Full Name: Les Ihara Jr.
Name on Ballot: Les Ihara Jr.
Political Party: Democrat
Running For: Senate
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Place of birth: Honolulu
Campaign website: www.lesiharajr.org
Job history past 10 years:
State senator since 1994
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
Won all elections: Delegate to 1978 Constitutional Convention; 1988, 1990 & 1992 state House; 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2012 state Senate
Other civic experience or community service?
Kaimuki Lions Club; Kaimuki Business & Professional Association; Kaimuki-Waialae YMCA Board of Managers; Palolo Community Council; Palolo Neighborhood Board; New Kapahulu Business Association; Ala Wai Watershed Community Network; Neighborhood Security Watch Association of Hawaii
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
My legislative history and reputation includes support for long-term care and safety net services for senior citizens, building knowledge-based industry, environmental and consumer protection, public ethics and campaign finance reforms, open government and same-day voter registration initiatives, and integrity-based politics at the Legislature.
What makes you qualified to be a state senator?
I have gained extensive experience in my 22 years of service in the Senate and 8 in the House, mostly in leadership positions, and believe I can contribute to increased collaboration, transparency, and integrity in addressing state issues.
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 support having state roads adequately maintained, and will review information on funding needs to build and maintain state roads. I will then make a determination on whether these tax increases are necessary, and to what extent. I recently voted against these tax increases because they lacked adequate justification.
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?
I would not be inclined to support another GET surcharge extension until I am satisfied the county has taken responsibility for its broken promises to the Legislature and has a plan for completing the rail project — that I agree with.
Should the state play a role in cracking down on illegal vacation rentals in Hawaii?
I believe it is the responsibility of the counties to regulate vacation rentals. However, I would support a bill similar to the recent AirBNB bill (HB1850), vetoed by the governor, if it disclosed information on vacation rental operators. Such an amended bill would provide information to assist county enforcement efforts.
Should the Legislature require that police officers in Hawaii use “body cameras,” and help to fund the use of those cameras?
I support use of body cameras by police officers, and will need to assess benefit to the state in order to determine whether state funding grants should be provided by the Legislature.
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, and I support repealing the state open records law exemption that the Legislature gave to the counties in 1994.