It comes as no surprise that it is very expensive to live in Hawai‘i. Housing, electricity, food, childcare, and fuel costs all contribute to Hawai‘i having one of the highest costs of living in the nation. Not only does it make it hard for families to make ends meet, it also drives our young people away. All too often, young families have to make the choice between struggling to make ends meet while staying close to family in our communities, or relocating to take advantage of lower living costs or better economic opportunities elsewhere. Our young families should not have to make that choice.
I grew up as part of a large family, and was fortunate to be raised in a neighborhood with lots of cousins my own age, and lots of family nearby to support us. Ku‘ulani and I came back to Kāne‘ohe to raise our kids here because we wanted them to be able to say that they were from our community as well. By helping working families stay close to home, we can make sure that neighborhoods like the one I grew up in will continue to be filled with kids from growing families instead of being drained of our young people as they move away to find opportunities elsewhere.