Full Name: Kealoha Pisciotta
Name on Ballot: Kealoha Pisciotta
Political Party: Green Party
Running for: House
Job history for last 10 years:
Pew Charitable Trust, community outreach
Cultural Surveys Hawai’i, cultural monitor at Pohakualoa Training Area
KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, natural area reserve system coordinator
Joint Astronomy Center Mauna Kea, telescope system specialist
Ever run for public office before?
Other civic experience or community service?
President, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou
Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network
Founder, Kai Palaoa, a marine protection group
Member, Ka Lahu United Nations Human Rights Team
Hawaii Island Burial Council, member
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in political science, and I am a member of the Phi Sigma Alpha of leadership and success. I was a returning nontraditional student and I was nominated for listing in the “Who’s Who Among Students in American University and Colleges in 2007.
What makes you qualified to be a state representative?
For most of my adult life, I have played an active role advocating for justice on behalf of Hawaii’s people and environment. My experience with the nonprofit, government and technical sectors gives me a unique understanding of how to build consensus to achieve common goals.
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. I do not support regressive tax policies or tax increases that burden the poor disproportionately. Raising taxes on gas and vehicle weight creates hardship for Hawaii’s poor and burdens working people far more than it impacts the state’s wealthiest 1 percent. It is not a real solution.
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?
The rail project is another example of the state attempting to pass the burden of poor planning and bad policy decisions onto Hawaii’s people. This is not fair. Ending the practice of making sweetheart deals that serve special interests over and above the interest of the people is the solution.
Should the state play a role in cracking down on illegal vacation rentals in Hawaii?
While I support residents who are finding creative ways to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle for themselves and their families, this is a complex issue that is best solved at the county level where land use patterns are better understood. Trying to solve the problem at the state level will likely generate a one-size-fits-all approach that will not work.
Should the legislature require that police officers in Hawaii use “body cameras,” and help to fund the use of those cameras?
Yes. Our society sanctions state and county law enforcement to use lethal force based on the premise that they are protecting the innocent from harm. That is a tremendous responsibility and burden to place upon police officers. Such technology, although not without it own limitations, helps protect the officers and the public they are mandated to protect.
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 support transparency and accountability in government so I would support greater public disclosure as a means to raise the standard for officer conduct, which in turn protects the public and the police officers capable of upholding that standard.