comscore 2020 Election: Dale Kobayashi | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Dale Kobayashi

  • Dale Kobayashi
Name on ballot:

Dale Kobayashi

Running for:

State House – District 23

Political party:


Campaign website:

Current occupation:

Retired from finance



Previous job history:

Most of my career was spent in the global bond markets, I was a bond trader in New York, London and Tokyo. Served as Head of Fixed Income-Asia for both Commerzbank and Donaldson, Lufkin, Jenrette. After returning to Hawaii I was the Chief Investment Officer of First Hawaiian Bank and municipal bond issuer at Morgan Stanley.

Previous elected office, if any:

I’ve just completed my first term of office.

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I bring a combination of local roots, my family spans 6 generations here, with a global perspective rooted in working at the highest level of global finance. Heart and mind. I care deeply and am tenacious on policy.

What will be your top priority if elected?

The primary driver for me entering public office is my conviction there will be virtually no local people left in Hawaii within 2 generations at most. There’s a way forward for us but it’s completely different than what we’ve been doing, which rewarded a select few and left most behind. Nuff Already. My priorities lie in affordability, economic diversification and public education, key pillars in creating a Hawaii For All.

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

Recent legislation which would have greatly increased the state health director’s authority to impose any measures deemed necessary for this and any future emergencies highlighted the public’s strong concerns about any forced medical treatment. Our response needs to be measured and logical, not panic based.

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

Clearly to get people back to work as soon as possible. In our current one dimensional economy the only way that happens is to open up to visitors, at least to some extent. Which runs counter to the health and safety concerns of many. While our response to date has prioritized the health and safety concerns related to the virus, the significant health and safety concerns related to the coming economic horror were not equally weighted in the conversation.

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?

Top Down economic policy is responsible for the continuing decline of global, national and local living standards. The only way forward is to keep money in the hands of those who need it and will spend it, limiting worker pay with cuts or furloughs is the exact opposite of what both Aloha and economic logic dictate.

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?

This was a major priority well before the pandemic. Waikiki just the new plantation. Everyone looks for the one magic pill, there is none, diversification needs to be rooted in dozens of initiatives, big and small, the aggregate effect gets us there. I’m involved in and supportive of efforts related to development of Hawaii as a hedge fund domicile, private equity leader, baseball mecca. The current economic emergency dictates we leave no stone unturned, serious consideration needs to be given to revenue sources such as lottery, gambling and recreational cannabis.

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

The current call for reform is obviously triggered by race based murders committed by police on the mainland. That hasn’t been an issue with local police, credit to a greater culture of tolerance here. That being said, we’re far from perfect here as well and reform, like what we passed requiring law enforcement convicted of offences to be identified, are needed to ensure a proper balance of transparency.

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

I’ve been on record as opposing TMT from the start. It saddens me to hear people refer to this as a Native Hawaiian issue. We created lives outside of the indentured servitude of the plantation economy by working together, all of us supporting each other. It’s always been how we roll here in Hawaii. The only way forward is for all of us to have solidarity as brothers. Divided We Fall.

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

I sacrificed a lot to make the move to policy making. Business as usual not an option for me. But the forces behind our status quo are formidable, requiring more than anything the Will to force change so our public policy benefits all, not just some.

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