Meet the Filipino candidates in Hawaii’s primary elections

by Kathleen Lee, ABS-CBN News

HONOLULU, HI — Hawaii is seeing a surge in fresh Fil-Am faces in the political scene, hoping to get their kababayans’ support in Saturday’s primary election.

30-year old Tyler Dos Santos-Tam is a first-time candidate for Honolulu City Council. A fourth-generation Filipino-American born and raised in Oahu, he is a graduate of Punahou School, the same school that former President Obama attended, and Yale University.

If elected, he wants to focus on addressing homelessness and affordable housing.

“We have the opportunity to elect a Filipino majority city council. I think Honolulu would be the first major city in America to do that. It would be a really historic moment for all of us as Filipino Americans, to be able to do that, to raise our voices, and to represent the largest ethnic
group here in Hawaii.”

31-year old Filipino-American Trish Lachica is running for state representative of House District 36.

This former journalist was born in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. 10 years ago.

Lachica, who currently works as a policy and advocacy director for a nonprofit says affordable housing, quality education and healthcare services are among her priorities.

“Over the years, I have seen just how often elected officials and those in power ignore what everyday people and dedicated advocates have to say. I will work very hard to make sure that nobody ever feels that they feel powerless or that they do not have a voice,” she said.

39-year old Grace Manipol-Larson is a Republican candidate on the Big Island running for State House, in a heavily Democratic state.

Manipol-Larson is up against another Republican candidate who recently came under fire for his white nationalist views.

Manipol-Larson is an immigrant from the Philippines. She is the president of the Hilo Visayan club.

“Filipinos are pro-family, normally against abortion, and God-centered individuals. They are resilient, hardworking and thrifty. Filipinos send their kids to school to have better education and to have some better edge in life,” she said. “These are the core values and principles that Republicans have.”

With these new faces joining the most seasoned politicians in Hawaii, many kababayans are expected to make an impact in the ballots in Saturday’s primary election.

After all, Filipinos have the numbers — the 2010 census shows that Filipinos make up Hawaii’s largest ethnic group with a total population of 342,094: of which 197,497 are full Filipino.


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