Name on ballot:
State House – District 34
Previous job history:
Former journalist with KHON-TV and Honolulu Star-Bulletin; communications director at UH Manoa and press secretary for U.S. Senator Dan Inouye.
Previous elected office, if any:
First elected to the State House in 2012; reelected in 2014, 2016 and 2018.eelected in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
My career has been devoted to listening to people’s concerns and acting on them. As a life-long resident of Hawaii and proud product of our public schools, I care deeply about protecting our unique lifestyle, natural resources and cultural legacy.
What will be your top priority if elected?
For all eight years of my service in the House, I’ve co-chaired the Kupuna Caucus, which is composed of lawmakers and stakeholders in senior citizen services and groups. I helped lead efforts to fund programs that enable kupuna to age safely in their own homes, and assist family caregivers who take care of them. In this pandemic, those services are more important than ever, and so if re-elected, I will continue my efforts to assist our senior population.
As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more can be done to protect residents’ health?
The policies of Governor Ige and county mayors have effectively kept our COVID-19 numbers under control. We need to protect against relaxing our standards for wearing masks, social distancing and large gatherings because the disease doesn’t care that we’re tired of these policies. Vigilance is still the best protection until an effective vaccine is developed.
What more can be done to help residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We should consider hiring some of the tens of thousands of unemployed workers to help enforce our 14-day visitor quarantine by conducting random spot-checks on everyone subject to the quarantine. We could also employ them as a “conservation corps” to clean and upgrade our public parks, hiking trails and beaches.
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?
They have to be considered, but only as a last resort after State government has exhausted the use of loans and other spending reductions to balance the budget.
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?
Our attempts over the past several decades to develop new industries have shown there is no magic solution. We need to grow high-tech businesses by expanding computer education and broadband capacities in our public schools, and also increase food sustainability by creating farming opportunities and improving agricultural research.
Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.
Yes. Wearing of body cameras by police officers should be mandatory. We should increase community policing programs that emphasize personal contact with residents, businesses and neighborhood organizations because they’ve been shown to effectively reduce crime.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
Yes. Astronomical research is a high-tech industry that should be encouraged,
and construction of the TMT will add to Hawaii’s status as a world center for astronomy. The UH needs to do its part by following through on improved maintenance of the Mauna Kea site and respecting Native Hawaiian protocols in the TMT’s construction and operations.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
I’m not a career politician. My career is in serving the public, and my legislative experience helps me more effectively meet the needs of my community and our state.
As a husband, father and brand-new grandfather, I can relate to the desire of all citizens to reside in a safe, smart and economically vibrant community. As a legislator, I’m devoted to making that possible.
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