comscore District 19 - Will Espero (D) | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Election

District 19 – Will Espero (D)

Full name: William C. Espero

Name on ballot: Will Espero

Age: 55

Political Party: Democrat

Running for: Senate

District: 19

Email address: wespero@hotmail.com

Current job: State senator

Place of birth: Yokosuka, Japan

Campaign website: WinWithWill.com

Job history past 10 years: State senator

Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?

I was appointed to the House of Representatives in 1999. I won my first election in 2000. In 2002, I successfully ran for state Senate and have won every re-election campaign since then.

Other civic experience or community service?

Past service: AYSO Soccer coach, Friends of the Ewa Beach Library (president), Ewa by Gentry Community Association (vice president), Oahu Filipino Jaycees (president), Ewa Neighborhood Board (chairman), Ewa Beach Boys and Girls Club, Ewa Beach Lions Club, West Oahu Economic Development Association (founder), Hawaii Fashion Month (co-founder), Knights of Columbus, JCHS SCBM committee

Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?

I purchased my first home in Ewa in 1989 and I was actively involved in community affairs and issues. My college degree is from Seattle University. As an appointee of Mayor Frank Fasi from 1987-94, I was in charge of Oahu’s Neighborhood Board system.

What makes you qualified to be a state senator?

I have been honored and privileged to represent Ewa Beach at the Capitol for 17 years. Currently, I am in a leadership position in the Senate as vice president. I have been fortunate to have 92 bills passed by the Legislature. Extensive experience, strong knowledge of government, record of success.

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 am against raising these three taxes simultaneously as they negatively impact West Oahu commuters who drive every day. The vehicle weight tax penalizes families with large vans and SUVs. We need to find reliable revenue stream for transportation projects and expenses.

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?

We must finish what we started regarding rail. Stopping rail prematurely is not a wise move. For the most impact, it must be built to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Our population is continually growing, and rail will be used for the next 100 years and beyond. Yes to an extension.

Should the state play a role in cracking down on illegal vacation rentals in Hawaii?

Certainly. The state must work with the counties to stop illegal vacation rentals. These illegal rentals remove housing options for local residents. We must provide incentives to homeowners to rent to local residents.

Should the Legislature require that police officers in Hawaii use “body cameras,” and help to fund the use of those cameras?

Yes. Body cameras protect police officers and the public as well. Cameras add transparency and accountability in the field. I have introduced bills to support body cameras in the past. The state could provide matching funds to counties for both body and vehicle cameras.

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. I have introduced legislation, which has passed, that provides more transparency in police misconduct and bad behavior. However, more transparency and information should be available to the public. More disclosure and reforms for all state and county law enforcement agencies are needed. I will continue to be your voice.

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