comscore 2020 Election: Adrian Tam | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Adrian Tam

  • Adrian Tam
Name on ballot:

Adrian Tam

Running for:

State House – District 22

Political party:


Campaign website:

Current occupation:

Real estate agent



Previous job history:

Former Senate Staffer

Previous elected office, if any:


Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

Having spent five years in the private sector and four years in the public sector I have a unique set of experiences that I can bring to the legislature. Having worked in the legislature, I understand the inner workings of how to pass bills and to negotiate on legislation. With my experiences in the private sector, I understand the importance of urgency, since it is currently lacking at the State level. Additionally, these experiences overlap each other. I, like many in Hawaii, have worked multiple jobs and lived with family in order to get by with our astronomical cost of living. We need leaders who understand the current struggles of working people to legislate on their behalf.

What will be your top priority if elected?

My top priority is to make Hawaii a place for all of us. Economists are predicting that Hawaii could force out over 25,000 residents by 2022, and this is not a new problem. Prior to this projection, opportunities have been dwindling, wages have been low, and taxation has been regressive. My goal is to diversify our economy, raise our wages, and protect and expand job opportunities in Hawaii so that local families can afford to stay here.

As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more can be done to protect residents’ health?

Hawaii is one of the strictest states when it comes to preventing the spread of this disease. What we need to do is set up concrete timelines and plans meant to prevent the spread of COVID19, and we need to be able change course immediately if circumstances were to take a turn for the worst. Second, we need to expand testing for our residents. Testing is the only way for someone who is asymptomatic to know they have the virus to prevent the spread of it.

What more can be done to help residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Hawaii’s biggest economic problem was our unemployment system. First and foremost, we will need to update our system to prevent any future backlogs. Second, we need to be able to find ways to protect homeowners, renters, and property owners from foreclosures and evictions. We will need to pass rental and mortgage assistance or no-interest loans to those affected, and then work with lenders and property management companies to mitigate a possible eviction and foreclosure crisis. The Legislature may also want to provide grants to charities that are providing food and other resources to people that have been impacted.

Should public worker furloughs, pay cuts or downsizing be used to help the state deal with lower tax revenues and higher expenses during the pandemic? Why or why not?

Furloughs, pay cuts, and downsizing should be a last and final resort. Hawaii has to think of ways to keep their public workers working instead of sorting them into the unemployment backlog. The State should think about cutting vacant non-civil service positions, placing hiring freezes for other positions, and raise revenue without burdening Hawaii residents, such as implementing a tax on real estate investment trusts. Hawaii has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation; there is no need to raise it.

Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. If elected, what would you propose to support and diversify the state’s economy?

To diversity our economy, create jobs, and help our environment, Hawaii should look at green technology. This includes land reclamation, hydropower, green architecture, etc. Hawaii has a goal of clean energy by 2045, and we will need to start now if we want to meet it. My proposal would be to invest money into green tech research at the University of Hawaii, and make that research available to any business or entity as long as they meet certain conditions. These conditions would be that they base their work in Hawaii and hire a 50% quota from the local workforce. This also means pushing for STEM education in our schools and investments into our brightest researchers at the University.

Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.

I fully support the need for police reforms in Hawaii. To improve policing and accountability, each police commission should be open and transparent on the review of their police chiefs.The public should be made aware of misconduct by police officers, which is why it is critical to pass HB285. Residents should be aware of any misconduct by their law enforcement, and those officers should be held accountable for their actions.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?

I support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. The process for this project was rigorous and Hawaii should honor contracts and agreements. However, I believe that it should come with the decommissioning of several telescopes currently on Mauna Kea and new management of the observatories. That being said, I acknowledge and respect the Kia’i and the need to protect sacred places. I want to find the best way moving forward for both sides, and I believe that this is the best way.

Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?

Running to be the new State Representative for District 22 has been an honor and privilege. During the course of this campaign, I have had the opportunity to listen to many resident’s struggles, concerns, and dreams for Hawaii. These talks and conversations fuel me each and every day to keep pursuing our mission for a better Hawaii. If elected, I will take everything that has been shared with me throughout this campaign and give them a voice at the Legislature. I humbly ask for the privilege to represent you and to fight for you.

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2020 Hawaii elections coverage.
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