “break up the disaster that is the Hawai’i Department of Education.”

She supports creation of local school boards, “to bring accountability closer to the parents, teachers and students of Kaua’i.”

The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and need to be steered in the right direction by good schools, she feels.

Holt advocates for adopt-a-school, adopt-a-classroom and adopt-a-teacher programs to support public education.

“All the new jobs in the world will mean nothing if our children do not have the education necessary to take advantage of them,” she said.

Public education should focus not just on special-needs children, but on all children, included gifted students.

“Their minds need to be stimulated. You’ve gotta pick up on all that talent,” she said of students who may be gifted in math, English, sports, art, music, or other areas.

“I still think education begins at home,” said Holt, who feels that in some cases state government should step back and let citizens run their own lives.

Holt, who resigned after four years as chair of the island’s Republican party to run for the Senate seat now held by Sen. Jonathan Chun, a Democrat, faces no opposition in the Republican primary election set for Saturday, Sept. 21.

Beginning on Sunday, Sept. 22, the hard work begins, no matter who prevails in the Democratic primary, Chun or County Councilmember Gary Hooser, she said. Neither can be taken lightly, she said.

“Competition is good for the soul.”

Holt wants to continue the presence of a viable, two-party system in Hawai’i and on Kaua’i, one that holds accountable for their actions all elected leaders.

She has a willingness to serve with honesty and integrity, and wants a “change from our current leadership, period. I want to make a difference.”

Candidates, who she thinks should be given handshakes and pats on the back just for their willingness to run, should also be looked at as people first, as opposed to members of one political party or another.

Everybody talks about wanting change, but not many are willing to attempt change through running for elected office, she said.

Each should respect others’ choices, Holt added.

She pledges an honest, open campaign, and will stick to the issues and refrain from personal attacks. Her bottom-line goal is making life better for the people of Kaua’i.

A first-time candidate, she is a state-licensed massage therapist and owner and operator of Rosie’s Therapeutic Service. That business had at one time nine employees and an office in Dynasty Court in Kukui Grove Village West, but Holt closed it down when she got extremely involved in the gubernatorial campaign of Linda Lingle four years ago.

She also worked on the campaigns of the late Tony Kunimura and Mayor Maryanne Kusaka.

A Honolulu native and the wife of Kekaha native and former policeman Ronnie W.K. Holt, Sr., she has a variety of professional experiences in the visitor industry.

Holt feels she is known island-wide for her community-service work, including with the Republican party, Ekahi Ohana Golf Club, Kauai Police Department Women’s Auxiliary, Kauai Senior Centers board, and membership in both the Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce and Kauai Filipino Chamber of Commerce.

On other issues, Holt said she would as senator vote to eliminate the general excise tax on food and medical care, get money released for Kaua’i state highway projects, work to establish affordable-housing initiatives for residents, toil to maintain or establish ocean and mountain public accesses, fight for adequate funding for Kaua’i state parks, and support “prudent” growth that provides jobs and protects the island’s unique environment.

She said she wished Kaua’i had two or three state Senate seats.

Radio personality Ed Ka’ahea is her campaign manager. Lihu’e architect Ron Agor has taken over as Kaua’i Republican party chair.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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