HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Growing up in Kalihi-Palama and raised in a low-income household, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said Monday her "humble beginnings" enabled her to understand the value of money, hence why she will focus on changing government spending and the budget if elected to Hawaii's First Congressional District.
"It really outrages me when I see wasteful spending," Kim said. "I see a disregard for government efficiency because I know how difficult it is for families to make ends meet because that was my family."
Kim, a Democrat, has served on the Honolulu City Council and in both houses of the state Legislature during her 32 years of public service. Taking on several leadership roles in the Senate, including chair of the committee that investigated the "Stevie Wonder Blunder" in 2013, she prides herself on taking a tough stance on issues.
"You may not agree with everything that I have done and positions that I've taken, but the important thing is that I have made those tough decisions, that I've done my homework and I've created a work ethic, a really strong work ethic," she said. "I believe that that's what my colleagues have seen in me."
Kim said her assertiveness and willingness to work with others would be beneficial in Congress.
"You need someone there who can, one, speak out, but at the same time, who can work with others to let them know what is so important to Hawaii and why we're different," she said. "It takes someone that had been able to work, not just in government, but in business as well, and I have that background."
During the one-on-one discussion with Hawaii News Now's Tannya Joaquin, Kim also discussed the conflict in Iraq and her campaign efforts.