HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Makakilo resident Marissa Capelouto, a Republican candidate who's running for the 2nd congressional seat, says she wants to restore the American dream for the people of Hawaii.
An immigrant from the Philippines, she and her husband -- a retired U.S. navy man -- have raised two kids here who've attended public school in Kapolei.
In an interview with Tannya Joaquin on Hawaii News Now on Monday, Capelouto said she's always been ready to get to work.
"I was once a minimum wager. I got to own a company in 2006. I bought Oahu Express -- it's a 30-year-old company, local, established here in Hawaii and for me, this is an American dream," she said. "I got to come here. I've been here for 27 years of course you know, and to me, I'm here to work."
Capelouto says her experience as a business woman will help her lead in Washington. She says there are many improvements that are needed here on the islands, from education and healthcare reform to following through with benefits to veterans.
"Our cultural values are disappearing in our education. Our kids are being taught with something I have never heard before and to me, somebody needs to fight for those kids -- innocent kids and families and parents -- and this is the time," she said.
Capelouto said that if she is elected, she wants to see vocational programs in all public high schools.
"Not too many parents have $20-, $30- thousand to spend on their kids' college. Some kids are hands-on you know," she said.
She also said the free market should decide the outcome of the healthcare system, adding that Hawaii is in dire need of doctors because they're not paid enough here, and so they take jobs elsewhere.
The number one reason she's running for office though, she said, is because she sees families losing their jobs.
"Even our veterans, they're losing all the promises, the benefits that they're supposed to get, and again, our jobs in Pearl Harbor, we're losing all their jobs. We lost about 20,000 troops that were staying here in Schofield and for me, it will give a big impact."
She said that she comes from a military family and she's up for the fight: "I don't need to wear a uniform to fight. It's the right thing to do," she said.