“This is my home, not my opportunity

“BIA Hawaii teaches Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) for Youthbuild. An organization providing alternative education to young adults without a high school diploma. Greg Thielen served as one of our instructors for many classes. Going beyond the nuts and bolts of a subject, Greg was also passionate about motivating these young men and women. He showed them they could have a successful future in the construction industry. We need more people in Government like Greg, people that care and are personally motivated to help others."

Barbara Nishikawa, Education Director BIA-Hawaii

When I was asked to serve as a Youthbuild instructor I was a little reluctant at first. I didn’t have a background in education or experience teaching and I didn’t want to let the students learning suffer because of my lack of experience. With some encouragement and some coaching from the Education Director and my peers I decided to give it a go. Like most of my public service I found the experience rewarding and I was pleased to find that I could relate the subject matter well to the students. More importantly I was able to provide these “kids”, as I thought of them, some practical real-world guidance on being a success after their schooling was complete. This experience demonstrated one of the core beliefs that define who I am. Public service, true public service, comes from the heart. Yes, I needed the technical skills to teach the class, but being successful at teaching takes heart.

As we wind down the days to the election I think about what this campaign has meant to me and what started me down this road. The bottom line is I saw my community as being in an hour of need. While I felt the desire to help, I also felt some of those familiar feelings of reluctance. What would this mean for my family? What would this mean for my business and my employees that are a second family to me? Could I have an impact on a system as broken as our City government is? While I struggled with these thoughts, I never struggled with my heart. I knew the right thing to do was to step up and try. Because of this I have thrown myself whole heartedly into these unfamiliar waters and have put forth a campaign I am proud of. A campaign free of entanglement and indebtedness to the special interests that have controlled the path to power on Oahu. A campaign free from the Super PAC’s and those that control them. A campaign that proudly spelled out it’s intentions and addressed the issues head on.

Whatever the outcome of this election is, one thing is certain. I will still be here working to make my community a better place just as I always have. That’s because this election isn’t about some opportunity to further a political career for me, it is about caring for and serving the place I call home.