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“I was born and raised on Oahu’s North Shore. I am third-generation born; my great grandparents were Japanese immigrants. I lived in Hawaii until I graduated from high school, then went to college in California, at age 18. My parents still live in my childhood home on the North Shore.

“I went to Menlo College in Silicon Valley because it offered me more opportunities to study business, and I wanted to live someplace new. After college, I spent a year in California before moving recently to Nashville, Tennessee. I moved to Nashville because it has a concentrated amount of music industry opportunities and I have wanted to work in the business side of music since I was 15.

“Other reasons for deciding to move to Nashville as opposed to moving home include the lack of state income tax and an overall lower cost of living. It’s a vibrant city with a small-town feel and great people, food, and entertainment.

“I am discouraged from moving home due to Hawaii’s strict firearm restrictions, high taxes, high cost of living, low-quality public education system, and overall mismanagement of state finances. After living on the mainland, I have realized how corrupt the Hawaii state government is, how state legislators abuse their power and don’t prioritize making solutions to help young adult kama’aina create a sustainable future for themselves and their families.

“It is unfortunate because I love my home state and I would love to move home, but it just isn’t a practical option for me because I prioritize creating an independent and financially stable future for myself.”

Aya Robinson
Nashville, Tennessee
Former resident of Haleiwa