HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu City Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga is seeking a second term to represent Makiki to Aiea, but first she'll have to defend her seat against three ambitious challengers who say more needs to be done to address issues like homelessness and affordable.
The race has been making headlines after one special interest group released an attack ad targeting the councilwoman.
But Fukunaga, who previously served in both the state House and Senate, says her record speaks for itself. And she believes her legislative experience and relationships make her the better candidate.
"If you didn't know who the players are on the state legislative side, or even some of the federal agencies, it would be a lot harder to get things done," Fukunaga said.
Fukunaga says one of her biggest accomplishments during her first term is fixing some of the major roadways in her district that have been neglected for years.
"The fact that we finally got most of those major roadways -- Liliha, Houghtailing, Kam Heights, Alewa Heights -- some of the worst areas done, is sort of a big sigh of relief," said Fukunaga.
Fukunaga's opponents pride themselves on not being career politicians.
Tyler Dos Santos-Tam is the executive director of the Hawaii Construction Alliance, and he has served on the Liliha Neighborhood Board for six years.
"I think there's big frustration with the residents in our district about are we really making progress on these issues," said Dos Santos-Tam.
When it comes to homelessness, Dos Santos-Tam says there needs to be an "all of the above" approach, one that brings together the city, state, federal government, and private sector.
"That includes things like ohana zones, that includes things like better medical services that meet the homeless folks where they are at rather than expecting them simply to show up at a service center," Dos Santos-Tam said.
Ikaika Hussey is a magazine publisher, entrepreneur, and father of three.
"My goal has always been how do we take care of our people? That to me is the more important goal. To me, it is more important than being a politician," Hussey said.
Hussey says he's running because too many residents feel like they're being squeezed out of their communities by the high cost of living and housing.
"We need to shift all of that development energy that we're seeing in older communities right now -- like Liliha, Pauoa, and Nuuanu -- into the urban core. The urban core is really the opportunity for us to solve all of our problems with regards to monster homes, as well as affordable housing in general," said Hussey.
The fourth candidate in the race is Zack Stoddard, a city planner with the city's Department of Planning and Permitting.
Stoddard believes government is not doing enough to help working class people, and he says one of his top priorities is to take the money and influence out of politics to ensure everyone is equally represented.
"The influence of wealthy developers stops politicians from making laws that help the working class. We need more public servants and fewer politicians in office, and that's why I'm running for City Council," Stoddard said.