comscore 2020 Election: Henry J.C. Aquino | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Henry J.C. Aquino

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  • Henry Aquino
Name on ballot:

Henry J.C. Aquino

Running for:

State House – District 38

Political party:


Campaign website:


Current occupation:

State Representative, District 38; Non-Profit Executive Director



Previous job history:

2008-Present Hawaii State Legislature, State Representative
2010-Present Waipahu Community Association, Executive Director
2007-2009 Waipahu Community Association, Program Coordinator
2005-2007 Catholic Charities Hawaii, Classroom Presenter

Previous elected office, if any:

No answer submitted

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

As the current State Representative of the 38th District of Waipahu, I have utilized my legislative, work, educational and community experiences to continue to improve the quality of life for our residents and address important issues on their behalf. Throughout my legislative career, I’ve had opportunities to serve on various State House committees including Labor & Public Employment, Education, Higher Education, Consumer Protection & Commerce, Finance, Housing; chaired the Public Safety & Military Affairs Committee and currently serving as chair of the Transportation Committee. Over the years, I developed experience and an understanding of the different issues that most residents consider to be important and necessary. I believe, with the support of our community, we can continue to provide effective representation and make a difference in our district and state.

What will be your top priority if elected?

My priorities would be addressing quality of life-related issues such as helping to boost our local economy during these trying times, providing needed government services/resources and continuing to improve our state transportation infrastructure.

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

With recent spikes nationwide competing for testing supplies along with Hawaii’s movement to further economic reopening, we need to provide more access for testing and bolster our contact tracing program in order to protect our communities. Furthermore, our residents need to remain cautious and vigilant by following all health and safety guidelines highlighted by both state and county leaders by wearing masks, exercise social distancing, practice good hygiene by washing/sanitizing hands frequently and staying home if you are not feeling well. Lastly, updates provided by government entities should be consistent and provided in a timely manner to ensure residents have the most updated and accurate information.

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

This year, the Legislature provided additional support for state unemployment benefits, rental subsidies and food assistance programs to help all residents financially affected by COVID-19. In addition, further investments and efforts to diversify our economy and supporting small businesses can help strengthen our communities moving forward.

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?

In this year’s session, the Legislature was able to balance the state budget despite lowered revenue projections. While lower revenues may pose difficult decisions for both the executive and legislative branches in the near future, the options of furloughs, pay cuts and reductions-in-force should be last-resort considerations as we all struggle to keep people working while providing essential government services and programs for our entire state. Currently, there are available resources such as federal debt financing programs and other means to help Hawaii get through these tough times.

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 is necessary to ensure our state’s economic recovery and future sustainability. A renewed focus on re-investing in government infrastructure, supporting our public university and school systems to continue to provide quality education, workforce development through public/private efforts, finding other creative ways to develop good-paying employment opportunities and supporting emerging and existing industries for future economic growth are all ways we can help to better our communities and position Hawaii to grow and adapt as needed.

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

I would support measures to allow the police commissions more authority to conduct necessary investigations with increased transparency and accountability to ensure that public safety is paramount and carried out accordingly.

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

The Thirty Meter Telescope is a project I support due to the educational and economic opportunities it would afford our state and its residents. I also believe there are opportunities for the project and concerned community members to find ways to coexist to ensure we can better provide for today and for future generations to come.

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

It is an honor and a privilege to serve the community of Waipahu and portions of Pearl City over the last 11 years in the Hawaii State Legislature. With your continued confidence, I will continue to work hard to make our community the best that it can be. My family and I would like to extend our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones during these stressful times and we humbly ask for your support this primary election.

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
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