Now That You’re Out, Which of Your Two Former Opponents Will You Support?

Here is a question that has come from supporters of both Don Guzman and Alan Fukuyama. They basically want to know who I will support in the general election.

First, I do want to thank the nearly 3,000 people who voted for me. It is disappointing to go into something and then not win, but I am so excited to have gotten that many votes my first time ever. I basically was a one man team because I entered late and didn’t have time to put together a team. I also had no budget, and really no idea how to do a campaign. Yet, I still managed that many votes. I am excited to think about what I could do with a good campaign manager and a real team. I have already got volunteers for next time and a professional photographer. Now for the question.

I have to support Alan Fukuyama at this point. The reason is that he stands for a lot of the same things I do. He wants to help small business and is more favorable to a free enterprise system that I support. Our ideas might differ a little on how to go about it, but we want the same thing which is more small locally owned business.

Although I do respect Don Guzman, there is just too much that I can’t support. The two main ones are that he really wants to push the Island Plan and I personally hate it. It is a very complicated document that nobody has time to read. I would like to see a shorter document that is easy to understand. The US Constitution is the longest running constitution ever. It is only 21 pages long and is in very simple language. It is also set up to where it can be amended. That makes me wonder why does this Island Plan have to over 300 pages and in such complicated and confusing language.

The other thing is that I don’t support candidates endorsed by the Sierra Club. They are the organization that uses the environment as an excuse to shut down any great business idea before it gets going. Do not mistake that with actually caring for the environment. It is more about political interests and deep pockets. They endorse candidates in every race so they can control the government. They have way too much power and the voters need to realize this.

Based on all that, I am endorsing Alan Fukuyama.




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What Has the Campaign Process Been Like?

Landry from Wailea asks, “Candidate McLaughlin, I saw you on the forums and you looked very impressive. With the primaries this weekend, I am wondering what has the entire campaign process been like and will it be worth it if you don’t win?”

Excellent Question.

Let me address the first part. It has been an absolute blessing. The amount of things I have done and the people I have met have just been awesome. I got to meet Governor Lingle as well as other political leaders and share my story with them on why I decided to run. If nothing else, I know I got my issue with restrictions on small business out there. People’s eyes have been opened to this.

It has been a blessing to meet some of the other candidates who are also running because they want real change. They are Richard Pohle, Alana Kay, Lisa Gapero, Joe Blackburn, and Kanohowailuku Helm. Here are just regular people who see something wrong with the government and are willing to do something about it.

One thing I was nervous about at first was what would it be like when I met my two opponents Don Guzman and Alan Fukuyama. Surprisingly, meeting them has been one of the bigger blessings in this whole process. Although we are all running for the same position and we obviously won’t agree on everything, there is a mutual respect for what we are all willing to do. One thing I wish I could take back was when I was interviewed for Candid Candidate by Joe Kent was comments I made when asked why I was the best candidate. I did a little unnecessary mud slinging. I pride myself on not having to tear my opponents down to build myself up.

I have really grown to respect both of them and one of us will be eliminated this Saturday. While I hope to move on and want to win bad, I will be sad for either of them if they are eliminated. It is ironic because I am the guy who got sick of American Idol because I hate seeing the contestants cry for the other guy going home. It is them or you. But I guess I can see the point that we are all in this together and while we are competitors, there is a mutual respect.

The biggest blessing has been my daily encounters with people at the grocery store, gas stations, etc. They ask if I am the guy they saw on TV and tell me about themselves. One example was when I was eating pizza at Costco and a gentleman asked, “Aren’t you Erin McLaughlin?” I acknowledged and he asked if he could sit with me for a little while. He told me about how he knew so many people who tried to start small businesses but couldn’t the same way I couldn’t. He said that he was proud to have met me and that we need more regular people who are willing to step up. Words can’t even describe what a good feeling that is.

The only part that has been a little disappointing is that running for office is when you find out who your friends are. Part of that has been great like a guy at my church who when I gave him my card asked for about twenty more so he could pass them out at early morning prayer and they would pray for me. There are those who stepped up and did more than I ever expected they would. Unfortunately, there are those who I thought were my friends who I caught “talking smack” on Facebook and Craigslist. That did hurt because these were guys who had been to my place to watch football and guys that I worked with for years. In the end though, I am glad I found out the truth about them and I know they will ultimately have to face ultimate judgement for their actions.

Now for the second part as to if it is worth it if I don’t win.

That reminds me of when I first decided to run and I went around to get my petition signed. I went to my aunt who I love and respect and she told me I was wasting my time because Don Guzman will win. I think back to that day and think what I would have cheated myself out of if I had listened to that. I know she meant well and did not want me to fight a losing battle, but with all the blessings I have experienced I feel like I already won even if nobody votes for me.

A good friend who goes to my church told me last Sunday that regardless of what happens the blessing is in the process not the outcome. I couldn’t agree more.

This has been such a great blessing and a wonderful learning experience. If I don’t win this time, I will run again and have much more wisdom next time. Honestly, I recommend that everybody run at some point. It is the ultimate chance to make your voice heard and what is great about America is that everybody can.

But make no mistake of it, I want to win and I want to win bad.

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How Does McLaughlin Feel about Pay Raises Within the Council?

Here is a question from Mark B. Macanas of Makawao.

Mr. McLaughlin:

I would like to know your views on the Councilmen who gave their staffers whopping bonuses to “cover their overtime, etc.”?
I don’t think it’s fair at all to the other county workers who are being forced to curtail overtime and other expenses.
Mahalo for your time and consideration on this question.
To be Frank, it sickens me. Unfortunately, there is a “good ole boy network” within our local government. It seems that while everyone else is getting their pay cut and many have to work multiple jobs just to have barely enough. I would be fine with these raises if economic times were good and everyone was getting raises. However, if one group has to take a pay cut due to tough times than so should everybody else.
It kind of reminds me of about two years ago when I was working at TSA and the Federal Security Director announced that we had to take pay cuts due to tough economic times. The sad part was that the FSD did not take a pay cut himself.
I do understand tough economic times but everyone should have to sacrifice just like everyone should get rewarded in good economic times. I do want to be clear that I am referring to workers that deserve to be rewarded. If you have a worker who is always calling in, not as productive, etc. I am for incentive based raises if you can do it unilaterally.
I am absolutely against making cuts in one area and then giving raises in the high areas. This is my chance to call out the voters on this though. I have seen many letters to the Maui News complaining about the County Council doing this very thing. However, only three incumbents on the council are actually being contested. I decided to step up and run because of reasons such as these. This is just one matter of corruption that really sickens me. I hope that two years from now that no seat goes unopposed. Elected officials going unopposed means no accountability. Also, if you have a different kind of candidate you have to vote for him. You can’t continue to vote for the same people and expect change. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Thanks for the great question Mark and I hope to get your vote.
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Why Elect McLaughlin?

Here is a question from Ikaika from Upcountry. Why should I vote for you over Alan or Don?

That is a very fair question. Of course, he is referring to Mr. Fukuyama and Mr. Guzman. During this whole campaign process, I have crossed paths with both of them on a few occasions. I really like both of them a lot. They are good people and really good candidates. In all honesty, there are things on both of their resumes that I honestly cannot compete with. I am not denying that.

Now I can give you a bunch of crap about how I am better than them, but that is what that would be. The fact is that I am not claiming to be the best candidate. However, when putting together a basketball team, you can’t just fill the team with scorers. You also have to have rebounders and guys that can play defense.

I don’t feel that I am the best candidate in this race, but I feel very strongly that I am the right one. The reason being is that there is nothing unique about either Mr. Fukuyama or Mr. Guzman. You have heard what they say in every election. When is the last time Mr. Guzman had to pull graveyard on top of his legal career?

I am not bashing him for that. He has worked very hard to get where he is and his wife is a doctor. He says that he is truly blessed to live on Maui. With all due respect Mr. Guzman, you have lived a very blessed life. While Maui is a great place, it is very hard for people to live and make it here.

I worked as a teacher at Baldwin High School for 11 years. During most of that time, I had to work a second, and sometimes a third, job. I still struggled to make it. I could go on vacation maybe once every two years and it was just back home to Michigan. It is not like I was able to go to Europe.

That is the reality for too many families on Maui. I spoke recently to a local man at the plaza in Pukulani. He told me that he works two jobs and his wife has three. They had a family reunion a few weeks back in Kauai and they couldn’t afford to go. That is just another island and surely they could have stayed with family. Yet they couldn’t afford to go. Just think about how big of a problem that is. As much as my opponents will say that they will create opportunities for families like this, can they really be as passionate about this if they haven’t lived it?

My plan of lifting restrictions on small businesses is exactly what these people need. It will not only create more opportunities but it will also provide competition which will drive the prices down. They will have more and spend less.

This same gentleman told me that he would love to have more Upcountry. He says he hates having to go down to Wal Mart for something simple such as shoes. I asked if he would like a Wal Mart or something similar up there and he was all for that. That shows that contrary to the belief of a few, there are people here who want growth. I was fortunate  enough to meet State Senate District 7 candidate Kanohowailuku Helm recently. We both spoke at a Tea Party event. One thing he said really made sense. He said that he understands what the people want, but at some point the people need to start thinking in terms of what they need. I really enjoyed listening to him and I wish I could vote for him but he is not in my district.

The other thing with me that makes me the right choice is that I truly believe in government by the people. I believe and will push for the council allow the people to vote on major projects such as the Mega Mall in Kihei. That way there is nothing to protest when something passes.

I recognize that I don’t have all the answers, but I am good at finding someone who does have the answer I am looking for. If I were in office and had a legal question, Mr. Guzman would be the first person I would call. He is a very sharp attorney and I would be foolish not to use him. Mr. Fukuyama has a strong business background and I know there would be times I would utilize him as well.

In closing, there are many letters to the Maui News weekly complaining about the county council yet very few are willing to step up and oppose them. Also the voters continue to vote for the same thing. If you want something different, you have to vote for something different. As much as I like both Alan and Don, they are nothing different from what the council has had. If you want real change, then vote Erin McLaughlin on August 11.

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How Would McLaughlin Deal With Rising Bus Fares?

Here is a question from Bob from Wailuku. Candidate McLaughlin, I like to use the bus because I can save on gas. The fare just raised from one dollar to two dollars and while that is still cheaper than driving, I am afraid that the price will continue to rise. What do you plan to do about this?

That is an unfortunate reality that the bus fares did just rise because the operation was losing money and not making money. I have noticed that since the fare went up on July 1, that the buses are less full. Therefore, that won’t really increase profit.

My solution to this is a very simple and effective one. I never would have raised prices. I look on the bus and I see all kinds of ad spaces. In those spaces though, you see things like “Clear the Smoke,” “Buckle Up,” “Go Green,” etc. While those are great community service messages, they don’t bring money to the county.

I am all for seeing a McDonalds or a Coke sign or even local businesses such as Boss Frog’s. The system could make a lot of money on commercial advertising. I would even like to see ads on the outside of the bus and ads at all the bus stops on the seats and the walls. The bus system could make so much money doing this that they could actually lower the fares.

I already know that there unfortunately will be opposition to this idea from those who think they speak for all of Maui. They will say things like, “This ain’t the mainland,” and “we are against commercialization.” They would even use the whales if they could.

I can see it now. “The glare on the ad will reflect on the ocean and it will blind the poor whale,” or some other ridiculous point to satisfy their own political agenda. They will tell me that “We are anti-corporate America and we don’t want it.”

My response to that is ask the people who ride the bus and they will tell you otherwise. They are “anti Paying more.” I know this because I have shared this idea with many regular bus users and all have thought it is a great idea. I have said before that I am for letting people vote on ideas because I am a true believer in government by the people. I would be happy to put this up for vote too, but I feel that only those who regularly use the bus should be allowed to vote. The reason is because they are the ones affected by it.

Thanks for the great question Bob.

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Why Is McLaughlin Running For County Council?

Here is a question from an anonymous asker that I have sat on a couple days. I don’t like to do that but I needed to hear the word of God before addressing this question that is not about any issues. The Question is “Why is Neil Sorenson being such a creep and is it true that you are only running to get a permit to rent jet skis?

I don’t really want to spend a lot of time on the first part of the question because I don’t know why he is doing it. The folks from the other jobs I have done on Maui are all very supportive and proud of what I am doing. For whatever reason, some of my former co-workers at TSA seem to have issue with it and Mr. Sorenson seems to be the worst.

Again I have no idea why. I worked with him for years and we never had any trouble that I am aware of. What I do know is that he will have to answer to his maker for the sins he is committing against me. Since I am new to this campaign stuff, I did ask advisors what I should do and they just laughed. They said that this guy doesn’t even realize that by drawing all this attention to my campaign, he is actually helping me. They said that if he really didn’t want you to win he would divert attention from the campaign. So thanks for your help Neil.

Now for the second part of the question. It is true that I tried to do a jet ski watersports business but the permitting process was a nightmare. It has caps on the number of permits that it allows. When one becomes available, it goes up for auction and the highest bidder gets it. That makes it very unfair for those who are just starting up. I came across many people who went through the same hurdles.

I feel that local laws need to be changed to help small businesses rather than not let them get started. If all I cared about was jet ski rentals, I would run for a state position not a county one.

The fact is this. Anybody who knows me knows that I gave my life to Jesus two years ago and since then I look to him for guidance. One night I was praying, aka talking to God. I asked him what I should do about this and he put the idea in my head to run for County Council. I first thought, “Are you joking God? I am flat broke and I know nothing about running a campaign.” Then God communed with me to just put my name on the ballot and enter the race and the rest will take care of itself. I obey God because he always proves to me whenever I doubt him that he knows what he is doing.

So contrary to what you hear from Mr. Sorenson or anybody else, that is why I decided to run. That is why I laugh when he insists I drop out of the race. I will not disobey my savior. I am not sure if it is God’s plan for me to win, but I know why he wanted me to run. This experience has really been a blessing and the more I tell my story, the more people become aware of the corruption and greed that has ruled this island for far too long.

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What Other Candidates Does McLaughlin Support?

Jason from Kahului asks, “Who are some of the candidates for other seats you would most like to serve on the council with if elected?”

That is really an excellent question. If elected, I would be one member on a council of nine. Therefore, it is important to have other council members who have similar views. I have made no secret about it that I am for ousting as many as the incumbents as we can. They have not done a good job in helping local businesses and have really given in to small businesses.

I have to say that I really like Joe Blackburn running for the Wailuku seat. Coming from a diverse background including experience in police, fire, and real estate, Blackburn offers a view from a variety of places. He also believes that the laws should be designed to help businesses grow as opposed to how restricting it is now. I remember coaching his youngest son Patrick in JV football when I was at Baldwin and his older son Ikaika was on varsity. Both were great and well disciplined. A man that takes care of business at home is a good man to have in office.

One race I am a bit torn on is the Kihei race between incumbent Don Couch and Alana Kay. Although I have been an advocate to get the incumbents out, I first met Couch at Governor Lingle’s birthday. I really got the sense that he is a guy I can work with and that he would be receptive to my ideas of free enterprise. However, I really like Kay too. I have seen her at Tea Party meetings and she like me would like to see a government that operates with integrity.

The candidate I really would look forward to working with would be Upcountry candidate Richard Pohle. I recently met him at a luncheon put on by the Realtors for the county candidates. Pohle heard me sharing my ideas of free enterprise and reducing government spending with some of the realtors and he put his plate down, came over to our table and said, “I agree with everything he just said.”

He shares my ideas of free enterprise and letting capitalism govern itself with the Law of Supply and Demand. Pohle also shares my views of reducing the size of government to cut spending. He also feels that it is not the responsibility of government to give to non-profits.

Pohle is very knowledgeable about the water supply issue and I like his ideas on how to address it.

Pohle and I really hit it off and we started campaigning for each other at the rest of the event.  Pohle is contesting incumbent Gladys Baisa and there are no other candidates. Therefore, he is through the primaries already. If I am done after the primaries, I will help him with his campaign.

Thanks for the great question.


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