comscore District 03 - Richard H.K. Onishi (D)

District 03 – Richard H.K. Onishi (D)

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Full Name: Richard Hiroyuki Keala Onishi

Name on Ballot: Richard H.K. Onishi

Age: 62

Political Party: Democrat

Running For: State House

District: 3

Email Address:

Current Job: Legislator

Place of birth: Hilo

Campaign website:

Job history past 10 years:

2013 – present: State representative, state Legislature

1991 – 2013: Computer analyst, County of Hawaii

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

1992 – state Representative District 2 – lost

Other civic experience or community service?

Current Community Involvement

Member (board of trustees), Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin

Member (board of directors), Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii

Member (board of directors), Hawaii County Employees FCU

Member (board of directors), Hilo High School Foundation

Past Community Involvement:

Vice-President External Affairs, Hawaii Island Adult Care

President, Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin

Income development chairman, East Hawaii American Cancer Society

President, Lehua Jaycees

President, Waiakeawaena Elementary School PTA

President, Waiakea Intermediate School PTA

President, Waiakea High School Band Boosters

Secretary, Hilo High School Foundation

Director, Hilo High School Alumni Association

Community Representative, Hilo High School SCBM

Coach, East Hawaii ASYO

Coach, Waiakea Nakoas Pop Warner Football

Coach, Waiakea High School Football

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

Over 30 years experience in leadership and management positions with strong team building, planning, and organizational skills. A proven record in sound decision-making in a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. A highly effective communicator with broad professional knowledge of governmental (civil and military) and business operations.

What makes you qualified to be a state representative?

I believe that my involvement and leadership in community organizations and in our public education system, my life experiences in the Army, earning a degree in business administration at UH-Hilo while working full-time, for working in the private and government sectors, all while balancing marriage and raising three daughters.

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?

Yes, as the price of gas has increased more individuals use less gas and as more electric vehicles are being used, we have collected less money to use for federal highway matching funds. We need to revisit the taxes and fees that is the revenue for our state highway funds.

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?

Yes, I believe that the rail system needs to be completely built. The half-percent excise tax surcharge is an effective way to assess the broad Oahu community which includes residents and visitors equally.

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

The illegal vacation rental issue is not a state jurisdiction issue and should be handled by better enforcement by the counties of their counties permitting ordinances. It is also a county property tax issue where many properties are probably not paying the appropriate property taxes because of the illegal permitting.

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

Yes, I support working on the use of “body cameras” for police officers, but I also support their ability to negotiate the terms, conditions, policies and procedures for the use, storage of recordings and availability of recordings. But these recordings are only part of the evidence of the incident.

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?

I believe that police officers as well as other government workers and the public have personal rights that needs to be protected until final adjudication of the issue has been completed, and then details should be available as determined by law.

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