CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT: Justin Woodson – Candidate State House 9
By Maui Now Staff
Justin H. Woodson is a candidate for the State House District 9 seat. Woodson is running on the democratic ticket and faces fellow democrat, James “Kimo” Apana for the seat. There are no other party challengers.
Full Name: Justin H. Woodson
Date and location of Birth: October 4, 1976, Topeka, KS
Current residence: Kahului, HI
Occupation: State House Representative / Business Owner
Elected offices held, if any: Current State House Representative, Kahului, Maui Lani, Puʻunēnē, Old Sand Hills
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
Community Involvement: Member, Maui Economic Opportunity, Head Start Budget Sub-Committee Member, 2011; Young Democrats of Hawaii, President, 2006-2008; College Democrats of Hawaii,
State Coordinator, 2007-2008; the Gospel of the Alpha and Omega International, Vice
President, 2008-Present;King’s Cathedral Maui, Children’s Ministry, Volunteer, 2012-
Present; Friends of Maui Waena, Member, 2013-Present; Filipino Chamber of Commerce,
2013-Present; Japanese Cultural Society, Member, 2013-Present
Family status: Married to Stacy-Thea Kuuipoalohalani (Suyat)Woodson; Children: 9-Justice Uhaneokalalani Woodson; 7-Janalise Lloyelle Puuwaialoha Woodson; 6-Jeven Howard Kuukoa Woodson; and 3-Jemery Rose Hoimaikeahi Woodson.
State Legislative Candidate Questionnaire:
1. What is the number one issue facing the district you plan to represent? Why do you feel it warrants special attention and how do you plan to resolve this issue? If you have more than one item, please elaborate.
Answer: While recently visiting members around the community at their homes, affordable housing, public schools, and job opportunity, were almost evenly mentioned as the most important issues. Although there are others, I agree these issues are the most pressing for the communities in State House District 9 at this time.
Individuals and families are finding it increasingly difficult to find and keep their homes. As Vice Chair of the Committee on Housing, we are looking at innovative ways through infrastructure subsidy, the production of smaller homes to significantly reduce the overall cost of purchasing houses, and other creative solutions to help address this issue now.
Our public school system continues to make advances and we want to continue the momentum. We need to do a better job of supporting our teachers if they are doing a good job at supporting our students. Hawaii is the only state to have students demonstrate improvements two years in a row when looking at national testing indicators such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores. As a member of the Finance Committee, we are looking into new ways in which to make the Department of Education (DOE) even more effective and efficient through strategic funding. I also have proposals to increase useful information shared amongst teachers so best practices can be replicated throughout the schools as many changes have taken place in the DOE’s New Strategic Plan. I also would like to introduce proposals to compensate educators more in various ways. This will better ensure that we maintain the high level of quality educators that we currently enjoy and need to keep.
A more diverse economy is needed for greater job opportunity. In the Legislature, working with my fellow Maui colleagues, we were able to bring back $405 Million for capital improvement projects for the Central Maui area; from new airport construction, to school improvements, hospital enhancements, parks, and road repairs, this leads to more jobs for our community. The legislature has also used fresh approaches in providing funding, incubation, and logistical support for small businesses. This type of innovation promotes job growth as well. However, we can continue these endeavors and do more.
2. The HTA is projecting visitor arrivals and expenditures to plateau in 2014. What are some revenue generating ideas you have to stimulate the island economy?
Answer: Our tourism industry is crucially important for our economy to thrive. But, as the Hawaii Tourism Authority has mentioned, visitor arrivals are expected to level off this year. I have had the privilege of working with the film production industry, which is on pace to grow 50% from $400 million to $600 million for State of Hawaii, primarily coming from film production work taking place in Maui County. Using new tax incentives, we are able to bring in new money into Hawaii and provide good paying jobs for our Maui community. These new revenue sources to Maui for our community using this creative new idea to attract film production to Maui is bringing various types of good paying jobs and revenue directly here. I would like to continue these sort initiatives to see how much new revenue we can bring in now.
***Candidate spotlight segments were compiled as a public service to further educate and inform Maui voters about the upcoming primary election on August 9, 2014, and the general election on November 4, 2014. The questionnaires were distributed via mail following the primary election candidate filing deadline for select races affecting Maui County. The responses do not reflect the opinion or position of Maui Now or Pacific Media Group.