LIHUE — Daynette “Dee” Morikawa (D-16, Niihau, Lehua, Koloa, Waimea) is seeking her fourth, two-year term as a state House representative for Kauai.
“It’s important that my desire to do this is purely for their benefit because all I want to do is do what I can to help the people,” Morikawa said. “I just feel I can make an impact.”
First elected to the state house in 2010, Morikawa left her position as a personnel specialist in the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation to make broader impact on the community.
“We need someone to voice concern to state government,” she said. “We need to initiate policies to get things done and we needed to bring home money and bring improvements to our schools.”
For the past two years, since becoming chair of human services, Morikawa said she’s made strides in policies that affect her district: Homelessness, welfare, Medicaid and education.
“We want to try to get these homeless families into homes — not necessarily shelters. And we want to be able to provide them with services they need, whether it’s mental health services or just to help them get their lives back in order,” she said.
Co-introduced by Morikawa, HB2162 appropriated $12 million to homeless outreach programs and services.
“It provides shelters, provides outreach, permanent housing and all the wrap-around services,” she said. “We haven’t put any mandated restrictions on how the governor uses it.”
Morikawa also secured $10 million to allow more public preschools to accommodate more children, she said.
In the next two years, Morikawa said funding will be provided to improve irrigation ditches, pesticide services and additional school buildings on the Westside.
“We’re going to have a gymnasium for Waimea Middle School — on top of our schools trying to be renovated to address the heat,” she said. “I’ve been working closely to get the Menehune Ditch fixed. We’ve been trying to get that ditch system to get water down to the farmers in Waimea Valley. That’s almost completed.”
Additionally, Morikawa is working with the county to improve the Veterans Cemetery Pavilion.
“Now that they have all the funding they need, we should see construction and improvements of that facility in the next two years,” she said.
Morikawa stresses to the people of Kauai that she is their point of contact.
“If they have issues, problems — whether it’s county, state — they know that they can reach out to me and I would go and find out what needs to be done and get back to them,” she said. “I am truly their representative for government.”