LIHUE — Leadership from the heart for Kauai residents is why Kapaa resident Wally Nishimura has filed to run for Kauai County Council.
“We need someone to go to work for the people every day and that’s what I want to do,” Nishimura said.
One of Nishimura’s goals as a councilmember would be to assist the homeless in finding jobs.
“I feel there’s a lot of homeless that want to work,” he said. “I see them come in (to his office) and ask if we’re hiring.”
He said he’d like to build a bridge between public and private companies to help them get back on their feet.
Nishimura said he sees the struggle that those who make a lower income on Kauai face. In fact, he himself knows what it’s like to have to work several jobs because it’s something he had to do when he was younger.
For that reason, he’s vowed not to raise taxes. Which is why managing the county’s budget in a responsible way is important to him, especially when it comes to the general excise tax increase approved by the council and scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2019.
“I’m running for County Council to hold the county accountable for GET,” Nishimura said.
He said he wants to make sure GET revenue is used for what it’s intended to be used for — to fix Kauai’s roads and traffic issues.
“I will make sure this gets done because I drive through the Kapaa, Wailua area everyday and it (the problem) has been ignored too long,” he said.
Short term, Nishimura said he would like to extend the contraflow hours.
“Traffic going west before and after work is horrible,” he said.
Long term, he said he’d like to create merge lanes onto the bypass and open the emergency road in Kapaa going west.
“I’ll also address the traffic congestion from Hanalei north and bring a solution that will benefit locals and tourists alike,” said Nishimura, who has a degree in business from Columbia Southern University.
And when it comes to the Transient Accommodations Tax, he will stand up for Kauai working to get the most for the community.
“The state recently voted to increase our TAT tax by 1 percent to help fund the Honolulu rail. Regardless of how the state wants to twist it, the project was over budget and completely mismanaged which turned a City and County of Honolulu problem into a state problem. If that 1 percent increase stayed on Kauai to fix our roads we would not have needed to raise the GET. I want Honolulu to pay back the outer islands for the tax increase.”
In government, nothing gets done, he said, so he’s running for office.
“My generation is dealing with this because we’re older now. We need to step in and take care of it,” Nishimura said.