LIHUE — James “Jimmy” Tokioka (D-15, Wailua, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Koloa, Omao) — first elected to the state house in 2006 — is seeking his sixth, two-year term as a state house representative for Kauai.
“For me, it’s always been about representing the island that I love; the people I’ve grown up with; the people who I’ve met throughout the years in office,” Tokioka said.
Tokioka has 20 years experience as a Kauai politician, 10 as a member of the county council and another 10 as a state house representative.
“Because I served on the county council, even constituents (not in my district) contact me about Kauai issues,” he said. “We work with them to try to resolve what the issue might be. We always work with the representatives from that district to come up with solutions.”
Since taking office in the Legislature, Tokioka said he and the Kauai delegation have brought capital improvement projects to the island.
“If you look around Lihue — the concrete roadway on Kapule Highway; the concrete highway projects on Kaumualii leaving lihue towards West Kauai; Nawiliwili Road; a new four-lane bridge by the old Lihue sugar mill area — those projects are in the hundreds of millions of dollars of projects that were brought in from the time I started 10 years ago until now,” Tokioka said.
Another notable bill Tokioka spearheaded was the smoking ban in restaurants.
“(The council and I) were able to work with other council members on the different islands — Oahu county, Maui county and Hawaii island county — to collectively work on smoking bans on restaurants throughout the state of Hawaii,” he said.
The representative introduced a bill last session that requires movie theaters to caption a movie at least twice a week for the hearing impaired and for persons whose second language is English.
“We are the first state in the country that has open mandate for captions in movie theaters,” Tokioka said. “The one thing, though, it’s for theaters that have more than one location on every island — it’s for bigger theaters because the smaller theaters have difficulties in the showing of the movies.”
Moving forward, Tokioka said his door is open to the community.
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to represent Kauai — whether it’s been on the council or the state house,” he said. “I’ve always prided myself on getting back to constituents and non-constituents when they call my office, asking for help.”