Professional Problem Solver
Constitutionalist with an emphasis on individual rights and preservation of nature and culture
Philosophy/Political Science Scholar
Real Estate Broker
Macadamia Nut Farmer
Multi-Ethnic Woman: Aboriginal Filipino, Spanish, German and Irish
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient (maybe), cheerful (always), thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
- New model for politics in Hawai'i and America - community based politics where ALL can thrive, not just the elite
I, Emma Jane Avila (Pohlman) Fabeck, was born on June 27, 1987 at the Women’s Hospital in Balanga, Bataan, Philippines. My mother is a Bicolano/Aeta and Spanish Filipina and my father is Irish and German American. I grew up as a "balikbayan” (a Filipino visiting or returning to the Philippines) in both the Philippines and America, shifting between countries every 6 months. When I was a child, Balanga was a small provincial town. You bought your food at the local “palengke” (wet marketplace), which was a community-based traditional marketplace where local vendors sold meat, produce, rice, snacks, meals, clothing, shoes, diapers, household goods, etc. to the local community. Whatever you wanted and needed was there and everything was at a fair price. I lived in a small “bahay kubo” (nipa house) with my parents, 2 siblings, Lola and Lolo, and other extended family members. We pumped water out of the ground, raised pigs and chickens, operated a Sari Sari store, and sold coconuts from our coconut farm in Mariveles. In the United States, I was raised as any ordinary girl living in middle class suburban America but without extended family. My father owned a few unencumbered multi-family properties, which allowed us to live a comfortable, albeit frugal life.
I went to grade school in Balanga, Manila, Downey, Oxnard and Ventura. My grade school education is half-half and vastly different from one another. Because I was half-American Caucasian, I was teased for being the “white girl” or “Americana”. I was told I spoke slang. I learned different history, math, and English than what was taught in America and learned how to copy and memorize. Home economics, family values and proper hygiene were taught in schools. “Wika”(Language) was a big subject. And every morning we lined up to sing the Filipino national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang”. School days were long, from 6:00am (wake up) to 6:00pm (home). I never had a summer break because, when we shifted countries, the other country was always in session. In America, I did well in school and enjoyed it. I received rewards regularly but never really knew what for. Days were shorter so I rode bikes and played Barbies with my friends. My father made me read the newspaper everyday and we discussed current events as well as potential resolutions to the world's problems. He was a teacher and philosopher and we “talked story” everyday. I speak Tagalog and English fluently and understand my cultures well. My mother taught me the value of family, love and education and my father taught me the value of hard work, common sense, and the importance of independent thinking. My first visit to Hawaii was around 6 years old where my mother said, “I was the happiest she had ever seen me.”
Towards the end of Middle School and the beginning of High School I was sort of the “wild” child. When I was 14, a freshman at Downey High School, I got pregnant and ran away from home. Since then my life has not been easy. One thing I knew and understood, thanks to my mother, was the value in education. The words of my father rang in my ear, “Brains won’t matter if you don’t work hard.” School was everything and I had a mountain to climb. So, despite my circumstances, I continued high school. As my belly grew larger, the school's administration pressured me to enroll in a school for young mothers. Feeling shamed for the way I looked , I begrudgingly agreed. I then found myself in a "school" disguised as a blacked out abandoned retail store near the city boundaries. We were pressured to get GEDs and didn't actually learn anything. We had "independent study time" where we could continue our classes from high school. As I was studying Algebra II, I asked the teacher, an elderly nun, if I could get help solving some problems. She looked at me with a blank stare and said, "Oh, no one here can help you with that." I was angry, frustrated and tired of the negative treatment inflicted on me. When I was 15 years old and 7 months pregnant, I dropped out of the young mothers school and flew back to the Philippines where I gave birth to my son at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Metro Manila. During delivery I felt sleepy and was close to passing out. My legs strapped on the stirrups with nurses on each side of me helping me push my son out. I heard a curling scream from the other room and looked at my doctor in horror. She looked at me and said, “some people just cannot afford the medicine.”
My son was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. My mother, Lola, Lolo, Titas, and Titos helped raise my son. When he was only 6 weeks old, I went back to America with a mission to go to college. The University of Southern California (USC) was my dream school because my older sister, the Valedictorian of her class, was an alumni. When I returned to high school I breezed through with a 4.0. GPA. My favorite subjects were Geometry, Philosophy and Mythology. I was laughed at when I made it known that USC was my goal so I started keeping it to myself. I learned that the only way to get there was to go to community college first. At 16 I dropped out of high school and found a full-time job as a secretary for Mar Investments, a Chinese family operated commercial real estate investment company in Monterey Park. I was mentored in commercial leasing, property management, sales and development. Shortly after I started working, I passed the California High School Proficiency Exam and enrolled in East Los Angeles Community College (ELAC), which was just a few bus stops away from work. I discovered a passion for Philosophy and Political Science and loved college. I decided I wanted to become a lawyer and in January 2008 I transferred to my dream school, USC! (Fight on!). I married my husband, Clayton Trevor Fabeck, on May 31, 2009. At USC I studied Philosophy and Political Science and earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in December of 2009. Private school was vastly different than public school and I struggled with cultural differences. It became sorely apparent that I was at an educational disadvantage compared to some of my peers who grew up with tutors.
Shortly after graduation, I worked as an executive assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of Western Asset Management in Pasadena, California. I learned about the financial industry and bond markets. After work I studied for the LSAT.
I first visited the Big Island of Hawaii in 2011 and stayed at the Kona Village Resort, shortly before it was destroyed in the 2011 tsunami. I loved the lava rock landscape and pristine beaches. The resort was a spectacular resort but I wanted to explore.
That same year, I was accepted into Southwestern Law School as a part-time student where I became fascinated in a formulaic style of contract law taught by Professor Danielle K. Hart, who earned her J.D. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law. I ultimately transferred to Loyola Law School in 2012 and was intrigued by Constitutional Law and mediation practices. I studied Hate Speech and Animal Rights. I earned my mediation certificate from Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution, which provided income-based mediation, facilitation and conciliation services for the greater Los Angeles community. I graduated in May of 2014 and sat for the 2014 California Bar Exam, which had a shockingly low pass rate at 48.6%. I passed the exam and was admitted to practice law in December 2014.
Shortly before graduation, I was offered a job at Lagerlof, Senecal, Gosney & Kruse (Now Lagerlof LLP), where I practiced in the areas of real estate, trust, business and municipal law. I was mentored in the fine art of communicating complex legal concepts to clients without any legal background. I learned how the law has great impact on the lives of ordinary citizens, particularly in real estate transfers, death and tax. I learned about the importance of clean water and natural resources and how dire a situation can be when the resources are depleted. As a mediator, I always pushed for alternative dispute resolutions, even when the other side wanted to just rack up the billable hours. I was a fair and honest lawyer and always told my clients the truth of their situation, even if it wasn’t what they wanted to hear.
I gave birth to my second child, a daughter, on July 15, 2015 and learned the struggles of balancing work and motherhood as a practicing lawyer. Michelle Obama’s words ringing true in my ear, “You can’t have it all at the same time.”
In 2016, I returned to Hawaii and backpacked from the top of Waipio Valley, through the Mulawi trail to camp at Waimanu Valley. That same trip I hiked South to Halape Beach. I fell in love with Hawaii’s natural beauty. Since then I have returned to the Big Island 3-4 times a year until it became home to me. I made the decision to move to these magnificent islands in February of 2019 when I saw a 32 macadamia orchard for sale in Honokaa. My favorite town. It is my intention to convert my farm to an off-grid self sustainable farm free of poison.
I love everything about Hawaii. The local traditions, food, fashion, language, history And folklore. I see many similarities to Filipino culture and appreciate the cultural diversity that makes Hawaii so unique. I love the abundance of rice, sauce, fish, and lau lau. I love the idea of “talking story” because it was something I did regularly with my father when I was a child. No particular topic just conversations about religion, philosophy, global issues, gender issues, local issues, family, love etc. I love the people, hats, hula, and have seen the true Hawaiian Aloha Spirit.
But I am no fool and I see that Hawaii is not a paradise for all. In fact, many people are struggling just to pay for basic necessities, such as food, shelter, and clothing. I have met many people who are frustrated and who have lost hope. They are working long hours for low pay. You see the hopelessness in their eyes. They have witnessed an astronomical shift in the wage gap and cost of living situation. They see their schools underfunded and their keiki with no future. A world changed, and not for the better. Many people believe their only option is to leave and seek opportunity elsewhere. Many people feel racially persecuted and misunderstood. Many people are not happy. The Aloha state is feeling the effects of capitalism at its worse.
I am committed to solving all problems that plague these islands and I have the skills to do it. If you think I can, and trust me when I say that I CAN, then Vote for EMMA for the U.S. House of Representative Seat for Hawaii’s Second Congressional District. Send me to Capitol Hill. As a Constitutionalist and Professional Problem Solver, I will make this a BETTER Hawai’i. Together, we will make a GREATER Hawai’i for all.