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Jill Tokuda represents Hawai
i’s Second Congressional District (CD2) which includes suburban and rural parts of Oahu, the islands of Hawai
i, Kauai, Maui, Lana
i, Molokai, Ni
ihau, Kahoolawe, and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Elected in November 2022 to serve in the 118th Congress, she has been selected by her peers to serve as Vice Chair for Communications for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Freshman Representative for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Region 2 Whip (includes Hawai`i, Alaska, Northern California, Guam, American Samoa, and The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).
Jill’s family has called CD2 home for four generations since emigrating from Okinawa, living on Hawai
i Island, Maui, Kauai and on the Windward side of O
ahu. A proud product of Hawaii’s public schools, she was the first in her family to go to college and attended The George Washington University where she earned a BA in international relations with a minor in Japanese studies.
Jill has extensive experience in both the public and private sector. From 2006-2018, she represented Kaneohe and Kailua in the Hawai
i State Senate. During her tenure she chaired the Ways and Means, Education and Higher Education, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs, and Labor committees. As Ways and Means Chair, Jill balanced the state’s $14 billion budget and approved all fiscal and tax measures at the Hawaii State Legislature. She also championed legislation that established the state’s first Executive Office on Early Learning and funded the Hawai
i Keiki Program to provide access to health services in public schools. Jill also passed enabling legislation that allowed for Important Agricultural Lands to be designated and protected. This was an unmet constitutional mandate that took 30 years to pass, and places the highest protections on Hawaii’s most productive food producing lands.
Her private and nonprofit experience includes serving as Co-Director of CyberHawaii, which supports workforce development, and as the External Affairs Director of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center where Jill raised funds to expand the facility on the island of Maui. She has served on the board of the Hawai
i Data Collaborative and the advisory board of the Hawaii Budget and Policy Center. Jill was also a founding member of the Patsy T. Mink PAC, which supports pro-choice women seeking elected office. During the pandemic, Jill was appointed to the Hawai
i House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness where she worked with the state, counties and nonprofit entities to track the progress of over $21 billion in federal relief that came into Hawaii and provide information and analysis to aid in the distribution and management of these resources.
Jill is married to Kyle Michibata. They have two sons, Aden and Matt, who attend the same public schools their parents graduated from - King Intermediate and James B. Castle High School. Their family also includes their chiweenie named Bailey, who holds the distinction of having more likes on social media than anyone else in the family!
Jill is driven by the goal of making sure Hawai`i is a place where her sons and all of our children can see a future for themselves in this place we call home.
Access to Quality Health and Mental Health Services
Our communities need improved access to healthcare and mental health services.
This issue particularly impacts our rural communities and the Neighbor Islands.
COVID-19 highlighted the inequity of healthcare options in these communities, which do not have the same access to healthcare services and providers as urban Honolulu. In particular, the stress and burdens of living through years of COVID-19 also highlighted the shortage of mental health services.
Access to care also includes transportation – during my visits across the district, I look at the distance between hospitals and medical facilities, gas stations, and grocery stores. There are many areas in the Second Congressional District where it may take more than an hour to reach a healthcare facility. Some individuals and families may not have a car or hesitate to drive long distances due to high gas prices.
We must urgently act to increase capacity at our rural hospitals and medical facilities and increase the number of doctors and healthcare providers serving these areas. We must look at solutions such as mobile health clinics, increased funding for remote and online counseling, and higher education financial incentives for health professionals serving underserved areas.
This is not just a matter of fairness — it’s about saving lives for all residents living in Hawai‘i.
Affordability and Housing
I’m a working with mom with two kids and I share the same concern and urgency as so many other families. Working families need relief and our children should be able to make a future for themselves here.
Hawaiʻi families need relief now and I support an immediate suspension of the federal gas tax. We need to continue the monthly enhanced child tax credits and expand the earned income tax credit so we can keep more money in families and worker’s pockets so they can provide for themselves and their families.
Right now, the high cost of childcare is also keeping a lot of parents out of the workforce, even though many families may need or want dual incomes We shouldn’t have to choose between a career and kids, I support The Childcare Reconciliation plan that would expand pre-k programs and create a pilot program for states to expand childcare assistance to more families by capping their expenses at 7% of income for children ages 0 to five.
We need more quality affordable housing in Hawaii and that includes housing for seniors as well as workforce housing and rentals for some of our most in demand professions like teachers and medical professionals.
We’ve got to be aggressive in tackling speculative home purchases and utilize our tax structures to level the playing field for our workers and families. We need to also leverage federal assets available to us, from funding available to purchase and preserve affordable housing units to building up housing units on military bases for both military and civilian workers and families.
It’s time to restart and expand the Emergency Rent and Utility Relief program to help keep people sheltered and the lights on, expand support for mortgage and utility assistance for struggling homeowners, and support federal food subsidy programs that help everyone from children to seniors.
Combating Climate Change and Protecting our Environment
Aggressive action needs to be taken to address climate change impacts and increase renewable energy production.
Hawaii is in crisis. Accelerated sea-level rise is causing our roads and homes to fall into the ocean. We are experiencing extreme weather patterns and rising ocean temperatures that impact our corals and sea life.
While we do have unique challenges, it is also our island environment that is our strength. Hawaii is uniquely positioned to be a leader in renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower.
We need clean energy to power us in the future, and we also need the positive economic impacts of clean energy jobs. Environmental policy and economic prosperity should go hand in hand.
And with such a significant military presence, we can also benefit from the Biden Administration’s efforts to have the Department of Defense lead in areas of renewable energy, a reduced carbon footprint, and climate resiliency. This is an opportunity to partner at home.
I pledge to seek bold solutions to preserve our environment for our keiki and generations to come.
Funding quality public education for students of all ages is one of the most valuable investments for the future of Hawai‘i.
For families and children of all ages, I will prioritize supporting universal access to free public education, from early childhood and preschool, community college, four-year universities, and programs for post-secondary workforce training and certifications.
Investing in education early on improves student achievement throughout their educational careers, provides a more level playing field for all students, improves earned incomes, and has long-term societal benefits for all citizens.
Job training and workforce pipelines are vital to growing new industries and good-paying jobs so our children can see a future for themselves in Hawai‘i. For this reason, providing universal access to free community college and programs for post-secondary workforce training will play a significant role in developing tomorrow’s workforce and economy.
Election and Campaign Finance Reform
Our democracy thrives when all people have an equal voice in government
I’m the only candidate in this race that has pledged not to accept corporate PAC money, and I strongly support the overturn of Citizens United. Since becoming law, we’ve seen far-reaching negative impacts on our democracy where corporations and wealthy individuals can buy elections with unlimited unregulated spending.
I support several campaign finance reforms at the federal level, including the For the People Act and the DISCLOSE Act, a comprehensive set of anti-corruption, government, voting, and election reforms aimed at improving voting access for individuals and limiting the influence of Big Money in politics, as well as ensuring elected officials are working in the public interest.
Fighting to Bring Federal Funds Home
I will advocate securing every available federal dollar for Hawai’i.
As chair of Ways and Means from 2015 to 2017, I oversaw billions in spending at the state level and was proud of my record fighting on behalf of Hawaii families. As a working mom, I sit at my kitchen table and balance our household budget every month, ensuring we save and spend wisely. And during the height of the pandemic, I tracked all of the federal dollars allocated to Hawai‘i and helped develop programs to ensure those funds got to the people that needed them most.
If elected to Congress, I promise to fight for Hawai‘i’s fair share of federal dollars and work with our state government leaders to ensure that the funds are maximized to support our families, individuals, businesses, and communities.
We must also ensure that no federal dollar is wasted – a recent study showed that Hawai‘i missed out on approximately $200 million that could have been used to support child nutrition programs. These funds could have also supported our local agriculture industry’s purchasing more local produce to supply these nutrition programs.
I will put my experience managing budgets, large and small, to work for the people of Hawaii and ensure we explore every opportunity for these funds to make a difference for families struggling to make in Hawai‘i.
I will not have our girls grow up with fewer freedoms than we have or allow their fundamental rights of self-determination to be taken away.
Now that this extremist majority Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, it’s vital to defend women’s reproductive rights across our county.
I was in Washington D.C. when the news about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade broke. That evening I stood in solidarity and disbelief with hundreds of others in front of the Supreme Court building. I vowed to defend the reproductive rights of women across our county. Reproductive choices are deeply personal and should be made by women, not politicians.
I’m proud to be a founding member of the Patsy T. Mink Political Action Committee, whose mission is to support and elect pro-choice Hawaiʻi Democratic women. During my 12 years serving in the state senate, I introduced or sponsored more than a dozen bills defending women’s reproductive freedoms and expanding access to contraceptives and healthcare.
If elected to Congress, I pledge to support the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act to support equal access to abortion care everywhere in the country. I will support all efforts to codify access to abortion care into federal law, fully fund Title X Family Planning Programs, and repeal the Hyde Amendment. Additionally, I will support legislation to protect women’s most intimate and personal data stored in reproductive health apps and make clear that all Americans have the Constitutional right to travel freely and voluntarily throughout the United States
Public Safety and Gun Reform
It shouldn’t take a tragedy for Congress to act on gun reform.
As a mom, my heart breaks that kids in this country aren’t safe in schools, and I am outraged at the plague of gun violence that is taking the lives of our loved ones as they’re grocery shopping, attending church, and going to work, just going about their day. It’s time to end the violence.
I fully support the gun reform bill recently passed by the U.S. House, but it doesn’t go far enough. I strongly support nationwide efforts to increase the age of gun ownership to 21, ban assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, mandate criminal background checks on gun purchases, including transfers of ownership, require licensure to own or purchase a gun, addressing the issue of home-made “ghost guns,” and enacting Red Flag Laws that allow family members, co-workers, and law enforcement to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis.
Hawaiʻi has among the strictest gun laws and the lowest levels of gun violence in the nation. During my 12 years in the Hawaiʻi State Senate, I repeatedly voted in support of measures that further strengthened our gun control and firearm permit laws.
While in the Senate, we prohibited the possession, manufacturing, sale, transfer, and importation of bump fire stocks and multi-burst trigger activators, making it a Class C felony.
We also passed a law requiring the immediate surrender of firearms and ammunition if a person has been disqualified from gun possession for reasons such as mental illness or being admitted to a psychiatric facility because even one day is far too long for a gun to be in the hands of a person who may pose a danger to themselves or others.
As part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, we understood the severe threats to our families, especially in situations of domestic violence. We consistently introduced bills to strengthen gun control laws and protect women and families.
If elected to Congress, I pledge to continue fighting for safer communities and strengthening innovative gun reform legislation.