Full Name: Bertrand Yoshito Kobayashi
Name on Ballot: Bertrand (Bert) Kobayashi
Political Party: Democrat
Running For: Hawaii House of Representatives
Email Address: email@example.com
Current Job: Legislator
Place of birth: Honolulu
Campaign website: None
Job history past 10 years:
Semi-retired with volunteer and paid positions in nonprofits (American Lung Association and Pacific Gateway Center) and politics (legislative staffer for three different legislators).
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
Yes, for state House in 1978, 1980, 2012, 2014; state Senate in 1982, 1986, 1990. Won all elections.
Other civic experience or community service?
Deputy director for community hospitals, State Department of Health, 1995-1997, reorganized hospitals into a more independent agency in 1996.
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
My family has lived in the same Kaimuki location for over 100 years since 1915. I went to public schools in Kaimuki, then to the University of Hawaii for bachelor of arts degree (government), then Michigan State University for Ph.D.(political science), taught undergraduate state government in Michigan, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.
What makes you qualified to be a state representative?
I know the community and Legislature have helped pass and kill important issues: My family has lived in Kaimuki for 100+ years, where I went to public schools; I served in the state House and Senate, 1978 to 1994, and try to improve the legislative product, process, and people.
Gov. Ige says he will once again propose increases to the state gas tax, vehicle weight tax and state registration fees to help pay for state road projects. Do you support his proposal?
I did NOT support his 2016 proposal; it burdened average car owners at the expense of bigger, more expensive, and commercial vehicles. Vehicle registration is one-size-fits-all with expensive vehicles paying same as old, small cars. Weight tax does not recognize huge road damage of heavy commercial vehicles.
If the Legislature is again asked to extend Oahu’s half-percent excise tax surcharge to finance construction or operation of the rail system, would you support such an extension?
No, I voted ‘no’ for the 2015 extension of excise tax surcharge and probably vote ‘no’ again unless there is a HUGE, new federal contribution. The feds have a $1.5 billion stake in Honolulu rail, approved its current plan and budget, and have responsibility and resources to help Honolulu.
Should the state play a role in cracking down on illegal vacation rentals in Hawaii?
Yes, the state and county governments serve the same people. The state government should BOTH (1) collect taxes due to the state and (2) assist the counties in enforcing county zoning/bed-&-breakfast laws. State laws should support county enforcement, not make it more difficult for county enforcement.
Should the Legislature require that police officers in Hawaii use “body cameras,” and help to fund the use of those cameras?
No, Hawaii Constitution says that state requirements to the counties be funded by the state, so I would not support a state requirement/mandate and would support very minor state funding with counties assuming major costs since police are county-funded.
Dozens of police officers in Hawaii are disciplined each year for committing crimes or violating departmental policies, but little information is released about the officers or their cases. Do you think there needs to be greater public disclosure?
Yes, police are public servants and should have the same public disclosure/’sunshine’ as other public employees. This question is more appropriate for candidates for county offices as police are county employees.