Sandra Combs: Inspired to run by her kids, candidate is all about local rights

KAPAA — Sandra Combs wants to place more decisions in the hands of local government, and is all about “less government and more personal responsibility.”

The 58-year-old Kapaa resident holds a total of seven degrees, including a master’s degree and a PhD in the fields of social science, education and theology. She’s a business owner, currently teaches at the university level online, and has been involved in education for more than 35 years.

Currently, she teaches juniors and seniors at Kapaa High School in the subjects of economics, psychology, participation in democracy, and Hawaii history.

Combs said it was her students and her own children that motivated her to run for District 14 representative because they “need to know that their voice is needed and wanted in our government.”

“I am a first-time candidate,” Combs said. “I am a citizen and a patriot, and I’m not a professional politician — but our government was not designed for or by professionals. It was designed for active participation of all of its citizens, and I am one of them.”

Traffic congestion is definitely on Combs’ radar. These are some of the local issues that need to be met at a local level, but she “is here to support our island’s elected officials to solve our traffic issues.”

“I’m ready to bring proposals to the state as needed,” Combs said. “I do recognize, however, that it is important to use funds appropriately to address traffic congestion.”

Drugs and crime are also high on her priority list and Combs said it’s paramount to get the community involved in helping face those challenges by providing community leadership in the issues.

“The proliferation and availability of drugs on Kauai has led to a drug addition epidemic — especially with our under-40 population,” Combs said. “The challenge is twofold: getting treatment for those already addicted and deterring drug use amongst our young people.”

She plans to tackle the “houselessness problem” by building public and private partnerships and providing workforce housing in both rental and ownership, and said she’s focused on improving and maintaining a good quality of life for everyone on the island.

“We need to ensure that systemic issues are addressed, such as quality education for all children, reasonable taxes for all citizens, safety, and access to medical care — to name a few — are a priority,” Combs said.

Caring for the aina is also very important to Combs, and she’ll be pushing for pesticide use disclosure by the agrochemical companies on the island.

“When given the choice, most people do not wish to be the subject of experiments,” Combs said. “Provide us information so we can give — or not give — our informed consent as to their (agrochemical companies’) research activities.”

She’s also an advocate for appropriate land use and management.

“Much of our island is designated park or agriculture and the building prohibitions and land use in these areas blocks housing initiatives that could help ease our affordable housing crisis,” Combs said.

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