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CREATING CHANGE ON IMPORTANT ISSUES

Chris is a different kind of leader who doesn’t just talk about change, he actually makes it happen. Chris has consistently put the interests of people first while tackling difficult issues, taking on special interests, and challenging status quo politics in Hawaii. He has successfully worked across the aisle leading bipartisan coalitions, and passed dozens of bills to address Hawaii’s pressing challenges.

 

Chris has been the recipient of multiple national awards and has been recognized by both President Barack Obama and Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his work. But the only support that matters, Chris says, comes from the people in our community and most of all his younger niece and our next generation who will inherit the Hawaii we leave behind.

 
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SETTING POLITICS ASIDE TO DO THE RIGHT THING

 

Despite immense pressure from special interests or the powers that be, Chris has never been afraid to stand up to do the right thing. 

 

Standing up to chemical companies

When residents began fighting for their health and safety as industrial agriculture companies sprayed toxic pesticides near schools, communities, and watersheds, Chris led public hearings and questioned officials about the lack of meaningful oversight. In 2018 Chris negotiated a deal to overcome strong opposition by pesticide companies and made Hawaii the first state to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, and establish 100-foot pesticide buffer zones around all public schools. The following year California, Oregon, New York and Connecticut introduced similar legislation following Hawaii’s success. This was the subject of a 2019 documentary "Poisoning Paradise" produced by Pierce Brosnan and directed by Keely Shaye Brosnan

 

Fighting mainland utilities exploiting local residents

When a mainland corporation pushed a $4.3 billion takeover of Hawaii’s utilities that would raise electric bills and hurt local consumers, Chris built a bipartisan coalition and led the opposition, passing legislation against the acquisition and successfully fighting back against a $20million corporate PR campaign to defeat the takeover. In 2017 Chris authored a first-of-its-kind bill to ensure utilities reduce rates and better serve the interests of consumers. Known as the Hawaii Ratepayer Protection Act, it directly tied electric utility earnings to a utility's achievement on performance metrics such as customer satisfaction, lowering electric rates, progress on renewable energy, and interconnection of customers’ home solar. The Hawaii Ratepayer Protection Act passed in 2018 as Senate Bill 2939 and was signed into law as     Act 5. 

 

Standing up for LGBT families

In 2013 Chris stepped up to help lead the campaign to protect the civil rights of countless local families by passing marriage equality in Hawaii. Despite receiving a death threat for his role as a spokesperson for the campaign, he fought on to help end discrimination against LGBT families and made Hawaii the 15th state to pass marriage equality, allowing local citizens the freedom to marry the person they love.

Taking on the fossil fuel lobby

When utilities began blocking startup solar companies from serving local families, endangering thousands of local jobs and holding families hostage to high utility bills, Chris convened public hearings and passed a law that directed the utility to let more consumers take advantage of solar energy. Chris was honored to be named a national “Solar Champion” for this work. Chris then took on the high costs of the fossil fuel industry and passed a groundbreaking law making Hawaii the first state to require all electricity to come from cheaper 100% renewable energy. Progress reducing Hawaii’s dependence on costly fossil fuels has already saved local residents half a billion dollars and lowered Oahu’s electric rates by 20 percent in recent years.

 

Fighting to protect Hawaii’s critical habitat

Senator Brian Schatz proposed the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to create the world's largest marine protected area encompassing the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and surrounding waters. The industrial fishing industry strongly opposed protecting the area, arguing that it would decrease their catch. Several former Hawaii Governors and a former U.S. Senator joined a rally in opposition to the expansion. In spite of the heavy industry and political opposition, Chris led grassroots efforts to coordinate organizations and students across the state to protect this incredible resource in perpetuity. In a commentary published in The Hill, Chris argued, "The claim that marine monuments kill jobs and reduce fish catch is not supported by logic or scientific data." In 2016 Chris joined President Barack Obama as he signed the order making the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument the world's largest marine protected area. The following year the fishing industry reported having the best year it had ever had.

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REDUCING THE COST OF LIVING AND BUILDING A JUST ECONOMY

Hawaii’s growing cost of living and economic inequality must be addressed or our next generation will be unable to raise their own families here.

 

Financial security for all families in the future

Taking on a rising cost of living and growing income inequality, Chris passed legislation making Hawaii the first state to commit to ensuring basic financial security for all families. With half of all local families unable to afford basic food, shelter, and healthcare, this effort puts all options on the table to consider new ideas such as reducing taxes on food or medicine, replacing subsidies for big business with guaranteed stimulus income for local families, or other innovative ways to eliminate poverty and ensure increasing automation doesn’t just kill jobs, but benefits everyone.

 

Expanding help for local families today

For many years Chris fought hard and introduced legislation to establish a state earned income tax credit (EITC) to benefit working families and allow paid family leave to care for siblings. An EITC puts cash directly into the pockets of working families. Chris helped the legislature successfully adopt both new policies in 2017.

Protecting workers from exploitation

To boost local wages and prevent workers being held hostage by shady employers, Chris passed a law preventing tech corporations from forcing employees to sign non-compete agreements that prevent workers from seeking higher paying jobs elsewhere. A study recently found the new law increased mobility for workers and resulted in wage increases of four percent.

 

Lowering the cost of living

Chris’ successful efforts passing numerous bills (See Climate and Energy) to push utilities to expand cheaper solar and reduce Hawaii’s reliance on costly imported fossil fuels has allowed families with solar energy to nearly eliminate their electric bills, but more importantly has reduced electric rates for all families, including those who don’t have solar. As a result of progress toward 100 percent renewable energy, electric rates on Oahu have fallen by 20 percent in recent years as cheaper renewable projects replace expensive fossil fuels. This has contributed to half a billion dollars in savings and a lower cost of living for local residents.

 

Reducing the cost of government services

The Department of Education and the University of Hawaii will spend about $2 billion on electric bills over the next two decades. To lower cost to taxpayers and reduce student tuition increases, Chris passed bills directing all public schools and universities to produce their own cheaper renewable energy, In 2020 the first UH campus on Oahu achieved this goal. Leeward Community College's efforts will save the UH system $269,000 in energy and operational costs this year and $8.4million in operating costs over the next 20 years. Chris then passed legislation expanding plans to reduce energy costs to all State departments and facilities. 

 
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HOLDING SPECIAL INTERESTS ACCOUNTABLE

Chris has never been afraid to hold special interests accountable for their actions.

 

Molasses spill

When a massive spill in Honolulu Harbor wiped out nearly all marine life, Chris helped lead the effort to ensure negligent regulators and shipping companies cleaned up the mess, restored marine life, and took action to prevent it from happening again. 

Red Hill fuel leak

After jet fuel began leaking from the Navy’s massive underground storage tanks into the public water supply, Chris helped push the Navy toward a fix and passed a law ensuring public oversight of the recovery process, and continues to fight for a permanent solution.

Saving solar

When utilities began blocking consumers from installing solar panels, Chris convened public hearings and passed a law that directed the utility to let more consumers take advantage of solar energy. Chris was named a national “Solar Champion” for this work.

 

Violating Privacy

When it was revealed that Verizon, AT&T, and other service providers have been selling people’s personal information and real-time cell phone GPS locations to third party companies without consent, Chris passed legislation to investigate and take on this egregious violation of personal privacy, detailing the risk to local residents in a lengthy report. He also passed a bill preventing cell phone locations from being shared without people’s consent, though after lobbying by the telecom industry, the Governor unfortunately vetoed the bill.

 

Predatory Gaming

Chris was the first elected official in the country to raise concerns about the $40 Billion gaming industry targeting underage children to gamble real money in video games, through hidden psychologically addictive gambling mechanisms. The Church of England called it “putting profit ahead of children’s lives.” Chris convened public hearings and organized elected officials around the country which led to a federal investigative hearing. He then passed the nation’s first legislation establishing an oversight task force to monitor these predatory practices and protect families.

 
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ADDRESSING CLEAN ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Hawaii is already facing eroding beaches, a diminishing fresh water supply, and growing hurricane frequency as result of our changing climate. As a first step, in 2015 Chris passed a groundbreaking law making Hawaii the first state to mandate 100% renewable electricity by 2045, and progress switching to cheaper renewables has already saved Hawaii over a half a billion dollars and reduced electric rates in Honolulu by 20%. Chris was honored to be named a national “Solar Champion” for this work. 

 

Later, Chris wrote and passed another law which made Hawaii the first state to commit to economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2045, and passed a law directing the state to eliminate fossil fuels for all ground transportation and reduce fuel costs for local drivers. He also authored legislation that established Hawaii’s Commitment to the Aloha+ Challenge, which brings Hawaii together with other Pacific Island nations to collaborate and jointly tackle climate and sustainability issues in our respective island communities.

When utilities began blocking consumers from installing solar panels, Chris convened public hearings and passed a law that directed the utility to let more consumers take advantage of solar energy. He was also named national “Best Policymaker” by the US Green Building Council Center for Green Schools for two laws he passed making Hawaii the first state to direct all public schools and universities to produce 100% of their own power from renewables by 2035. In 2020 the first UH campus on Oahu achieved this goal. Leeward Community College in Pearl City announced that it has achieved our net-zero target and has already generated 97% of its energy from solar systems. It is one of the first net-zero campuses in the United States. Leeward Community College's efforts will save the UH system $269,000 in energy and operational costs this year and $8.4million in operating costs over the next 20 years.

 

Chris also passed a law directing the creation of “microgrids” across the islands to make our electric grid more resilient to storms and lower costs compared to traditional centralized powerplants powering a giant electric grid.

 

Chris funded an analysis to look at converting Hawaii’s investor-owned utilities into locally owned cooperatives, similar to the Kauai Island Utility Coop to ensure our community local control of our energy. In the meantime, he also authored a first-of-its-kind bill to ensure utilities better serve the interests of consumers and achieve carbon reduction goals. Known as the Hawaii Ratepayer Protection Act, it directly tied electric utility earnings to a utility's achievement on performance metrics such as customer satisfaction, lowering electric rates, progress on renewable energy, and interconnection of customers’ home solar. The Hawaii Ratepayer Protection Act passed in 2018 as Senate Bill 2939 and was signed into law as Act 5. 

 

Sea level rise and impacts of global warming are already impacting Hawaii and our economy. Action must be taken not only because it will help boost the local economy, but more importantly because it is the morally right thing to do for our next generation. Chris authored the Hawaii Climate Adaptation Initiative directing all levels of government to work together to address sea level rise and prepare for these coming changes, which resulted in the highest-resolution study of sea level rise of any place on the planet, which found over $19 billion in coastal roads and homes across the state are at risk of inundation. Chris then passed a law requiring all environmental impact statements for shoreline projects to consider sea level rise to ensure future projects are built to withstand higher waves and storm surges and protect families and taxpayer-funded infrastructure along the coast.

 

He also passed a law establishing a process to allow local farmers to receive carbon credits and be paid for sequestering carbon to reduce Hawaii’s greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Chris has been working with leaders around the country and passed a resolution calling on other states to follow Hawaii’s efforts to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy which have saved consumers millions, created thousands of jobs, and benefited our economy.

 
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DIVERSIFYING OUR ECONOMY AND CREATING NEW JOBS

Chris has been successful helping to seed and build new economic drivers and creating new jobs that diversify our economy beyond tourism. Not only does this include replacing the $8 billion in imported food and energy with locally sourced sustainable alternatives as part of a circular economy, but it also means seeding new industries and jobs as well.

 

21st Century Agriculture

Hawaii imports nearly 80 percent of our food. Growing food locally instead of importing it can keep over a billion dollars in our local economy and transform old plantation agriculture into a thriving network of small farms producing local food, creating sustainable jobs for our next generation. A graduate of Class 13 of the Hawaii Agricultural Leadership Program, Chris worked with local farmers to write and pass the nation’s first tax credits to help farmers with up to $50,000 in assistance to grow local organic food. He also passed bills creating a grant program to subsidize the cost for farmers to acquire fresh compost, bills to help farmers reduce their cost of energy, programs to create compost and food production at public schools, and legislation to help increase the market for local produce. Chris secured $40,000 to help establish the Waimanalo Coop, creating a food hub for local farmers to distribute food to our community. And, he secured millions to fix and upgrade the Waimanalo irrigation system to increase water to local farms.

 

Modern Clean Energy Jobs

Chris helped champion and grow the clean energy industry in Hawaii, which has created thousands of new high-paying jobs. During the last recession a quarter of all building permits were for solar installations, employing countless local residents. Chris passed Hawaii’s groundbreaking law boosting clean energy jobs by requiring the transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2045. He also passed a law directing the state to eliminate fossil fuels for all ground transportation, boosting electric vehicle infrastructure and sales. When utilities began blocking startup solar companies from serving local families, Chris convened public hearings and passed a law that directed the utility to let more consumers take advantage of solar energy. Chris was honored to be named a national “Solar Champion” for this work. He was also named national “Best Policymaker” by the US Green Building Council Center for Green Schools for two laws he passed making Hawaii the first state to direct all public schools and universities to produce 100% of their own power from renewables by 2035, catalyzing hundreds of millions in investment into solar and clean energy projects. Finally, Chris passed a bill to help secure the financing for a sea-water air conditioning project that will use ocean water to cool numerous buildings in downtown Honolulu, creating significant investment and local work.

 

Digital E-Sports

What most people don’t realize is that the fastest growing sector in sports is actually Esports. It’s the Olympics of competitive video games. Esports events in recent years have dwarfed traditional sporting events, selling out venues such as the Staples Center with online audiences of over 60 million people at a time watching players compete. Video game revenues in the United States now exceeds film and music sales – combined. Universities have established Esports scholarships and programs, and jobs in the industry are taking off. Chris passed Hawaii’s first Esports legislation to help the University of Hawaii create programs for our next generation in Esports, and signal to the global industry that digital Esports jobs and investment can be made here in the islands, which has already brought executives from top companies to Honolulu.

 
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PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT

In Hawaii, our environment is our economy, and Chris has fought to protect our irreplaceable natural resources for our next generation. Working with community leaders and Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation, Chris helped organize a grassroots effort and pushed to expand protections for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The expanded monument prohibits sea floor mineral mining around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and ensures the protection of the oldest species of life on the planet.

When residents began fighting for their health and safety as industrial agriculture companies sprayed thousands of gallons of pesticides near communities and watersheds, Chris led public hearings and questioned officials about the lack of meaningful oversight. In 2018 Chris negotiated a deal to overcome strong lobbying and opposition by pesticide companies, and make Hawaii the first state to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, require disclosure of pesticides being sprayed, and establish 100 foot pesticide buffer zones around all public schools. The following year California, Oregon, New York and Connecticut introduced similar legislation following the success of the ban in Hawaii. This political battle over pesticide regulation in Hawaii was the subject of a 2019 documentary "Poisoning Paradise" produced by Pierce Brosnan and directed by Keely Shaye Brosnan

 

When a massive spill in Honolulu Harbor wiped out nearly all marine life, Chris helped lead the effort to ensure negligent regulators and shipping companies paid to clean up the mess, restore marine life, and prevent it from happening again. 

After jet fuel began leaking from the Navy’s underground storage tanks into the public water supply, Chris helped push the Navy toward a fix and passed a law ensuring public oversight of the recovery process, and continues to fight for a permanent solution.

 

When studies found that toxic chemicals in some sunscreens were killing Hawaii’s coral reefs, Chris led negotiations to pass the first bill in the country banning those toxic chemicals in sunscreen to protect near-shore reefs.

 

Knowing that even renewable energy projects can have impacts on communities, Chris passed legislation requiring developers of windmill projects to pay for decommissioning old windmills and restoring the land to a pristine state.

 

FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION AND ENSURING EQUALITY

Chris has always been a champion for LGBT rights because all citizens deserve the same benefits and protections of the Constitution. In 2013 Chris stepped up to help lead the campaign to pass marriage equality in Hawaii. Despite receiving a death threat for his role as a spokesperson for the campaign, he fought on to help end discrimination against LGBT citizens and make Hawaii the 15th state to ensure marriage equality

More recently Chris passed a law allowing transgender individuals to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender identities as recommended by the American Medical Association. He also passed a law barring health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender individuals by unfairly denying them medical coverage. In 2019 Chris passed a law that prohibits murderers from being considered for lesser sentences because their victims were LGBT residents.

 
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ENDING THE CORROSIVE INFLUENCE OF MONEY IN POLITICS

Expanding access to voting and empowering people to choose our leaders and hold them accountable is the cornerstone of democracy that we should be protecting. Hawaii has been among the states with the lowest voter participation. At the same time, the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC has allowed billions of dollars of money to flow through superPACs and influence decision-makers around the country. These things must change.

 

Expanding Voting

In 2019 Chris led the effort to make it easier to vote in Hawaii and increase turnout, negotiation the passage of a bill making Hawaii the fourth state to vote entirely by mail.

“We wrote this bill to expand voting hours and access, and make it easier for everyone to vote. We hope to see voter participation rise this coming election,” Chris said. In the 2020 primary election, voting by mail broke all turnout records and led to a stunning 60.8% increase in people voting over the 2016 primary election.

 

Chris also passed a law making voter fraud a felony, preventing fraudulent elections advertising that has been used to misdirect voters in other states around the country.

 

Money in Elections

Chris has fought to get money out of politics and in his first year in office passed an amendment prohibiting state contractors from making political contributions, helping to prevent the pay-to-play culture that exists elsewhere. Chris followed up by passing a groundbreaking law that requires secretive superPACs to disclose their top donors in all elections advertising. He also added provisions to a bill that add additional reporting requirements for candidates to report who is giving them money, to increase transparency for voters.

Preventing Corruption

When it was revealed that some government leaders were getting paychecks from other interests that could influence their decision-making, Chris led negotiations to pass a bill banning the Governor and all Mayors from getting paid by special interests while serving in office. To stop the revolving door of government leaders becoming lobbyists and helping clients get special deals, Chris passed a law prohibiting the Governor and leaders of all State Departments, and decision-making boards and commissions, from lobbying the state for a year after leaving public office. 

 
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STOPPING CRIME

There’s more we can do to stop crime. In many places a majority of crimes are committed by a handful of repeat offenders. To stop the revolving door of repeat criminals arrested and immediately released back on the street Chris passed a law to ensure habitual criminals are kept behind bars.

 

In 2018 over 30 people were killed in Hawaii by drunk drivers. To deter this reckless behavior and save lives Chris passed a law to strengthen DUI penalties for repeat offenders. The new law substantially increases fines, adds years of automatic license revocation and helps send repeat drunk drivers to prison for up to five years to keep our roads safe.

 

To ensure murderers can’t use excuses to justify their crimes, in 2019 Chris passed a law that prohibits murderers from being considered for lesser sentences by claiming their victims were LGBT residents whose sexuality offends them. This defense, which has been used here in the past, can be used in Hawaii no more.

 
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ENDING GUN VIOLENCE

There are more than 30,000 gun-related deaths in the United States each year and Americans are ten times more likely to be killed by a gun than citizens of other developed nations. Hawaii has had its share of mass shootings and murders between the 1999 Xerox shooting in which a mentally ill worker shot and killed seven colleagues, and more recently the shooting murder of two HPD officers in 2020. 

 

Keeping guns out of the wrong hands is the easiest way to prevent senseless loss of life, so Chris passed a law establishing a Gun Violence and Violent Crimes Commission to bring all law enforcement and mental health agencies to the same table to share data, resources, identify the loopholes in gun laws, and track down illegal and black market firearms.

 

Chris passed a law that prohibits convicted stalkers from acquiring firearms, an important step considering the vast majority of female murder victims have been previously stalked by their assailants. 

 

Because many stolen firearms are used in crimes, Chris passed a law requiring that lost or stolen firearms are reported to police so it’s easier to track black market weapons. In 2020, when untraceable 3D-printed and assembled guns began to proliferate and were used in two homicides on Oahu, Chris passed a law requiring that self-assembled guns be registered with law enforcement.

 

Chris also helped pass a red flag law that enables law enforcement to temporarily secure weapons belonging to some found by a judge to be an immediate danger to themselves or others. And he has championed efforts that make it harder for the mentally ill to buy weapons, ensure felons trying to acquire guns are reported to authorities, and has served on the Advisory Board for American State Legislators For Gun Violence Prevention.

 
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POLICE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

In recent years there have been over 80 cases of officers suspended or discharged for unwarranted assault, and over 100 cases of officers filing fraudulent reports or covering up for other officers, but these records have been kept secret. We owe it to our good cops to make their dangerous jobs easier by weeding out the bad. 

 

So, Chris led negotiations and passed a bill to standardize use of force procedures and create transparency to hold bad officers accountable by publicly disclosing misconduct when an officer is suspended or discharged, just like officers in most other states whose names and violations are publicly disclosed. It also enables officers’ certifications to be revoked for misconduct.

 

In 2018 it was found that law enforcement was taking advantage of outdated civil asset forfeiture laws to seize millions in property and cash from innocent Hawaii residents without ever charging them with a crime, and then using that money to fund trips and pay their own staff. Chris built support and negotiated the passage of a bill to end the practice and require law enforcement to return people’s property unless they are convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed the bill.

 

Hawaii’s jails are beyond capacity, yet about half of the people currently locked up haven’t been convicted of crimes and are disproportionately Native Hawaiian. Instead of rehabilitating the incarcerated, Hawaii’s archaic approach to criminal justice has been making crime worse by mixing low level offenders with dangerous criminals, turning truants into gang members, and people arrested for crimes of poverty and homelessness into violent felons. We know this system isn’t working because our recidivism rate is 60%, meaning over half of people released from jail will return within three years.

 

Working together with Republicans and Democrats on this issue, Chris helped lead the effort to pass bipartisan criminal justice reforms that will better rehabilitate offenders, reduce recidivism, save money for taxpayers, and most of all reduce crime.

 
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PRIORITIZING EDUCATION AND FIXING OUR SCHOOLS 

Chris believes a solid education is every child’s right. We must improve our schools, protect funding for students and teachers, and ensure a solid curriculum that will prepare students to be productive citizens in the 21st century. 

Chris has worked to engage parents and communities in public schools, while working alongside Parents for Public Schools Hawaii and other organizations in his spare time.

 

Modern green schools with proper classroom conditions have been shown to improve learning and cognitive function as much as 300%. Chris served as lead negotiator on a deal to provide $100 million to cool hot classrooms, modernize aging campuses, and install solar panels and batteries that can save schools millions electric bills. When teachers asked for additional help, he followed up by passing another bill providing an additional $46 million to cool classrooms. Chris also worked to help local solar companies donate solar air-conditioning units to schools in Kailua.

 

Chris was named national “Best Policymaker” by the US Green Building Council Center for Green Schools for two laws he passed making Hawaii the first state to direct all public schools and universities to produce 100% of their own power from cheaper renewables by 2035. School and university power bills are expected to exceed $2 billion over the next two decades. By generating their own renewable power this money can be better spent on teachers and students in classrooms rather than paying utilities. In 2020 the first UH campus on Oahu achieved this goal. Leeward Community College in Pearl City announced that it has achieved our net-zero target and has already generated 97% of its energy from solar systems. It is one of the first net-zero campuses in the United States. Leeward Community College's efforts will save the UH system $269,000 in energy and operational costs this year and $8.4million in operating costs over the next 20 years.

 

To accelerate improvements to campuses Chris also passed a law establishing a green revolving fund to allow the University of Hawaii to recycle energy savings into new energy saving projects.

 

Chris supported increasing funding for education in public schools, and has fought for more flexibility for each school to better take care of its students. Until now, Hawaii has been one of 11 states without a state-funded preschool system. Chris fought to establish early education and public preschools accessible to all local families, and in 2020 supported the bill which is set to roll out early education across Hawaii. 

 

With incidences of stroke among young adults rising, and strokes among the leading causes of death and disability in the country, Chris passed legislation directing the Department of Education to incorporate stroke awareness and training into curriculum. Students can save the lives of older family members if they know what signs to look for.

 
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PROTECTING RETIREES AND ENSURING AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE

As growing economic inequality continues to leave more Americans working harder but earning less, expanding the social safety net and ensuring access to affordable healthcare has become more critical than ever before. Americans spend significantly more than any other nation on healthcare, yet receive worse healthcare and outcomes than the people of most other western nations. It’s clear we need a system that prioritizes people, rather than profits for insurance and pharmaceutical companies that have been allowed to exploit the system at our expense.

 

Chris has fought policies that hurt everyday families. Chris voted against additional taxes on the pensions of senior citizens that would shrink the fixed incomes keeping many retirees out of poverty. Chris has also taken a public stand to preserve and expand Social Security, which has been proven to be the most effective means of keeping people out of poverty.

To help local residents access healthcare Chris secured $1 million to help Waimanalo Health Center build a brand new larger health facility to serve our community.

 

When some residents were denied coverage, Chris passed a law barring health insurance companies from discriminating against them by unfairly denying medical coverage.

 

After suffering a stroke himself, Chris passed legislation to require competing hospitals to work together, share data, and standardize stroke care, which has since decreased cases of disability and increased survival rates in Hawaii.

 

As many public facilities are outdated, Chris created a new effort to renovate public facilities specifically to improve the air quality and other factors affecting the health of workers and visitors in buildings throughout the state.

 
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SUPPORTING EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN

Chris has always supported action to ensure that women have every opportunity available to men, beginning with equal pay for equal work at any job. He passed a law prohibiting employers from firing or discriminating against female employees who choose to become pregnant, use contraception, or make any other personal reproductive decision. 

 

He helped lead negotiations and passed legislation to protect victims of domestic violence from pressuring victims with retaliatory temporary restraining orders by their abusers, and prohibit assailants from forcing women to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep cases of sexual assault secret.

 

Chris passed legislation that launched an investigation of people soliciting and selling sexually explicit videos of any person a buyer wants, created using “deep fake” technology that renders real women’s faces onto other people’s bodies without their consent. Chris has led the fight to outlaw the practice.

 

Chris has championed access to emergency contraception in the emergency room for victims of sexual assault, and stood against attacks on a women’s right to choose, the loss of which has been proven in other states to cost additional lives by driving women toward dangerous black market medical procedures. He has introduced and championed legislation to prevent crisis pregnancy centers from distributing false medical information to the public which has needlessly endangered lives.

 

In 2019 Chris passed legislation supporting the effort to place the first woman, Harriet Tubman, on US Currency

 
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EXPANDING LOCAL AGRICULTURE AND FOOD PRODUCTION

Hawaii imports nearly 80 percent of our food. Growing food locally instead of importing it can keep over a billion dollars in our local economy and transform old plantation agriculture into a thriving network of small farms producing local food, creating sustainable jobs for our next generation. A graduate of Class 13 of the Hawaii Agricultural Leadership Program, Chris worked with local farmers to write and pass the nation’s first tax credits to help farmers with up to $50,000 in assistance to grow local organic food

 

He also passed bills creating a grant program to subsidize the cost for farmers to acquire fresh compost, bills to help farmers reduce their cost of energy, programs to create compost and food production at public schools, and legislation to help increase the market for local produce. Chris secured $40,000 to help establish the Waimanalo Coop, creating a food hub for local farmers to distribute food to our community. And, he secured millions to fix and upgrade the Waimanalo irrigation system to increase water to local farms.

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