"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
When I first shared with friends & family that I was thinking about running for House, I was often asked: WHY? And as I am "new" to politics, I wanted to share my story with you as well.
My answer in three words: 2020 and 2021.
Over the past two years, we saw a number of unprecedented events. Hawaii set a new record for the highest unemployment rate in the country -- in some places it was almost 10% higher than the national unemployment rate at the peak of the Great Depression. Individuals were waiting 4, 6, even 10+ months to receive their first unemployment check. People lost their jobs, they burned through their savings, and many lost their homes. We watched our friends, family, and neighbors die from a virus that we knew so little about. Our children stopped going to school, and the education and opportunity gap between our children who attended public vs. private school widened. We saw racial-driven hate crimes explode, and so much violence towards our kūpuna, especially on the mainland.
Everything became polarized. People started seeing every issue through a lens of right and wrong. Vaccinations. Masks. The police force. People lost friends. People stopped listening. People stopped seeking to understand an opinion that differed from their own. People stopped trusting the government. We stopped living as a community.
I found myself in virtual pau hanas and Zoom catch-ups with friends and family talking about how terrible everything had become. We talked about how there has to be a better way. We have to get to a place where we put people over profit. Where people look to government for guidance and protection. Where we trust the government to lead us through pandemics, economic challenges, and social crises.
I was raised to never complain about something you're not willing to change. So I reached out to different organizations, the state, and the city to get involved. I helped in many planning & brainstorming sessions, but realized we could do more.
So I decided to run. I'm a democrat running on a platform of change. My promise to my constituents is that I will represent their needs and their best interests, not mine. I don't have the answer to everything, but I don't need to know everything. Through open-arms collaboration and discussions, it will be my job to best represent the needs and voice of our home, Hawaii District 26.
I know this job won't be easy. But I love a great challenge and am ready to put in the hours and do the hard work.
"It's supposed to be hard.
If it were easy, everyone would do it."
- Jimmy Dugan
I will serve with unprecedented collaboration, communication and transparency. Our district is my priority, and I want to get back to where the government is here to serve the best interest of all of the people it serves, and where everyone feels heard, seen, and, most importantly, represented.
Thank you for reading my story... I cannot wait to hear yours!
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."