– The Garden Island is asking the same three questions of every candidate for the House of Representatives, to help residents decide who to vote for on Nov. 8.
Dee Morikawa, incumbent, is the Democratic candidate for District 16, which covers Niihau, Lehua, Koloa and Waimea. She is seeking her fourth two-year term as Kauai representatives. She is running on a platform that includes homelessness, welfare, Medicaid and education.
TGI: What strengths will you bring to the House of Representatives?
Morikawa: After 36 years of county government experience and six years of representing House District 16, I bring a wealth of knowledge, valuable relationships with other legislators, advocate groups, community service organizations and many other entities and individuals.
I chair a committee in Human Services and am also very involved with housing and health issues. I have been selected as the State Representative of the Year, by the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, which is an organization of 180 health care member organizations. This is a very humbling commendation and motivates me to continue doing all I can as a legislator.
TGI: What do you see as the top three priorities for your district?
Morikawa: There are so many priorities.
We need to step up the timetable to cooling our classrooms; make sure KVMH, our state hospital, is financially stable;support housing projects; and implement bridge repair work.
The top two priorities right now are the Hanapepe River Bridge and the Kaumualii Highway bridge near the Maluhia tree tunnel, which are scheduled for replacement/rehabilitation. These two bridges are funded for construction within the next year or two. The Veteran’s Cemetery has also recently received, released funding to begin pavilion renovations.
TGI: As a legislator, what would you do to improve the lives of the people you represent?
Morikawa: As a legislator, it’s a never-ending job to improve the lives of people.
Examples of some critical legislation passed recently are more reimbursements for Medicaid long-term care patients; easier access to durable medical equipment, when someone is released from a hospital; the CARE Act, which assures that caregivers know how to take care of their loved ones, when released from the hospital; funding to help with the county housing project in Eleele; sufficient funding to our state hospitals to assure continued services at Mahelona and KVMH; autism health coverage and many other services.