Voters on Oahu will elect a new mayor this year. There’s a crowded field, with 15 candidates officially in the race.
Kymberly Pine represents West Oahu on the Honolulu City Council, a job she’s held for seven years. Before winning election to the City Council in 2012, she was a representative in the state Legislature and a legislative researcher.
After more than a decade in the legislative branches of government, she says concerns over basic quality of life issues are what motivated her to run for Oahu’s top job.
“It’s time that we make Hawaii truly affordable, efficient, resilient, and safe. Now more than ever we need that kind of quality of life for a better future,” Pine said in an interview.
The Ewa Beach resident, who currently chairs the City Council committee that oversees business, economic development, and tourism, says the state’s economic dependence on the tourism industry caused her concern even before the coronavirus pandemic shut down tourism and drove Hawaii into a recession.
Pine says that her number one issue in the mayoral race is creating a more diverse and resilient economy. Expanding the agricultural sector is the pillar of her plan to do so, which she wants to achieve through government subsidies and relaxing land use restrictions.
“I would financially support these farmers. I would ensure that there are available large city grants and cash given to these farmers,” says Pine, who proposes giving taxpayer-funded land and water to growers. She also wants to change zoning laws to allow the construction of housing for farm workers on agricultural land.
When asked about the potential for meaningfully expanding agriculture as an economic sector, Pine hones in on the cultivation of breadfruit or ‘ulu, a product she views as having existing demand and potential for growth.
Pine suggests that Honolulu could become the Pacific’s center for processing breadfruit, which can be used to make protein-rich, vegetarian food products and cosmetics.
In a political climate that often decries government insiders in favor of outsiders, Pine holds up her experience in city government as one of her strongest traits.
“I'm the only candidate that has studied the city for seven and a half years. You cannot use any of your other experiences to be the mayor of this city unless you've been here,” Pine says, adding: “It is almost impossible to do your job on day one unless you have the experience that I have.”
That notion will be put to the test by a field crowded with both insiders and outsiders alike.
Find the rest of our candidate profiles here.