Monthly Archives: May 2010

My Last Letter as State Representative to the Waipahu Community

Dear Friends,

It has been an honor serving you in the Hawaii House of Representatives for the past eight years. Many of you have seen me grow up from a young and eager twenty-seven year-old politician to a leader in the Hawaii House of Representatives. The following are some of my policy accomplishments for our community and the State of Hawaii:

Economy and Sustainability

  • Encouraged multi-millions of dollars of investments into Hawaii through tax credits for film production, 15% on Oahu, and 20% on neighbor islands;
  • Expanded the Small Business Innovation Research Grants and Small Business Technology Transfer Research Grants to maximize federal matching dollars to help Hawaii’s start-up technology and science businesses;
  • Floated $55 million in special purpose revenue bonds for local technology and renewable energy companies to help build research facilities and solar farms in Hawaii;
  • Created incentives for important agricultural lands;
  • Funded $1 million to be matched with private funds for beach restoration; and
  • Required the department of Agriculture to authenticate Ni’ihau shell leis to empower Hawaii Ni’ihau shell lei makers and protect consumers from fraudulent sales using the Ni’ihau shell branding.


  • Supported project-based learning in our public schools such as art, culture, history, computer programming, robotics, and television production;
  • Appropriated funds for capital improvements for our public schools; and
  • Voted in favor of the $67 million appropriation to be used to restore instructional days for the 2010 to 2011 school year.

Public Safety

  • Incorporated into the sexual assault law, the use of a substance in subjecting one to a sexual assault;
  • Created a criminal impersonation law;
  • Updated our harassment and stalking laws to include electronic communication;
  • Extended temporary restraining orders to be applied to pet animals;
  • Required that pet animals be humanely treated when placed in confinement;
  • Secured funding for our specialty courts, which has been proven successful in turning individuals’ lives around to be productive citizens rather than abusing illegal drugs.

It has been an exciting journey. My love and support for you and this great community will continue regardless of where my career leads to. I wish you and your family good health and happiness.

With Warmest Aloha,

Jon Riki Karamatsu

State Representative

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The Loss of a Friend

I found out this past Sunday that I lost another friend who passed away this weekend who is only a little older than me and she leaves a husband and young child. She was a strong supporter and friend of mine. I am deeply saddened.

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Together We Can Overcome Negativity

Wavin’ Flag – K’Naan featuring Will.I.Am, and David Guetta

Together We Can Overcome Negativity

One of my biggest motivators into politics is feeling the pain and suffering of so many people.  When I was younger, I always thought that someday, I would change the world around from negative to positive.  I will share with you some of my experiences.

My parents grew up poor and made the most of everything they had in life.  When things got economically better with the success of their parents’ careers, they had already become adults.  They always reminded me to appreciate what I had, food, clothing, and shelter.  My father was very strict with me in the old school way, physically and mentally.

I attended public school from grade school up until undergraduate college.  Some of the other kids were not financially stable.  I saw how the cycle of violence continued with the fights in school.  I remember using Aikido to defend myself against another kid.

In high school, I sat next to a girl in social studies who was on crystal meth.  She told me how she would not sleep for days.  In my science class, there was a smart student who was a year younger than the rest of the class.  He placed a “HB” tattoo on his hand and told me he was now a part of the gang, Hawaiian Brothers.  I saw young girls get pregnant.  I sometimes wonder how they are all doing.  In my political career, I learned how depression, post traumatic stress disorder from violence, broken homes, and such were factors with individuals who used drugs.  I later supported programs to help individuals get off of drugs and turn their lives around.  I also supported programs that helped troubled youth and single mothers.

I read about how the generations before me fought against discrimination.  Workers were mistreated.  Minorities sacrificed during World War II by fighting for their country even as she placed them in concentration camps.  When they returned, the veterans used the GI Bill to gain their college education.  However, upon graduation, they had difficulty getting hired because of on-going discrimination.

In college, girls told me their stories of sexual assault and domestic violence.  I remember being at a party with a girl I was dating.  When she went to use the restroom downstairs, a guy followed her and tried to rape her.  She got away, ran up the stairs into my arms, crying uncontrollably.  When we left, she told me what happened.  I wanted to go back to confront the guy but she wouldn’t let me.  I wanted to call the police but she stopped me.  I still have regrets of that night.  Later, I helped organizations that support survivors of violence.

While I was a Senator and Vice President at the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I was heavily involved in working to make the campus safer.  I worked with campus security to ensure there were a strong security presence, an escort program, and adequate lighting and emergency phone booths on campus (cellular phones were just beginning to pick up, but were still expensive).  I served as the student representative on the Sexual Harassment Policy Committee with administrators and attorneys.

My very good friend was almost shot by several individuals in a car because of a driving dispute on the freeway.  He showed me how the bullet penetrated the car metal above his head and landed on the ground.

I dated a girl and for a number of years her ex-boyfriend and his friends tried to hunt me down in his jealousy.

While in law school, I experienced racism in the Northwest, with name calling, threats, and even not being served at a restaurant.  I have always been a strong advocate for equality.  Justice does not judge by what she sees, but rather applies the laws fairly to all.  It is for this reason; I have supported expanding rights to all, including the same-sex community.

In my first term as a politician, I dated a girl who shared her story of being raped by a couple of guys who took advantage of her by using a date rape drug.  I later changed the law to prohibit the use of a substance when committing sexual assault.

I know girls who had individuals; often their ex-boyfriends who posted nude pictures of them on the Internet.  I have seen how individuals would even go as far as super-imposing a girl’s head onto a naked body.  Another girl I dated had to endure numerous emails to government and media offices that included naked pictures of her.  I changed the harassment and stalking by harassment laws to include electronic communication.  I also created a new criminal impersonation law.

As a politician, I have faced my share of threats.  A man threatened to shoot me with his shotgun.  Another man tried to engage me into a fight while I was waiting in line at a Longs Drugs store.  I realize that threats come with my job, even death.

We politicians face constant verbal attacks by many individuals.  I’ve had individuals attack me on my DUI mistake rather than on the issue at hand for many of the controversial bills such as the shark fin ban and civil unions that came before my House Judiciary Committee, which I chaired.  Then there are individuals who hide behind code names on their computers and do personal attacks against me on the Internet.  I have more respect for the people who yell at me in my face or reveal their names in their emails and on the Internet.

I have dated girls who didn’t like the gossip, sometimes mean-spirited attacks.  It has made it difficult for my personal life.

Throughout my life, there were a number of wars.  It is my goal to reduce violence not only domestically, but internationally.  I passed the Peace Day Hawaii law that recognizes September 21st of each year to be a day to educate and promote awareness of peace.  The emphasis on peacemaking changes year-to-year.  For example, one year we focused on international peace and another year we focused on reducing bullying in our public schools.

We all have a choice.  We can be negative and cause so much pain for others, or we can be positive and help bring joy and happiness to people.  Only if we achieve inner peace, can we spread peace to others.  So let’s join together as warriors of peace.  Let’s spread compassion and make a majority of the people in the world compassionate and happy, then a majority of the world can be at peace.

Let's defeat negativity.

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Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu Files Nomination Papers to Run for Lieutenant Governor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 

Contact: Tracy H. Okubo, Campaign Press Secretary

808.778.9531 or           

Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu Files Nomination Papers to Run for Lieutenant Governor

HONOLULU—State Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu (House District 41-Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele) filed his nomination papers on Wednesday, May 19, 2010, officially putting him in the race for Lieutenant Governor in the 2010 elections.  Last June, Representative Karamatsu authorized his campaign team, Friends of Jon Riki Karamatsu, to form an exploratory committee to explore his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor in the 2010 elections.

“My campaign team and I decided that we had to go out and meet the people of Hawai‘i.  Over the past year I have met over 40,000 people throughout the State at various events, meetings, or even just in passing” said Karamatsu.  “Based on the positive feedback we have received regarding my candidacy, I have decided to officially enter the race for Lieutenant Governor in the 2010 elections.”

“My campaign’s strength is not only based on my hard work ethic, but my strong track record in passing legislation to encourage investments into Hawai‘i’s economy, protect our money from leaving the state, maintain project-based learning in our public schools, enhance public safety, address our physician shortfall, and promote equality for all,” said Karamatsu.  

Representative Karamatsu was elected to the Hawai‘i House of Representatives in 2002 and is currently serving his fourth term.  He currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee and has held a variety of leadership positions during his tenure, including Vice Speaker of the House, Majority Whip, Chairman of the Economic Development & Business Concerns Committee, Vice Chairman of the Water, Land, Ocean Resources & Hawaiian Affairs Committee, and Vice Chairman of the Tourism & Culture Committee.


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My mother gave me my middle name "Riki", which is the same kanji as "chikara", meaning power or strength.

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