comscore 2020 Election: Alan Akao | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Alan Akao

  • Alan Akao
Name on ballot:

Alan Akao

Running for:

State House – District 51

Political party:


Campaign website:

Current occupation:

Deputy Public Defender



Previous job history:

Associate Attorney at Revere & Associates, Campaign Manager for Makana Paris for OHA At Large, Chief of Staff/Administrative Services Manager for State Representative Kaniela Ing, Associate Attorney at Oshima, Itomura & Fujimoto.

Previous elected office, if any:

Kailua Neighborhood Board

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

As a former full time legislative staffer and practicing attorney I bring the right set of tools to represent Kailua and Waimanalo in the state house of representatives. I have written bills and resolutions, assisted in committee hearings and researched, reviewed, and briefed legislation. I also am familiar and have practiced in both civil and criminal courts and in administrative hearings in the State of Hawaii court system.

What will be your top priority if elected?

My top priority is to ensure that our state government move toward a focus on supporting working class people. Looking at our current COVID19 pandemic the first responders, teachers, and working class and unemployed are the ones who suffer. While developers and large businesses take a hit economically, working class people don’t know how they are going to stay healthy, have to choose between work and a paycheck and line up by the mile to get food from food bank distributions. We need stronger social safety nets and services including universal healthcare, paid family and sick leave, unemployment benefits and access to health and social services for mental health, juveniles, LGBTQ+ and housing for our homeless and underserved communities.

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

There needs to be heavy investment in contact tracing, isolation measures, testing and recovery so that all Hawaii citizens know the status of their health and exposure. There needs to be a serious re-examination of reopening efforts and diversion of money and funds from tourism and businesses to getting our critical infrastructure and necessary government functions up and running remotely. We have to invest in industries that will help us be sustainable given the long term effects the pandemic will have on daily life. There also needs to be a conscious effort to purchase and stock personal protective equipment to last until full and safe reopening and to prepare for future epidemics and pandemics.

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

The state has limited resources. The state government as well as the congressional delegation must put pressure on the federal government and seek low to no-interest loans to help stabilize the income and benefits that are depressing our residents. There needs to be a conscious effort and attempt to freeze all rent and mortgages and prevent evictions and foreclosures of any kind. There cannot be a choice of economic recovery without first having healthcare stability.

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?

It should not. While it is a practical reality, austerity measures such as this have shown to stifle long term economic recovery. The focus should be pausing or delaying non-essential projects and services, freezing vacancies in hiring, and looking to borrow funds to cover as much as feasible in the budgets shortfalls.

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?

Diversification will not come from entirely new sectors. Hawaii’s economic sectors have identified high growth sectors based on existing industries that we should support until we have economic stability. Those include specialty healthcare industries which I believe can be expanded into collateral industries such as medical equipment production. That would help prepare Hawaii in both economic and healthcare front. Other high potential for growth industries include agriculture, historically one of Hawaii’s strengths but also leads to needed sustainability given our over-reliance on imported goods. Lastly, tv/film/music production which has shown the unique geographical benefits that is mutual beneficial.

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

Absolutely. To ignore reform is to ignore progress. Every industry and service should continue to look at ways to improve. As a Deputy Public Defender I work in the criminal justice system and have contact or review of police and prosecutors documents and cases on a near daily basis. Reform is not about passing blame. Its about improvement and accountability. I believe we need a more open and less restricted police commission and standards review board that is less politically motivated and that has true independent decision making. I believe we need to examine police certification and licensing that officers need before they are admitted to the force. There should also be special licensing and coordination for mental health, juveniles, substance abuse, domestic violence and elder response.

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

I oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the primary basis that there continues to be poor land management in regards to Mauna Kea and the over-abundance of facilities already present.

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

I believe that diversity of opinion, education, experience, and expertise if a strength. But none of that will matter unless you vote and have your voice heard. I humbly ask that you consider me if you live in House District 51 – Kailua and Waimanalo because I will put people over politics and use my experiences and expertise to ensure openness and reasonableness in my public service. From public school to public defender and continued public servant, I believe I can be a voice for the people and get things done the right way, with your input and values. Mahalo!

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

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up