Low voter turnout on Election Day translates into big turnover at state Legislature
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The low voter turnout in this year’s general election resulted in high turnover in the state Legislature.
The biggest change is in the state House, which will have 16 new faces out of its 51 seats ― the highest number of newcomers in two decades. The 25-member state Senate could see up to five new faces.
“It’s great to see that kind of turnover. I mean, that’s what elections are supposed to produce as new faces in the Legislature,” said Colin Moore, University of Hawaii Political Science professor.
Attorney Kanani Souza, who was elected to office for the first time, is one of three Republicans winning in Leeward Oahu districts.
Her grassroots campaign for the Kapolei-Makakilo House seat upset better financed and union-backed Democratic incumbent Stacelynn Eli.
She said paying attention to her voters concerns was the key to her victory.
“The number one issue was crime. And second was cost of living. ... They’re tired of business as usual at the state Legislature,” said Souza.
First-time House Democrat Rachele Lamosao, of Waipahu, also wants to see her district’s crime problems addressed.
“There’s a lot of property crime that happens in Waipahu and addressing those issues ― but also homelessness ― those are some of the really big things right now,” she said.
Democrat Micah Aiu of Moanalua, the son of longtime state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, said he wants the state to do more for commuters and school students.
“I’d really like to see us invest a good amount of money and an infrastructure and our schools and our roads and really bring Hawaii into the 21st century,” said Aiu.
The Honolulu City Council also will have several first time lawmakers, including attorney Matt Weyer, who will represent the Mililani Mauka to North Shore neighborhoods.
“We know that the community is concerned about the cost of housing going up, all the infrastructure issues across the district and protecting our natural resources,” Weyer said.
Weyer will be joined on the council by construction industry lobbyist and monster home critic Tyler Dos Santos Tam who will represent the downtown area.
“I think everything we’ve done as a community advocate over the past several years has really resonated -- whether it’s monster homes, or illegal game rooms,” he said.
“People have taken notice, and they want action.”
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