By: J . S.
Val Okimoto represents House District 36, including both Mililani and Mililani Mauka in the center of Oahu. Rep. Okimoto is a Republican and was elected to the state House of Representatives in November of 2018. Prior to election she was a special education teacher at Makalapa Elementary School and Highlands Intermediate School. As one of four Republican House Representatives she has focused strongly on family values, education, economics, and government transparency during her time in legislature. She is active in her community, serving on the Mililani Town Association, as president of the local Relief Society chapter and as a school community council member for Mililani ‘Ike Elementary.
Val Okimoto is originally from Kauai and attended school there, graduating high school with honors and going on to attend Brigham Young University. There she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in Business Management, again graduating with honors. Rep. Okimoto continued her education further by earning a Special Education Teaching Certificate from Chaminade University of Honolulu. She now lives in Mililani with her family, including her children who attend public school in the Mililani community.
Rep. Okimoto’s key focuses are family, economy, education, citizens having a voice in government and responsible decision making in government. On her website, Rep. Okimoto states that she is not a professional politician. Rather, she lives and works in Mililani, understands community concerns and wishes to be a voice for that community.
On family values, Rep. Okimoto believes in empowering families rather than regulating them. “In a society where families are becoming an afterthought at best, I want to ensure that parents are empowered to educate and rear their children with minimal government interference in a safe environment.” She states on her website. Her belief is that if we want vibrant and flourishing communities, it must start at home. She has voted against bills that could harm families through the use of vague language like Senate Bill 1047.
District 36’s Representative also believes in empowering schools at the classroom level through stronger advocacy. As a former Special Education Teacher, she believes that government measures must be classroom driven. To this end Rep. Okimoto has introduced several bills focused on education. House Bill 1159 would require the department of education to establish and administer a career and technology program that will provide aviation and aviation mechanics education and training to high school students. House Bill 1137 would establish an online early learning education program. To assist teachers in covering classroom expenses, she introduced House Bill 791 which offers a special tax credit on certain expenses to Pre-K through 12th grade educators and assistants.
It is clear from Rep. Okimoto’s website that she is not a fan of Big Government. She shares that “it seems clear that Hawaii’s citizens are losing trust in their elected officials. Too many of the current officials are self-serving politicians who are clueless on the daily concerns and values of those they supposedly represent. I am not a professional politician. Living and working in our community with many of you, I understand your concerns and believe that I can be your voice. What is important to you, is important to me. PEOPLE MATTER MORE THAN POSITION OR POLITICS.”
As a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in Accounting, fiscal responsibility tops Rep. Okimoto’s list of important issues she wishes to address upon re-election. She has opposed bills such as Senate Bill 1190 that proposed offering 99 year leases on state lands.