PEOPLE FIRST 
DEMOCRAT

Click on Icons to expand and learn how Shawn supports the Democratic platform in his commitments to put people first as State House Representative for District 49.

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 Support and Provide for a Strong     Economy

The pandemic and lockdowns showed us the danger of putting all our economic eggs in the tourism basket. Shawn believes it is the governments role to provide opportunities for local people to participate in and benefit directly from diversified and decentralized economic drivers and initiatives designed to make the economy work for people first.

          Financial Literacy and Education

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Change without education will only move the problem, not fix it. Shawn grew up in the Hawaiʻi public school system and while he learned many great lessons and had many good teachers, no one taught him about finances or financial literacy. For those with family money, the skills can be learned overtime while receiving financial support. For those without means, you have to learn by trial and error and often never get ahead because you haven’t been taught what that means. Shawn will advocate for the establishment of Department of Education financial curriculum as well as community resources for financial literacy and leadership courses at every age level in Kāneʻohe and across the State. This literacy will include courses on investment, debt, cryptocurrency, bookkeeping and how to keep money in our local economy to keep it strong.

          Co-ops, Limited Partnerships and Employee Owned Businesses

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It is time for the Hawai'i economy to diversify and explore all markets with the potential to benefit people and lift them out of poverty. While Shawn will look to promote access and opportunity in important sectors such as agriculture, technology and trade at a State level, his real commitment will be toward starting the change in his district. A key component of this is fostering, empowering and incentivizing businesses to support community engagement and investment. Shawn will advocate for business co-ops, employee owned businesses and community non-profits which provide local jobs that better the community.  Local commerce and enterprises should allow employees and community members to be more than a customer for the local brands and businesses they support. Shawn believes the more connected we are to the businesses in our community, the more they can find their purpose in supporting their customers and those involved. Strong economies start with strong roots best planted in our own backyard.

          Blockchain Infrastructure

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The best kept secret for bettering our economies and lifting people out of poverty is the technology behind cryptocurrency - Blockchain. The decentralized approach to trust and transactions provides a new avenue for commerce and wealth generation. Shawn believes that the government should support decentralized blockchain marketplaces and community tokens which empower people to invest and participate both online and in their communities. With the government fostering decentralized markets the power will remain with the people who can then look to invest back into their communities making the economy stronger. Decentralized mobile and online applications through the blockchain will also provide many beneficial applications to build trust in government and incentivize more people to participate and care about the local economy and politics. Shawn intends to invest in and crowdsource a decentralized application for community involvement which will incentivize and tokenize the good works we do in the community and build a safe place for local exchange.

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PRESERVE AND STRENGTHEN THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE IN HAWAIʻI

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          Cash Crop(s) of the Future

Shawn grew up in Aiea Hawai'i and remembers seeing the last of the sugarcane operations close. Since then Hawai'i has solely relied on the tourism industry as the main economic driver for the State. While Shawn is happy to see the recent push for agriculture by the local government he will continue to look for ways to innovate and provide benefit for the people of Hawai'i. Whether hemp, breadfruit or other diverse and sustainable options, Shawn believes that bringing a cash crop back to Hawai'i will benefit all especially if it is structured in a way that puts people first and keeps the money in our communities.

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          Feed our Families and Each Other

There is no better and faster way to build trust and relationships than by feeding people. Shawn wants to build connections with our food and where they come from. He will look to support and foster programs that focus on education, access and community around food in our state and Community. Shawn will grow food, highlight farms and farmers in community and look to sponsor opportunities for potlucks and other food exchanges. Becoming food sustainable is a long term goal but it starts in our communities and how we think about food. Shawn wants to change the mindset to local and sustainable to ensure our food supply can feed all families in our State.

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SUPPORT STRONG LABOR
PRACTICES, GOOD JOBS, AND LIVING WAGE

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          Inspire Passion, Connection and Purpose in Our Work

Shawn believes that productivity at work is directly tied to how connected you are to that work. As a millennial “9 to 5” is a dirty word, I can sit in an office from 9 to 5 and do next to nothing. Productivity is all about how connected you are to what you do. Those who love to work with their hands will excel in construction or environments that support that passion. While in office, Shawn will foster, grow and support networking, entrepreneurship and mentorship opportunities that build up and inspire strong connections within our passions to help people find purpose in their communities.

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          Lower Barriers of Entry

Hawai'i is one of the hardest places to do business and has some of the highest costs of living in comparison to working wages. For many locals the only path to decent pay is to move to the mainland, make a name and then lateral back home for less pay. Shawn is dedicated to finding ways that make it easier to get ahead and get connected to the local economy. Shawn will support legislation that makes it easier for local people to create and get hired in jobs that serve our communities. Barriers of entry include access to capital, monopolization by large corporations, limited distribution and import options, over regulation in certain sectors and experience requirements for State and government jobs. The goal is to make it easier to join into the markets and workplaces that benefit the people of Hawai'i first. 

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          Work Life Balance Rediscovered

It is time for a new generation of workers, leaders and innovators to step up and make things better for Hawaiʻi. This will likely mean we will need to change the way we view work and Shawn will be an advocate in the transition. Shawn supports 4 day work weeks, mandatory telework accommodations, a robust local technology support industry and incentivized community service days. Shawn believes that when we focus on providing a comfortable and connected work experience we will have a happier more productive workforce that is doing more than just surviving in Hawaiʻi. Local people deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor and the beautiful place we work hard to support. Putting people first means that we stay attentive to the needs of the working class. The pandemic proved that telework is a useful and impactful and  example after example shows that a four day work week helps workers without hurting businesses.

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SUPPORT MEASURES TO
DRASTICALLY REDUCE INCOME 
AND WEALTH INEQUALITY

          Put Local PEOPLE FIRST 

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Shawn is a People First Democrat which means that every legislative issue or decision he makes will be through the lens of: "does this put the interest of local people first". If the effort benefits corporations, government or other interest before people then Shawn will challenge and advocate for the biggest benefit to people possible. Shawn believes the government’s job is to provide runways out of poverty and to improve our quality of life. When Shawn talks about people, he is talking about the average local person who is often working multiple jobs and living in a multi-generational or other cooperative living arrangements just to get by. Shawn believes the best way to bridge the wealth gap is to cater to people and not to those with money and power in hopes of them making things better for others. 

          Public Investment Opportunities

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The best way to build wealth is to invest in opportunities that provide returns and support your passive income. Most people do not have the time, excess funds or expertise to actively invest in the markets. Beyond that most investments are for large corporations that people have very little connection too beyond the dividends. Shawn wants to keep as much money in the Hawai'i economy as possible and part of that means giving local investment opportunities for people to invest in local companies, concepts and projects. Leveraging blockchain and other crowdsourcing platforms, Shawn will advocate in office for ways for people to invest locally and share in the risk and success of local innovation instead of faceless corporate entities. The more opportunity we give people to invest in their communities and create income in support of brands and businesses they can be a part of, the more wealth we can create for the people who need it.

          Real Affordable Housing

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Shawn is deeply concerned about the increase in the wealth gap that took place during the pandemic. Many local businesses had to close and many people chose to leave home with wealthy buyers buying up their property. One of the best way to reduce the wealth gap is to address the home and property ownership issue. Shawn understands that addressing the ownership to keep people in Hawai'i and connected to their culture and heritage is important to the success of our state. In office Shawn will advocate for real solutions to address the housing issues across the state in a way that puts local families and people first. The approach will need the support of the body of legislators which is why we need to support people first candidates this year that will fight for real solutions to this important issue.

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PROTECT AND RESTORE THE CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS OF EACH PERSON

          Constitutional Literacy

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The best way to protect and restore the rights of each person is to make sure they understand those rights and how they benefit society. The Hawai'i Constitution governs our bill of rights and enshrines equal protections under the law. Shawn is a veteran who served to defend and uphold the constitution and a strong believer in protecting the rights of those with whom we disagree. He will be a staunch advocate of the constitution and will make sure that all laws and resolutions uphold the intent and protections outlined in its sections. Shawn will work with community leaders and programs to put on constitutional literacy classes to make sure that this education is readily available for all members of our communities. 

          Equal Opportunity

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Hawai'i is the tradewinds and melting pot of the pacific, our diversity has created a culture of strength, respect and innovation of how we can live together and build resilient communities. While there is beauty in what exists today, there are also challenges and things that need to be addressed to make things better. Shawn grew up a democrat because of the fundamental responsibility to make things better for the less fortunate. Shawn didn't grow up with much but would give the shirt off his back to help others, especially underdogs or those who are facing hard times. The Government has a role in ensuring an equal playing field for everyone to have access to education, healthcare and opportunities that can help them to succeed. While in office Shawn will advocate for all fiscally and socially responsible programs that provide equal opportunity and incentives to work and strive for success. Shawn wants to be a humble but strong public servant for all the people of his district and Hawai'i because we should be judged by how we treat the least of our society not the rich or powerful.

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SUPPORT THE RIGHTS OF NATIVE HAWAIIANS AND THE PRESERVATION OF NATIVE HAWAIIAN CULTURE

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          The Roots of our Culture

Hawai'i does not have the egotistic "me first" western culture or the traditional/feudal eastern culture instead it has a mixed culture of toughness, respect and generosity that is most deeply rooted in the Kanaka Maoli people. Kanaka are some of the most giving and loving people on the planet. That giving nature was taken advantage of on numerous occasions which has left national and racial wounds, many of which are unaddressed to this day. Shawn believes we must invest in our communities and none are more important than those rooted in Kanaka culture and traditional practices. Shawn will listen, support and lift up the voice of Kanaka people in maintaining strong connections to their land and their practices. We need to keep our roots strong so when the Kanaka are hurting we should all be paying attention and helping to address their concerns in what is happening to this place. Hawaiian sovereignty and Kanaka rights are often large, complex and emotional topics. Many of them it will not be his place to speak on. Shawn only here to be a representative of people and to encourage solution oriented conversations on our toughest topics. His personal efforts will be on keeping the culture Shawn was blessed to grow up in alive and strong for future generations.

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          Native Practices and Purpose

Native Hawaiian people and practices are steeped in sustainability, the connection to the land ensured that the people had all they needed to survive and practice their way of life. Shawn supports land usage and stewardship, food cultivation and preparation and story telling through arts and dance centered in native Hawaiian practices. Shawn will support OHA and DHHL programs that put native Hawaiian people first and directly benefit them over organizations and institutions that have long gate kept access and opportunity afforded to the native people. Shawn also supports the barter system and the removal of the Jones Act to make boat making and supplying the islands with native sources a honored and revered profession. Shawn does not speak for these communities but will participate and advocate as appropriate.

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SUPPORT TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT AND FREE, FAIR, AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS

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          The Only Thing That Matters This Election

There are millions of well meaning voters across the country who have distrust in our democratic elections. That fact should be concerning to everyone in Hawai'i that believes that their vote should matter. To Shawn it doesn't matter what happened in past elections what matters is that everyone care and get involved in making the 2022 election one that is without contest. Everyone has the voice and the vote to say how we should be represented in government, if that voice is silenced then we are without representation. Shawn believes there is no greater single issue this election cycle than voter integrity and open access to all those who know we can do better and wants to cast a vote in that direction. 

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          A Time to Heal

All of the political turmoil of the last decade has left many wounds in families and relationships across the State. Shawn wants this to be a non-partisan issue to silence a question that should have never been asked. Democrats in Hawai'i have a duty to stand up for free and fair elections and make every reasonable effort to provide transparency and access to all those with concerns. We all have a duty to participate in whatever capacity we can to ensure this election has as much integrity as possible. If we can  come together as a people over this issue it can start to build trust and connection to our Constitutional Republic that allows for people to finally heal and move on to making things better for everyone.

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PROVIDE AN EXCELLENT, FREE PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS AT EVERY LEVEL

Shawn is a proud graduate of Moanalua High School and the Hawai'i public school system. Despite the many great things he learned there are some areas that were glaringly missing from the formative years. Financial and Constitutional literacy being some of the most important. Shawn believes that high school should instill at least one independent skill or passion for each graduate. Access beyond just clubs should be given to media, medical, food and trades and trade school skills should be more integrated into the curriculum. It is important that we produce young minds and hands to contribute to our society as soon as possible. Finally, education should be personal and every family should have a say in how their child moves through the public education system. 

          Education for Success

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          Affordable and Accessible Higher Education

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Shawn had to join the military in order to pay for college and still walked away with some debt. Most young people leave college with crippling debt and little prospects. With bachelors becoming the new high school diploma for most jobs education has become a major barrier of entry from wealth or success in many industries. Shawn believes that everyone should be entitled to a higher education and the opportunity to advance their learning beyond grade school. In office Shawn will advocate for ways to make education more attainable and affordable for local people. If we truly want to accomplish many of the lofty goals of the Democratic party platform then we need to start by raising up and educating as many people as we can. Higher Education should be a human right for all those who seek it.

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SUPPORT A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO ENDING POVERTY

          No One Size Fits All Answer

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Ending homelessness and other effects of poverty is not something that can be done with a single approach. Poverty in most of its forms are a side effect or symptom of a sick society. Especially in light of the pandemic and the poverty caused by last few years, it is important that we focus on healing and putting people first to address the wounds in our communities. Shawn realizes these are very complex issues that will need the participation of many stakeholders and he will work to bring caring voices and hands to the table. The formula for healing is finding/building connections and purpose for people in society. When you have connection and purpose you will produce which will provide resources and opportunity for success. Each person and circumstance will need to find its own connection and purpose and we must have a flexible approach that allows for individualized care and investment in tackling this worthy issue.

PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY AND FREE HEALTHCARE FOR EVERY HUMAN BEING

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          Healthcare is a Human Right

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One of the saddest moments of the pandemic was the Federal Governments unwillingness to take a floor vote for Universal basic healthcare that could have saved thousands of lives. While this is a complex issue and I believe in the innovation of independent for profit hospitals, there is an abundant need for free and accessible healthcare in our communities. Shawn believes that access to fundamental health services is a right that should be afforded to every human. Care clinics and community hospitals which are supported by their community members should be accessible and free to provide independent and individualized care for the people. Shawn will always advocate for medical independence and the right for patients and families to choose and have access to the basic care that fits their medical needs and decisions.

          Functional Medicine and Health

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Medicine and clinical healthcare is just one aspect of a healthy person and community. Shawn is dedicated to promoting, pursing and establishing healthy opportunities for mental, physical and nutritional success. He will be establishing morning walking and jogging groups, volunteering at agricultural sites and promoting safe places for fellowship and conversation. In legislature Shawn will look to draft and support bills and resolutions that promote healthy lifestyles and incentivize organizations and people to participate in building a healthy routine. Functional health does not just look to address the symptoms of illness but also focuses on the root causes that can prevent the symptoms and maintain your body, mind and spirit. These efforts will be designed to lesssen the burden on healthcare systems that rely on Government subsidies to make sure that resources go to the ones who need it most.

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PROTECT AND PRESERVE HAWAIʻI'S ENVIRONMENT AND ACHIEVE ENERGY SUSTAINABILITY

          Life of the Land

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The islands of Hawai'i are truly one of the natural wonders of the world and nowhere is this more apparent than under the Majestic Ko'olau Mountains. We are the stewards of this great blessing and it is our responsibility to ensure it is preserved for future generations. The Kanaka people understood that if we take care of this land, it will surely take care of us. Shawn believes we must get back to this understanding and connect to that land that provides us life. Shawn will be regularly serving at cultural and agricultural sites along the Windward side to ensure he is remaining humble in his place on this island. He will advocate in legislature and stand with all those who protect and preserve our natural resources and look to incentive the connection between the people and the land that feeds us.

          Sustainable Practices

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Based in our appreciation and connection to the islands, Hawai'i should be a global leader in providing innovative sustainable practices. This sustainability should translate to how we produce and consume our daily necessities. Shawn will advocate for making easy and affordable adoption of sustainable energy, recycling and repurposing efforts across our islands. His focus will be on concepts, initiatives and innovations created right here in Hawai'i. We should lead the way and be a worldwide example of using our amazing location and natural resources to benefit the people, create jobs and fufill our responsibilities. Mainland companies and concepts can have their place in the market but the Government should be encouraging home grown solutions that lean on our culture and connection to the best place on Earth.

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SUPPORT ALL MILITARY PERSONNEL AND VETERANS WHILE PROTECTING OUR ʻĀINA

          Pride and Responsibility to Protect and Serve

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Shawn proudly served in the U.S. Army and as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Serving your country in that manner is something that should be respected and appreciated by all those who enjoy the freedom it defends. Our veterans and armed forces are a part of our society and must share the responsibilities of caring for our islands. In legislature Shawn will advocate for programs and initiatives that seek to education and integrate service members into the culture of Hawai'i and empower them to help in protecting our land and natural resources. He will also ensure that supporting military members does not have unintended consequences for the local people of Hawai'i who are already struggling with the cost of living. While the military has its place in Hawai'i that place is not above the people or islands. The Red Hill Tanks and Cost of Living Allowances are examples of military initiatives that cause harm to the local people of Hawai'i. We must always seek balance between freedom and security through the lense of people first and protecting our inalienable rights. Shawn believes that his time in service helped to shape the man he is today and will always be grateful for the opportunity he had to honorably serve our country. He looks forward to continuing to serve and support those who serve and sacrifice in our armed forces.

          After Service Care

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Shawn benefitted greatly from his time in service and had a good support system to help him transition after deployment and end of service term. However, thousands of veterans are displaced every year after transitioning out of service without those systems. Shawn believes the government has a responsibility to ensure there are community programs designed to support those who support our freedom and that emphasis should be given to address veteran mental health, homelessness and rehabilitation for those in needs. 

NO DIVIDE AND CONQUER
TACTICS

Shawn Richey believes we the people of Hawai'i have far more in common than we have that separates us. Certain issues and topics are not designed to bring people together but rather to keep us divided. While Shawn may have a perspective on these issues, his opinion is no more important than anyone else's. He will call out and stay away from these topics as much as possible. Shawn is running to build a middle ground as a high ground where people can come together on what unites us to make things better.

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LET YOUR FAITH LEAD YOUR POLITICS

Do not let your politics lead your faith. Shawn Richey believes in people and that every single person is created perfectly and deserves to be equally represented under the law. While he will commit himself to the ideals of the Democrat platform he will remain rooted in his faith of love, peace and purpose. Shawn will strive to never be sectarian and denounces all forms of supremacy including religious ones. His foundation is built on something bigger than himself which allows him to remain a humble servant to the people.