"Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change."
- Martin Luther King
That’s the number of votes we received in the primaries. I’m unbelievably proud of that number. That’s 1,924 people who voted for change. 1,924 people who believed in us. I’m forever grateful to everyone who showed up to vote, and especially to everyone who supported our campaign.
Even though we didn’t win, this was truly an incredible experience. We had the most wonderful 9 months meeting our neighbors in the new district 26, union leaders, community leaders, business leaders, activists, neighborhood board members, and so many more.
When we first decided to run last November, we were running for an open seat. An open seat defined by the already proposed redistricting lines as part of the reapportionment process for the 2020 census data. However, in late December an updated proposal was presented and something interesting happened. Our district had completely disappeared, it had been eliminated with a large portion of it being redrawn into the same district as a 16-year incumbent.
We were confused. Based on the extensive public testimony submitted it also confused the citizens of Oahu. Many people asked if I was still planning to run. It was an easy answer: 100% yes. In fact, this inspired us to want to run even more — because lines need to be drawn to best serve the people and our neighborhoods... not to split communities in half or discourage individuals from participating in the democratic process because the lines were seemingly drawn to protect incumbents.
I want to thank ILWU Local 142 Hawaii, ILWU Local 100, Pono Hawai'i Initiative, IUPAT District Council 50, State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers - SHOPO, and Honolulu Star-Advertiser for believing in us. Thank you for supporting candidates based on who the person is, and not the position they currently hold. Thank you for taking a chance on a first time candidate and thank you so much for all of your support over the last 3-6 months.
Thank you Papakōlea for your hospitality. Thank you Lilia, Bill, and Uncle Richie for all of your support. Thank you for co-hosting some of the most incredible events we'll never forget.
Thank our incredible team of volunteers and supporters. We are so grateful for Carina, Michael, Fuji, James, Davis, Lori, Rick, Keala, Reyn, Chuck, Sharon, Piper, Neil, Sandy, Craig, Sean, Michelle, Carrie, Vic, Takio, Evan, Bradston, Grant, Jimmy, Kris, Reed, Mai, Chef Peel, Graham, Bricyon, Michael, Shawn, Scot, Sean, Nel, Tsu, Rachel, Kale, Paula, Pat, Lorenzo, Ed, Marcia, Neil and so many other friends & volunteers who took many hours out of their days to canvass, sign-wave, and phone bank with us. The days were hot, many shifts were long, but we truly had the most incredible team of steadfast volunteers who brought our campaign to a new level.
Thank you to everyone who put up a sign.
Thank you to everyone who donated to us as a first time candidate. Thank you to our core team, Stacey and Brent who brought so much structure and passion to this campaign. And a huge thank you to my wonderful parents, incredible husband, and our dog Guava for being a part of every step of this journey.
Nelson Mandela once said “If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important – and you do that by being genuine and humble”.
From the beginning, this is what we set out to do. We ran a campaign on diversity and inclusion. Time and time again people from all backgrounds and political affiliations would tell me the issues that concerned them the most. More often than not, they were always talking about the same issues but not all of them felt heard or represented in their local government.
This race was not about amplifying my voice, but about amplifying all of their voices. That is what I believe should be the role of an elected official. I’m proud to have had members of all political parties as a part of our volunteer team and to have been endorsed by such a variety of organizations.
I’m also proud to have received more votes than any other primary challenger has ever received against the incumbent.
I’m proud that for the first time in over a decade, the people of Makiki were truly heard. We got the incumbent to door knock. To sign-wave. We forced the incumbent to get out in the community and to listen to our neighbors.
And finally, I’d like to congratulate Della Au Bellati on her win in the primaries and wish her all the best.
To Della, I'd like to share the list of top concerns we heard from our neighbors over the past 6 months:
To finally address the abandoned homes on Pensacola and Wilder.
To work with city officials and HPD to address the uptick in crime, especially thefts and break-ins.
To find a way to work with city officials to build a dog park in Makiki.
To make Dominis & Poki a safer intersection.
To work with city officials to build transitional villages for the houseless communities in Dole Park and on Piikoi & Lunalilo.
To find ways to protect our kupuna on fixed incomes from being priced out of their rental homes and condos.
To ensure DHHL finally serves the 28K+ people on their waitlist.
I ask the incumbent to push for true campaign reform and bills that will address corruption and increase transparency.
It is such an honor to be a part of this community and to have earned the support from so many of you. We will be back in 2024 because there’s still so much work to do. Thank you forever. Together, we can make a difference.
Valerie Wang (and team)
Why wait until 2023? Let's start talking about the issues that matter most now.
Please take 3 minutes to complete this simple survey, so we can start aggregating the views & opinions of our very diverse district.
After all, this isn't about what I think, this is about what we think.
"We as citizens of this great democracy have an obligation to future generations to continue to build better communities... we must actively ensure that human needs are available to all and that these communities are places where everyone will want to live, they will want to work, and they will want to play - not just [for] today - but for the years and generations to come."
- Alphonso Braggs
President, NAACP Hawaii
"Valerie Wang is there for the people she serves. She is a servant leader and always does what she says. It has been a pleasure to work with her and see her spearhead events along with finding other passionate people to support the community."
"We need to work together to ensure we have the ability to provide for Oahu's skyrocketing demand for fresh, diverse, nutritious food for our community members in need. I know Valerie Wang will represent all voices in government -- especially those who are at-risk and underserved."
Small Business Owner
"Valerie Wang will bring a different perspective and leadership style to government. I know she will be able to responsibly lead her constituents and with effective communication she will establish trust."