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CANDIDATE PROFILE - HawaiʻI County Mayor

Mike Ruggles

Residence: Mountain View


I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. I moved to the Big Island when I was 20. I live in Mountain View. I have been a life long athlete and discovered the healing benefits of cannabis. I started a support group for medical cannabis patients and became a medical cannabis advocate. 

I raised my family of four children in Fern Acres, Mountain view on a small family farm, while working as a mason. I believe my kids have been a positive influence on the community. I’m deeply appreciative of the Big Island and how it not only gave me a fulfilling life, but my children as well. I want to give back to the Big Island and help fix some of the serious problems that we’re facing like; homelessness, drug abuse, corruption, economy, and an inefficient government, to name a few. I want the judicial system to stop abusing the mentally ill and most vulnerable. And I want the government to use our tax money more effectively and efficiently. I will work tirelessly to make our island economy thrive.

Why do you think you are the right candidate for mayor of Hawaiʻi County? 

I believe I am the right candidate, because I believe in the people and trickle up economics and I don't think any of the other candidates understand it. Trickle up, is what brought the Country back from the Great Depression and is what can bring the County back from this depression. The County should take care of local citizens before tourism. We need to restore transparency and accountability to the justice system and stop the law enforcement for profit that is going on now. Now is the time to fix it, before it gets worse. The same is true for sanitation, healthcare and employment. I believe the best solutions for the county are a community farm, financial incentives for small businesses and medical professionals, and a housing boom. I believe I am the guy to get this done!

Please tell us about your biggest personal or professional accomplishments in the past five years.

I started the first medical cannabis collective on the Big Island, that was the only safe and reliable source for seriously ill patients to obtain their legal medicine. We set the gold standard for collectives and were the first to introduce the seed to sale tracking that the Hawaiʻi Department of Health now requires. We were also the first to implement testing, to ensure the medicine was safe. It was a pleasure to help sick residents with their pain, and miraculously save a few of them from stage four cancer. I was unjustly targeted for helping sick people obtain the medicine their Doctor's recommended and the State said they could have. I was so honored, when the community supported me, when I represented myself against three life sentences plus 33 years, of bogus charges, and was found Not Guilty! It was an honor and pleasure to stick up for Hawaiʻi's seriously ill. And it will be an honor and pleasure to serve all of Hawaiʻi county. 

What will be your top three priorities in your first 100 days as mayor? 

1. Start a community farm to help address; homelessness, mental health, criminal justice reform and sustainability. In order to adequately address homelessness and mental health, we need to immediately give financial incentives to healthcare professionals and provide increased physician residency opportunities. This will begin to help address our healthcare provider shortage and provide a better quality of life for everyone.  

2. Give economic incentives for small businesses. We have to get the unemployed working. We gave economic incentives of $1.2 Billion to high tech business and it didn't work, because they moved away due to high cost of living and lack of housing. But if we instead give economic incentives to small business that are rooted in our community (like farmers, ranchers, and fisherman), I am confident that it will work.  

3. Start a housing boom, by overhauling our archaic and punitive permitting process and relaxing labor and contractor requirements.  

Some say "development" has a negative connotation in Hawaiʻi. Others say it is an important element in our community's future. Where do you stand?

To put it simply, we are 28,000 low income houses short, yet we have way to many hotels and homes for the ultra rich. I believe a lot of people want development, but just the right development.....development that is for the people, not the visitors and the ultra rich.  

As mayor, what would you do to implement the principles of the ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration?

I believe we need to focus on building community farms, criminal justice reform, creating sensible regulations on tourism and we need to strive towards island self sufficiency and economic diversity.  We need to do this in a way that protects the island and the most vulnerable. The current government strategies of spraying poison on roadways and under new homes needs to stop to protect our water and land. Pilling up our garbage for our children to deal with later is another bad strategy that we need to fix. I would like to use aloha rather than punishment to help address homelessness, mental illness and crime. With the current economic situation, there has never been a better time to do this.   

Which areas of the Aloha+ Challenge will you focus on as mayor, and what plans do you have to help achieve these sustainability goals on Hawaiʻi Island?

I plan on focusing on all of the areas of the Aloha+ Challenge. To mention a few, I want to improve access to certified kitchens in every district, to provide a way for farmers and ranchers to make value added products, from farm to table and enhance local food security. I plan to fix waste management, eliminate pesticide use by the county,  provide economic incentives for small businesses and get the most vulnerable employed. It is now time for Hawaiʻi to recognize that we live in a Home Rule state and that the Big Island people should be the ones deciding what happens on the Big Island.  Then we will actually be able to follow the Aloha+ Challenge.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the County has gotten involved in addressing food, housing, medical care, and other social welfare needs. How should the County pivot to focus on economic recovery and growth?

We have to use the housing shortage as an economic driver along with farming, ranching and local small business. Provide economic stimulus for the little guy, which will help everyone, and also bring us towards self sufficiency. I believe it would be a mistake to re-embrace tourism to soon. Instead lets focus on our people and getting the local economy thriving. Residents' needs should be cared for, before we can consider entertaining guests.  

How important is the growth of clean, renewable energy for Hawaiʻi Island? Which technologies should we embrace, and should any be left off the table?

Clean, renewable energy is very important and would give us true independence. Most current technology is economically driven and not all forms are safe. We should only use technologies that are proven safe and sustainable and thoroughly investigate the ones that are concerning. Both Hu Honua and PGV have concerns from residents who live nearby and should be thoroughly investigated before being allowed to move forward.  

What factors or considerations will you take in hiring your cabinet, and who are some of the people you are considering or the strategy you will use to build your team?

Some candidates are saying they will fill half their cabinet from West Hawaiʻi because they believe that will make it more fair for the entire island. I believe what is more important is to make sure cabinet members realize that they are working for the entire island regardless of where they live. I plan on hiring the best and brightest from various fields. I believe sustainable energy, agriculture/farming/ranching/fishing, healthcare, criminal justice and education should all be represented in my cabinet. 

As Mayor, you will make decisions that affect this island and the children who will inherit it for generations to come. What is your commitment to them?

I have raised four children and have two grand children, on island and will do my best to keep the Big Island the best place on earth and make it so Big Islanders can afford to live and thrive here.  

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