Full Name: David A. Tarnas
Name on Ballot: David Tarnas
Political Party: Democrat
Running For: State House
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental and community planner, Marine and Coastal Solutions International
Place of birth: Detroit
Campaign website: votetarnas.com
Job history past 10 years:
Principal consultant, Marine and Coastal Solutions International (1999-current); director of government affairs, Merica International LLC (2011-2013); manager of government relations, Sunfuels Hawaii (2009-2011). My work includes planning, impact analysis, permitting, compliance monitoring, reporting, government and community relations. The projects for public agencies and private companies include renewable energy projects, harbors, highways, farms, ranches, aquaculture, forestry, fisheries, marine protected areas, astronomy, scientific research facilities and community development plans.
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
I was elected state representative for Kona and Kohala in 1994 and re-elected in 1996. I lost my re-election in 1998 and didn’t run again until now so my wife and I could focus on raising our two children (who are now away at college), and running our own small business.
Other civic experience or community service?
Currently vice chairman, Hawaii County Agriculture Advisory Commission; former Hawaii County chairman, Democratic Party of Hawaii; former board member, Malama Kai Foundation and Five Mountains Hawaii; founding advisory board member, Ulu Mau Leadership Training Program; active member, Waimea Community Association, Waimea Community Chorus Orchestra and Waimea Trails and Greenways.
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
I have lived in our district for over 30 years, raised a family, run a business, served in the Legislature, and been active in community organizations to help make our island more sustainable. I know this community well and understand the challenges faced by families and businesses in our district
What makes you qualified to be a state representative?
My professional expertise in environmental and community planning, service as our state representative, and longtime community leadership in health, education and the environment demonstrates my proven record of resolving tough conflicts by working with stakeholders and that I have the right skill set and experience to be an effective legislator.
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?
To provide state highway project funding, I support an increase in the gas tax, the creation of a vehicle mileage tax on hybrid/electric vehicles, changing the registration fee so it is based on vehicle age, and replacing the weight tax with a tax based on the vehicle’s value.
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?
Possibly, but only with a GET exemption for food and medicine. I would advocate for private funding for rail from development rights on public lands along the route, and the creation of a carbon tax on fossil-fuel electric power generation, the proceeds of which could help fund mass transit.
Should the state play a role in cracking down on illegal vacation rentals in Hawaii?
Yes, the state should work closely with the counties to identify and close down illegal vacation rentals, require all vacation rentals to get the proper county permits to operate legally, register as a business with the state, obtain the proper state GET license, and pay all applicable GET and TAT.
Should the Legislature require that police officers in Hawaii use “body cameras,” and help to fund the use of those cameras?
Yes, the legislature should require police officers in Hawaii to use body cameras as it would help improve public trust and confidence in the police and the important public safety work they do. Funding should come from the counties and the state.
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, there should be greater public disclosure of information about those police officers who have been disciplined for committing crimes or violating departmental policies. The information would include the officers’ names and descriptions about their cases.