LIHUE — District 15 incumbent James “Jimmy” Tokioka will return to the state House after winning the seat convincingly, beating his opponent and first-time political candidate Thomas Oi of Lihue.
This is Tokioka’s sixth term representing the areas of Wailua, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Koloa and Omao. Tokioka garnered 57.8 percent of the votes (2,717), while Oi had 33.7 percent (1,585).
“It’s gratifying to know the people of Kauai look at our campaign as someone who is independent, someone who reaches out to the community, who seeks guidance on concerns on major issues,” Tokioka said. “I will continue to do that as we move forward.”
Oi said he thought he did what he needed to do.
“Being a first-time politician, even though I helped other candidates with their campaign, there’s still a lot to learn,” Oi said.
An open and accountable government, Oi said, were among the issues of his platform.
“The people of Kauai, when I talk to them, they wanted change,” he said. “They lost trust in the government. Other times, things get to them after they decide what they do. They need to be more open to the public and know what the public wants.”
Tokioka, who said he visited 3,200 households during his campaign, said he appreciated his opponent and all the candidates running positive campaigns.
“Throughout this campaign, so far, whether it’s the Senate’s race, prosecutor race or my race, the campaigns were clean,” he said. “I respect that about Tommy. We talked about it in the beginning of the campaign and he stuck to his word, and I truly am appreciative of Tommy Oi keeping his word on being positive during this campaign.”
Tokioka said he will continue to work with the county and their projects.
“We will see what the next set of projects that the county has to partner with them on and I will continue to do that because I spent 10 years on the County Council,” he said. “I know the types of struggles they have with the revenues they collect. I don’t foresee that changing.”
Traffic and education are among the issues Tokioka said he’ll continue to work and improve on.
‘We will continue to address the traffic issues and the highway issues. If you look what we’ve done in the last 10 years, it’s something we’ll continue to do with the infrastructure concerns,” he said. “We introduced a bill that will look at people on Kauai getting free education at Kauai Community College.”
With the low voter turnout in Hawaii, Tokioka said he encourages younger voters to be more active.
“Don’t just vote for people because they know the friend or the mother or the family,” he said. “Talk to the candidates, so they can get a sense he or she represents the types of platforms and issues throughout the island the young people are concerned about.”