comscore 2020 Election: Derek A. Turbin | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Derek A. Turbin

  • Derek A. Turbin
Name on ballot:

Derek A. Turbin

Running for:

State House – District 20

Political party:


Campaign website:

Current occupation:




Previous job history:

-Managing Attorney, Gilson Daub Hawaii, 2019 to present
-Staff Attorney for the Judiciary Committee at the Hawaii State House of Representatives, 2019
-Associate Attorney, 2013 to 2018
-Associate Head Track Coach at Occidental College, 2007 to 2009
-Teacher at St. Louis School, 2007

Previous elected office, if any:


Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I promise to bring energy, determination, integrity and teamwork to the table when I represent our community at the State House. As we face unprecedented challenges going forward, I promise to fight as hard for our community as I have done as an athlete and coach, and as an attorney for my clients. Now more than ever, we need a committed and accomplished problem solver as our State Representative.

I am currently the managing attorney for the law office, Gilson Daub Hawaii. I specialize in Workers’ Compensation law, but I have experience in employment law, personal injury law, and general civil litigation. I also served as a Staff Attorney for the Hawaii State House Judiciary Committee. I have been a licensed attorney for seven and a half years, with an active license to practice in California and Hawaii. I worked six years as an associate attorney and have been serving for one year as a managing associate attorney.

When I am not practicing law (or campaigning) I volunteer my time as a coach for the Special Olympics Hawaii and serve on the young leader’s board for Make-A-Wish Hawaii. I also spend my time volunteering at the Kakaako food bank for Help Is On The Way, and delivering meals for Meals-on-Wheels and Malama Meals.

I’m a Punahou graduate and played on their varsity football, basketball and track teams. I played football and ran track at Occidental college, and played in the 2006 Hula Bowl.

What will be your top priority if elected?

My number one priority will be to help our families who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as our local businesses hit hard by this crisis. 2021 must be a year of recovery, and it is vital that the legislature acknowledge the hit our families took from COVID-19 and support all of us through this crisis.

Moreover, as we reopen our economy to visitors we must stay vigilant in protecting the health of our community, while also focusing on the emergence and re-growth of our economy.

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

First, we need to expand testing and contact tracing to contain future bumps or increases in COVID-19 infection rates. Next, we need to continue to build our stockpile of PPE, to ensure that our medical system is adequately equipped to take on any future increases in COVID-19 infection rates.

By working collaboratively with the private sector we must improve our resident’s access to quality medical care, in particular medical care on the neighbor islands. This can be done through investing in and growing access to telehealth, funding community led health centers, and safeguarding dollars and resources dedicated for public health.

Access to affordable and dependable internet service is crucial to the expansion of telehealth, safe education options, the regrowth of our economy and saving our local small businesses. A crucial component is ensuring that families with school aged children across the state have immediate access to dependable and affordable internet service so that our students return to the classroom only when it is safe to do so and can learn from a distance if they are immunocompromised.

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

Rent and utilities relief programs are essential to families whose members have been laid off or furloughed. We will also work with the federal government to develop a statewide job corps program. Lastly, to avoid further layoffs, paycheck relief programs must be funded through federal, state, and county public and private partnerships.

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?

I am against public worker furloughs, pay cuts, or downsizing to help the state deal with lower tax revenues. To ensure that we do not have to do public worker furloughs or pay cuts, I recommend the following actions:
-Tap into our “rainy day funds;”
-Maximize federal funding;
-Due to the state’s good credit score, obtain bonds from the federal government, and the private market if necessary;
-Examine 2% to 3% “airfare fee” or “airport fee” from visitors travelling to Hawaiʻi;
-Impose a vacancy tax upon out of state property owners who leave their properties vacant.

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?

First, it is entirely possible for our legislature to secure federal funds to grow our local farming and agriculture industry. This federal funding could be secured through the federal job corps program being discussed by congress.

Second, we can grow our television and film industry. In order to grow our television and film industry, we would need to remove the cap on tax credits for film and television productions brought to Hawai’i, which I would support due to the large amount of jobs the film industry would bring to our economy.

Third, it is time to lean into the economic opportunities presented by the clean energy market such as the solar and wind energy industries which we can strengthen through expanded tax credits for local companies developing clean energy options right here in our State.

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

Hawai’i needs to address how its criminal justice system disproportionately impacts minority groups. To address these issues, Hawai’i should start moving away from mass incarceration as well as its cash bail system. Through cash bail, we often find our state detaining individuals who committed minor offenses for months at a time as they await trial or sentencing. This system disproportionately affects minority groups and leads to mass incarceration. Instead of offering cash bail, pre-trial incarceration should be based on whether the individual is a risk to public safety or a flight risk.

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

I support facilitating an opportunity for both sides to come together to find common ground. Between now and 2021, I hope to see both sides meet to find ways to support the environmental concerns and land use concerns presented by the protectors, as well as protecting the freedom of assembly. I also support the growth of science, and enhancing opportunities for Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and local students aspiring to pursue careers in STEM. Through an open dialogue with our activists, it is entirely possible for the University and the State to support growing educational and technological opportunities on our journey to becoming the center of innovation in the pacific.

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

No answer submitted

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