Josh Green is a husband, a father, an ER doctor, and Hawaii’s Lt. Governor.
More than twenty years ago, Josh started caring for local families as a doctor in a small clinic on Big Island.
He became part of the community and got to know the challenges people faced, like the high cost of living, the lack of affordable housing, and the plague of addiction.
So he ran for office, serving in the State House and State Senate from 2004 to 2018 and making a difference in people’s lives, like providing healthcare for every child in Hawaii, more resources to treat addiction, and insurance coverage for kids with autism.
In 2005, Josh met Jaime Ushiroda, a local girl from Kaneohe, and they were married in 2006.
In 2018, Josh became Hawaii’s Lt. Governor, and when he saw the need for real solutions on homelessness, he helped build kauhale communities and the H4 clinic to provide housing and care for those in need.
When a measles epidemic hit Samoa in 2019, Josh led a team of doctors and nurses from Hawaii, and within 48 hours they vaccinated 37,000 people and protected Samoa’s children.
Just a few months later COVID hit Hawaii, and as COVID liaison Josh led the largest healthcare response in state history, pulling Hawaii together to vaccinate over a million people, protect our kupuna, and save thousands of lives.
Josh and his wife Jaime share the values of Hawaii — family and community, diversity, and a responsibility to future generations.
Together they are the proud parents of 15 year-old daughter Maia and 11 year-old son Sam.
Today, Josh continues to work as an Emergency Room doctor on weekends, caring for local families as he has for over 20 years.
Our Values and Vision for Hawaii’s Future
I’m running for Governor because Hawaii needs elected leaders we can trust — to tell us the truth, keep us safe and informed, to care about working families, and to be transparent and accountable to the people.
It’s important that voters know the values that my wife Jaime and I bring to public service, because our values will shape the policies we propose, support, and fight for on behalf of the people of Hawaii.
Along with most people in our islands, we share the values of family, community, respect for basic human dignity, and responsibility to future generations.
We are a family like thousands of other families in Hawaii. We have two young children in school, and their safety, health, and education are the most important things in the world to us. We work hard to save money so we can send them to college one day. We are blessed to have an extended family of aunties, uncles, and cousins who are there for us when we need help and support. We feel lucky and grateful to live in Hawaii, and we want to give back to our community and serve others.
Jaime and I believe that Hawaii is one Ohana, and we must always treat every member of our family with dignity and respect and listen to each other with compassion, even if we don’t always agree.
We recognize and celebrate that Hawaii is a family of many languages, ethnicities and religions, of every age, gender, and sexual orientation, including all shapes, colors, and abilities, and that our diversity is our greatest strength.
We believe that young people in Hawaii should not have to leave our islands because they can’t afford housing or find economic opportunity here. That working people should earn a living wage, and no one in our state who works full time should live in poverty. That no parent should have to choose between earning a living and caring for a sick child, or between buying food or affording medicine.
Jaime and I also believe that in Hawaii we should never turn our backs on anyone or leave anyone behind. That means those struggling with addiction or mental illness should have access to treatment and recovery. It also means that when people are in real need, whether from unemployment, eviction, or homelessness, they should have access to support to help get them back on their feet. No one should go chronically hungry or homeless in our islands.
As parents of two children growing up in Hawaii, Jaime and I will do everything we can to help build the future that we want them to live in. A more just, peaceful, prosperous, and tolerant future where every person has the educational and economic opportunities they need to pursue their goals and dreams, where we treat each other with respect and dignity as members of one Ohana.
A future where we can all rise together.
Hawaii’s housing crisis has reached a state of emergency.
It’s an issue that impacts us all in some way, touching almost every other major challenge we face as a state.
It affects our ability to deal with urgent issues like homelessness, the cost of living, education, access to healthcare, workforce shortages, Native Hawaiian concerns, economic inequality, and more.
Young people in Hawaii can’t afford to live on their own, with thousands choosing to move to the mainland for good.
Essential workers either give up their struggle to find affordable housing and leave our state, or turn down opportunities to work here in the first place.
Hawaii suffers a chronic shortage of 1,200 teachers each year as we struggle to retain qualified and experienced educators, mainly due to our high cost of living and unaffordable housing.
In 1920, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands was created to deliver land to Native Hawaiians for homesteading. More than a century later, DHHL has more than 28,000 Native Hawaiians on its rolls while holding over 200,000 acres of unused land.
Today, Native Hawaiians are twice as likely to become homeless in Hawaii, a disparity that is both unjust and cruelly ironic.
Tens of thousands of illegal vacation rentals and empty investor units flood our state, reducing the supply of affordable housing and inflating prices. Luxury developments consume land and infrastructure resources, and military housing allowances further impact supply.
We must take action now, and commit to a new era of building affordable homes for Hawaii’s working families.
After consulting with experts and stakeholders from across the state, I have put together a 10-point emergency plan to address our housing crisis which, if I am elected governor, will start on day one of my administration:
Emergency Housing Plan for Hawaii
- Immediately issue an executive order to all state and county housing agencies to speed up construction of affordable housing by eliminating red tape, streamlining processes and approvals, and coordinating efforts to address the crisis.
- Make housing for Hawaii residents our top priority by aggressively enforcing existing laws to shut down the 25,000 illegal vacation rentals across the state, taxing the 35,000 vacant investor units, and limiting permits and increasing taxes on new luxury developments by out of state investors.
- Create a “Path to Home Ownership” for first-time home buyers and essential workers with a new state-subsidized loan program, including financial education and assistance to help navigate the home buying process.
- Create an Office of Emergency Housing to serve as a “one stop shop” to eliminate bureaucratic red tape and provide faster services and approvals.
- Use vacant state lands to build affordable homes and rentals with federal, state, and private partnerships.
- Continue to increase the rental housing revolving fund, increase the low income housing tax credit, and create new deductions and incentives for long term rentals to low and middle income families.
- Direct the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to deliver land immediately to Native Hawaiian beneficiaries for homesteading, and to work with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to build housing for Native Hawaiians.
- Reduce homelessness by building kauhale housing villages and funding new programs, services, and incentives such as vouchers to house the homeless.
- Work with the counties to lower the costs of building affordable housing by addressing water, sewer, park, and other fees as well as zoning and exaction requirements, all while maintaining environmental protections.
- Work with Hawaii’s Congressional delegation to increase federal housing voucher funding, homeless funding, infrastructure funding, and a bond cap increase to build housing.
- We must also reach out to our construction industry, labor unions, the U.S. military, and every other major employer and stakeholder in Hawaii to bring to bear their expertise, manpower, and capital to aid in this effort.
We will partner with developers across the state to build tens of thousands of new units of affordable housing, which will in turn create new jobs, build our communities, and grow our economy.
Our housing crisis will likely continue to be the most challenging issue we face in the coming years.
It will be crucially important that our next governor comes into office with the trust, credibility, and the strongest possible plan to take on this challenge.
Over the last ten years in Hawaii, we have not done enough to keep the cost of housing affordable by meeting the demand for low-cost units designed for working families.
That’s why we will partner with builders and developers across the state to build thousands of new units of affordable housing, which will in turn create new jobs, build our communities, and grow our economy.
We must address homelessness in Hawaii, and I have a plan to do it.
It will take compassion, commitment, and significant resources to take on this challenge — as well as leadership, political will, and bold action from our elected officials, and the cooperation of organizations across our state working together and implementing multiple approaches.
I believe we can reduce homelessness in Hawaii by more than 50% over the next four years, and effectively eliminate chronic homelessness as we currently experience it in our state by 2030.
As a State Senator and as Lt. Governor, I have made fighting homelessness a top priority.
I helped create the H4 clinic, a public-private partnership that serves as a new healthcare model for the homeless, and I partnered with HomeAid Hawaii to build the first “kauhale” communities.
Working with homeless communities and advocates across the state, and caring for patients as an ER doctor, I have learned that shelter is a fundamental human need like food and water, and is necessary to sustain health.
Housing is healthcare, and should be considered a basic right in a civilized society.
Chronic homelessness involves many factors — social, economic, medical, and legal — each of which must be addressed to break the cycle and get people into permanent housing.
Unaddressed poverty, addiction, and mental illness are at the root of homelessness in Hawaii, and the costs to our state and our society are enormous.
First and foremost is the human cost to the unhoused in terms of physical and mental suffering, hopelessness, and the loss of human potential and productivity.
Homelessness exposes people to greater risk of injury and infection, often makes existing mental illness and addiction worse, and can inflict long-term traumatic stress.
Our state also bears huge social and financial costs associated with chronic homelessness.
Hawaii has one of the highest rates of homelessness per capita in the nation, with over 10,000 people chronically homeless at any given time.
In Hawaii, 3.6% of patients use 61% of our nearly $3 billion annual Medicaid budget — that’s just 13,000 people who consume well over $1 billion in Medicaid each year, or an average of $82,000 per person per year.
Providing permanent housing to a homeless person can reduce the cost to the state by 43-73%, saving as much as $60,000 in Medicaid per person per year.
These facts begin to show the scale of both the human and social costs of chronic homelessness in Hawaii, and the urgent need for effective policy solutions.
Consulting with experts and working with organizations across the state for the last six years, I have developed a 10-point plan of action to implement a statewide approach to healthcare, social services, and housing for the chronically homeless that I believe can address this challenge in Hawaii over the next decade:
Dramatically increase outreach to the chronically homeless, improving trust and communication with the unhoused community and creating a compassionate, clear, and effective protocol to identify each individual’s needs for healthcare, social services, and temporary shelter, and a pathway to help them move toward permanent housing.
Deploy Lift Zones around the state — inflatable, non-permanent tent structures in areas of need where the homeless can live for up to 90 days while they receive healthcare, social services, and support in transitioning to permanent shelter, and where law enforcement can monitor day to day activity and provide security.
Increase access to existing homeless shelters and provide the resources needed to expand access to medical and social services, with the goal of transitioning people into permanent housing.
Open Joint Outreach Centers (JOCs) across the state, free clinics that provide basic healthcare to the homeless, treating minor illnesses and injuries and preventing them from becoming major medical issues, alleviating strain on hospitals and helping the homeless avoid expensive emergency room visits.
JOCs primarily provide wound care and mental healthcare, including long-acting anti-psychotic medications, and JOCs works in collaboration with law enforcement, social service agencies, and housing coordinators to help the homeless receive healthcare, housing, and other programs and resources.
One of our initial JOC locations in Chinatown treated over 1,200 unique patients in the first 10 months of operation, saving our healthcare system an average of $105,000 per week.
Expand and improve the H4 — a public-private partnership intended to provide comprehensive services to the chronically homeless, including a hygiene center, a free clinic that is always open, access to social workers and mental health professionals, and permanent housing space, with each H4 facility saving between $40 – 60 million per year in ER visits, hospital stays, and serious long-term health consequences.
Build kauhale communities across the state — permanent, sustainable housing sites on public lands in villages of tiny houses of up to 300 people, costing between $2.5 – $5 million each and integrated with medical and social services for residents.
“Kauhale” is a Hawaiian term meaning “village,” a traditional cultural model of housing consisting of tiny homes and communal areas for cooking and gathering, all meant to foster a sense of community and ownership, with average monthly rent of $250 per tiny house.
The first two kauhale communities are already thriving in Waianae and Waimanalo, with the ten more intended for Oahu and the neighbor islands.
- Expand access to addiction and mental health treatment for the homeless, including more addiction specialists, social workers and greater availability of same day detox, wetbeds at shelters, formal rehab services and referrals, and placement in halfway houses and sober homes for those struggling with addiction.
I will also direct under-utilized healthcare facilities like Leahi Hospital and the Hawaii State Hospital to operate at full capacity to care for those with serious health needs.
Implement the Assisted Community Treatment (ACT) law empowering family members and concerned citizens to help homeless individuals who are suffering from severe mental illness and addiction, allowing them to receive the help they need.
Designate Ohana Zones to provide of places refuge for the homeless, end sweeps, and reduce the constant pressure of the homeless congregating in public parks and beaches.
The state legislature appropriated funds again in 2022 to fund this initiative, and at least three locations offer water, bathrooms and support services will be necessary on Oahu, and one each on Maui, Big Island, and Kauai.
- Commit to Permanent Supportive Housing — the “Housing First” model — providing low barrier housing to those ready to accept that level of support, intended to achieve harm reduction and housing continuity.
Chronic homelessness in Hawaii is a challenge that affects all of us — as community members, taxpayers, and as human beings.
With this policy roadmap I believe we can reduce homelessness in Hawaii by more than half over the next four years, and if we stay committed, practically eliminate it by the end of this decade.
Addressing and ultimately solving the challenge of homelessness is the right thing for us to do as a state — as well as the necessary, responsible, and moral thing to do.
Climate Change and Environment
With the right leadership, Hawaii has an opportunity to lead the world with our response to climate change in the coming years.
Our transition to a clean energy future is already well underway.
Hawaii has the highest proportion of rooftop solar panels in the entire country, and we are the only state in the nation whose legislature has declared a climate emergency and the only state with a statutory commitment to be carbon negative by 2045.
Fourteen states including California and Massachusetts have modeled their energy goals and policies on ours.
The Public Utilities Commission has already approved a plan by HECO to decarbonize the grid, and we are now building the solar farms that will replace our last coal-fired power plant, creating well-paying green jobs at the same time.
With federal assistance, Hawaii has a plan in place to build a statewide electric vehicle charging network which will create even more green jobs.
More people today work in the rooftop solar industry than work for HECO, and a high school graduate can get an entry-level job in the rooftop PV industry at $25 an hour or more.
But we need to do even more in the coming years to accelerate our progress, cut our dependence on fossil fuels, and invest in renewable and sustainable energy in our state.
Hawaii currently spends more than $3 billion a year on oil, while we have vast untapped renewable energy resources including solar, wind, geothermal, wave energy, ocean thermal, and biofuels.
Imagine what we could do with those $3 billion if we were producing our own renewable energy instead of spending it to import oil.
Building affordable, solar-powered housing for working families, ending chronic homelessness, investing in early childhood education and free community college, and creating a sustainable visitor industry with less social and environmental impact and more benefit to the people of Hawaii are just a few of the priorities that spring to mind.
As a State Senator, I sponsored Hawaii’s first renewable portfolio standards that mandated a substantial portion of Hawaii’s future energy production come from renewable energy sources.
I fought to make renewable energy more accessible to Hawaii’s residents and supported expansion of EV charging infrastructure and tax credits to encourage EV adoption, PV tax credits, tax credits for renewable fuels production.
As governor, I will implement the most ambitious plan in the nation to take on climate change and transition to clean energy.
My plan will:
- Lead the nation with the highest efficiency and emissions standards to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles statewide;
- Restore residential PV tax credits to kick start a new solar energy revolution so every roof in Hawaii can produce its own clean solar energy;
- Set a state facility efficiency goal of cutting energy use by at least 30% before 2030 and increasing the renewable energy generation of all state facilities;
- Implement a statewide climate change and resiliency plan to mitigate damage caused by rising sea levels;
- Invest new state and federal resources in a multi-billion dollar green economy and create thousands of new green jobs;
- Create new incentives for the development and manufacture of next-generation technologies to address the climate crisis right here in Hawaii;
- Complete the plan to build a statewide electric vehicle charging network which will create even more green jobs;
- Explore an impact fee to be collected from every visitor and re-invested in solar-powered affordable housing for working families and maintaining Hawaii’s parks and beaches;
- Upgrade and improve our energy, water, wastewater, and transportation infrastructure;
- Advance smart growth initiatives and multimodal transportation systems.
My administration will take the threat of climate change seriously.
We will take immediate action to protect Hawaii from the local effects of rising sea levels and destructive storms, and the long term global impacts of rising temperatures.
We don’t have to choose between growing our economy and addressing climate change; we can and must do both at the same time.
As we rebuild Hawaii’s economy in a post-COVID world, we will make historic, transformative public and private investments to launch a clean energy revolution that will lead the nation and the world in addressing the climate crisis.
Every child in Hawaii deserves a quality education, because few things are more important to creating opportunity in a young person’s life.
My wife Jaime and I care about all of Hawaii’s children, and we believe that in order to thrive and succeed, all of our keiki need consistent educational enrichment, healthcare, nutrition, and safety throughout childhood.
I know firsthand the transformative effects a quality public education can have on a student’s life, opening doors for growth, development, and productive work.
I attended public schools from grades K-12, and both of my young children have attended Hawaii public schools.
I am committed to investing in the education of our keiki to increase their chance for success, and their potential and productivity throughout their lives.
The pandemic showed us how important Hawaii’s schools are to our students, families, and communities, and reminded us that there is no substitute for quality, in-classroom learning.
Our schools help form the foundation of our communities, but right now we face challenges to our common goal of providing students with the best possible education we can give them.
Too often we don’t pay our teachers enough to live in Hawaii, our class sizes are too large for educators to give personal attention to students who need extra help, and many of our school facilities need repairs and upgrades.
Our state suffers a chronic shortage of 1,200 teachers each year as we struggle to retain qualified and experienced educators, mainly due to our high cost of living and lack of affordable housing.
We must do more to retain quality, experienced teachers in Hawaii, and that means offering competitive pay, benefits, and affordable housing so they can afford to live here.
We also need to invest in programs that help provide our keiki with a better chance at success.
Research shows that investment in early childhood education improves outcomes for children throughout their lives, but we still lack a fully funded, universal Pre-K program in Hawaii.
Too many students with families of their own lack access to affordable child care, making it harder for parents to pursue education beyond high school.
We must invest new resources in services like child care on our community college and university campuses, so more students are able to balance the demands of school and family and graduate with degrees.
We also need to address food insecurity, so no student in Hawaii goes hungry and they can focus on what matters most: learning.
In 2016, I proposed a measure to make community college free for any student in Hawaii, and in 2018, I supported a constitutional amendment to reform our tax system so our state can invest more in public education and retain experienced teachers.
I stand by those positions today and I will continue to support them.
If elected governor, I will implement a plan to strengthen and support education in Hawaii, which will:
- Develop and fund a universal public Pre-K program to prepare our keiki for success;
- Expand literacy programs for students who need extra help reading;
- Hire and retain quality, experienced teachers by offering competitive pay, benefits, and affordable housing so they can afford to live in Hawaii;
- Conduct a comprehensive review of Department of Education spending to identify and direct more resources into our classrooms;
- Offer every high school graduate in Hawaii a free community college education;
- Nominate quality candidates to the Board of Education who reflect Hawaii’s diversity, including experienced educators;
- Seek more federal funding to invest in our students, teachers, and schools;
- Provide basic nutrition for students at school so they can focus on learning;
- Make childcare accessible and affordable for community college and university students with families;
- Address disparities and expand access to information technologies essential to 21st century education like broadband internet and connected devices.
As parents of two children growing up in Hawaii, my wife Jaime and I will do everything we can to help build the future we want them to live in.
A quality education for every child in our state is essential to that future — a future where every person has the opportunity to pursue their goals and dreams.
A future where we can all rise together.
Cost of Living
Costs are too high in Hawaii for many working families to afford, and young people should not be forced to leave our islands because they can’t find housing or economic opportunity here.
Working people should earn a living wage, and no one in our state who works full time should live in poverty.
No parent should have to choose between earning a living and caring for a sick child, or between buying food or affording medicine.
Addressing the high cost of living in Hawaii means not only raising wages, but making improvements in affordable housing, education, healthcare, energy, job creation, and overall economic growth.
We will make quality healthcare accessible to everyone, provide community college and job training so people can develop valuable skills, and create new jobs in healthcare, IT, green energy, and sustainable tourism which will continue to increase demand for high-wage skilled workers.
Nurturing Hawaii’s keiki is so important that it deserves its own special focus.
We care about every child in our islands, and we believe that in order to thrive and succeed, our keiki need consistent educational enrichment, healthcare, nutrition, and safety.
From Pre-K through community college and beyond, we are committed to investing in the education of every child in Hawaii to increase every child’s chance for success, their lifetime potential and productivity.
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