LIHUE — Victoria “Vickie” Franks said she has wanted to be involved in government since she was a girl.
“It is a desire that I’ve always had,” the 49-year-old Eleele resident said.
But Franks, at her parents’ behest, decided to put those dreams on hold while she was in college.
Since then, Franks married, started a family and went into full-time ministry.
That all changed a few months ago when she received a call from the Hawaii Republican Party, asking her to run for the island’s state House District 16 seat, held by Democrat Daynette “Dee” Morikawa that spans from Koloa to Niihau.
“I knew that’s what I was supposed to do,” Franks said.
Franks, who has lived with her husband, Steve, and three children on Kauai for three years, is a minister at King’s Chapel Kauai in Eleele. She and her family have lived on four Hawaiian Islands — Kauai, Molokai, Maui and Kauai — for the past 25 years.
“I minister to people on a personal basis every day — I talk to them or they call me, and I do the best I can to meet their needs by counseling them or giving them whatever they need,” Franks said. “So, for me, stepping into this role would be just an even bigger degree of ministry — listening to people and seeing that their needs are addressed.”
If elected, Franks said she would like to send more issues, now being taken up by state lawmakers in the Legislature, to a public vote. An example, she said, is same-sex marriage, which was rejected by voters in 1994 and 1998 but approved by state lawmakers as the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act during a special legislative session last year.
“It does seem like decisions are made on behalf of Kauai, and they don’t really take into consideration the peoples’ feelings here,” Franks said. “I think that the entire population needs to be involved in some of the decisions that are made.”
As a former teacher, Franks said she would also like to focus on reforming the state’s public school system by revising the Common Core State Standards method now used by the Hawaii Department of Education.
Franks said she would also work on streamlining some DOE operations, such as creating an individual school board on Kauai.
“A centralized school board doesn’t take into consideration the needs of the kids on each of the islands because each island is different,” Franks said. “The kids don’t need to be lumped into one big group — we face different challenges here than they do on Oahu. I don’t think it’s right for Oahu to make all of the decisions for Kauai.”
Franks will face fellow Republican Vince Flores in the primary election to win the House District 16 spot on the party’s ticket in the general election. Morikawa, meanwhile, will square off against Democrat Thomas “Butch” Kahawai in the primary election to represent their party for the state House seat in the general election.