Full name: John M. Mizuno
Name on ballot: John Mizuno
Political Party: Democrat
Running for: House
Current job: Vice speaker, state House of Representatives
Place of birth: Honolulu
Campaign website: JohnMizuno28.com
Job history past 10 years:
I serve as the vice speaker of the House of Representatives. Of the 51 House members, the vice speaker is the second highest ranking member. I have served as the vice speaker for the last four years. I have served as a state representative since 2006. I have been recognized as the Legislator of the Year in 2007 by the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii, the Legislator of the Year in 2009 by the Hawaii Psychological Association, and the Legislator of the Year in 2010 by the United States Humane Society. I served as the Human Service Committee chairman from 2009-12 and wrote the language in the bill to stop former Gov. Linda Lingle from closing all offices of the Department of Human Services in 2010, which saved essential Medicaid health care services and other human services to more than 300,000 Hawaii residents. I am a 2015 Toll Fellow graduate recognized as the “Top Legislative Academy” in the nation.
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
Yes. I won my first campaign in 2006 to represent the Kalihi District. I have since won re-election in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014.
Other civic experience or community service?
I have served as the Legislature’s chairman of the Keiki & Kupuna Caucus from 2007-15, the chairman of the Legislature’s Asset Building Caucus from 2008-15, the National Conference of State Legislature’s Executive Committee from 2013-16, and currently serve as the co-chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee of the National Asian Pacific Caucus. I have a doctorate in law from Willamette University College of Law, a Dispute Resolution Certificate from Willamette University, a bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of Hawaii and a graduate of the 2008 Council of State Governments Legislative Academy.
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
When we work together to stop racism, domestic violence, homelessness; to have compassion and fight to support people with mental conditions, drug addictions, disabilities and poverty; as a society at that point we have truly evolved into something special.
What makes you qualified to be a state representative?
I have served as the vice speaker for the House of Representatives since 2012. I have served my district as its representative since 2006.
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?
No. Until we know the adverse affect this proposed gas, vehicle weight and state registration fee tax will have on our people — especially the working families of Hawaii — we need to stop taxing our people.
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. We already passed HB134 in 2015 to extend the 0.5 percent tax for rail. The people of my district are extremely upset by the delays and costs of rail. I am not against rail, I am just for transparency and accountability. I support doing rail the right way.
Should the state play a role in cracking down on illegal vacation rentals in Hawaii?
Yes and No. First, “yes” because the state should be able to tax AirBnBs, because this will generate millions of dollars in state revenue and reduce the need to raise the GET tax for all Hawaii residents. “No,” because the counties should have regulation jurisdiction over AirBnBs.
Should the Legislature require that police officers in Hawaii use “body cameras,” and help to fund the use of those cameras?
Yes. We need to continue to support our men and women in law enforcement who place their lives in peril to protect our life, liberty and justice for all. I support “body cameras” because this will provide the evidence a court requires to make a judgment in criminal cases.
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?
No. We need to support our men and women in law enforcement who protect our communities, while seeking transparency and accountability. Therefore, I would recommend working with the police department as well as the state law enforcement branch to draft legislation that would address concerns with reasonable disclosure information.