comscore 2020 Election: Scott Grimmer | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Election

2020 Election: Scott Grimmer

  • Scott Grimmer
Name on ballot:

Scott Grimmer

Running for:

State House – District 51

Political party:

Democratic

Campaign website:

scottgrimmer.com

Current occupation:

Business Owner

Age:

33

Previous job history:

Founder and Owner of milevalue.com (sold 2019)

Previous elected office, if any:

No answer submitted

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

After law school, I founded a successful online travel business. Our niche was small–frequent flyer miles, credit card points, and hotel points–but profitable enough that I hired several employees.

Some of the employees were here, but some were in other countries to offer 24 hour customer service. Every job I created was a completely remote, online job. These are the kinds of jobs that are being created at a faster pace than ever because of Covid-19, and these are the kinds of jobs Hawaii needs to be at the forefront of to end our over-reliance on tourism and to end the brain drain of our keiki moving to the mainland after graduation.

Hawaii is well-placed to land remote jobs in law, medicine, counseling, finance, technology, and other industries because we are part of the United States’ trusted legal and regulatory system, and we are in a time zone that can deal with New York and Beijing in the same day.

The problem is that no one in the State House and no one else in this race has experience creating these jobs.

I want to take my experience creating 21st century, remote jobs to the State House to end our over-reliance on tourism and to end the brain drain of our keiki moving to the mainland after graduation.

What will be your top priority if elected?

I will work to diversify our economy, so that we can protect our island from destructive over-tourism and weather the next downturn better.

I know every politician every election talks about diversifying our economy, but the difference is that I don’t just talk the talk. I walked the walk and created jobs before running for office.

I mentioned remote jobs in my previous answer. The other areas I think Hawaii should focus on are sustainable agriculture and aquaculture and green energy production and storage.

It is a scandal that we only produce 10% of our own food when we can grow year round and we have known the secrets of aquaculture for hundreds of years. To jumpstart production, I would pass a law that directs the Department of Education and Corrections Department to buy its meals locally for five years. That would prove to potential producers that there is a market for sustainable, local food and would cause a boom in production. We can achieve food independence.

We are committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2045, but we’ll only get there if we improve our storage of green energy, since the sun and wind are intermittent. Hawaii needs to lead the world in battery storage technology. That will create high-paying green jobs today and bring even more money back to the state when we export the technology.

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

We need an effective quarantine system. The current “honor system” based on phone calls is a joke that tourists are taking advantage of.

Let’s start by sending random check ups. If that isn’t enough, let’s force arriving tourists to quarantine in a single hotel at their expense.

Beyond that, we need to make sure small businesses have access to PPE so they can safely reopen.

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

The unemployment system is in shambles. My sister was furloughed for a month and never got a single check. Others have gone months without getting their checks.

We need to update the technology in the unemployment office, so that we are ready for the next surge in unemployment. We need to have a plan in place to hire and train temporary employees to process unemployment claims before the next surge.

We also need to provide emergency food, rent assistance, and health care during the pandemic.

So far we’ve distributed food for about $1 per pound. That is the most cost-effective way of making sure our fellow residents and especially keiki have food available during the summer. We need to greatly increase our food distribution to the hungry.

Rental assistance needs to be widely available to families who lose jobs and run out of unemployment benefits because we can’t let this crisis swell the number of homeless in Hawaii.

Finally testing and care related to coronavirus needs to be provided for free. This is a public health crisis, and if anyone is afraid to be tested because of the potential cost of care, it puts all of us at risk.

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?

To deal with budget shortfalls, the first option should be using money found in special funds that are in excess of what is needed for those funds or aren’t being used. (Side note: the auditor found hundreds of millions of dollars in such funds. We need to do a better job of keeping track of the taxpayers’ money.)

The second option should be tapping the rainy day fund.

The third option should be short-term borrowing from the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility.

The last option–to be used only after the first three–should be raising taxes or cutting spending including on state employees’ salaries. During the Great Recession, economies that took this “austerity” route did worse than economies that kept the money flowing. Let’s learn from recent history.

Since we don’t know how deep this economic crisis will be or how long it will last, so it is premature to rule out any options.

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?

We need to focus on remote jobs, sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, and green energy production and storage.

Hawaii is well-placed to land remote jobs in law, medicine, counseling, finance, technology, and other industries because we are part of the United States’ trusted legal and regulatory system, and we are in a time zone that can deal with New York and Beijing in the same day.

I want to take my experience creating 21st century, remote jobs to the State House to end our over-reliance on tourism and to end the brain drain of our keiki moving to the mainland after graduation.

It is a scandal that we only produce 10% of our own food when we can grow year round and we have known the secrets of aquaculture for hundreds of years. To jumpstart production, I would pass a law that directs the Department of Education and Corrections Department to buy its meals locally for five years. That would prove to potential producers that there is a market for sustainable, local food and would cause a boom in production. We can achieve food independence.

We are committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2045, but we’ll only get there if we improve our storage of green energy, since the sun and wind are intermittent. Hawaii needs to lead the world in battery storage technology. That will create high-paying green jobs today and bring even more money back to the state when we export the technology.

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

I support making disciplinary records of police officers publicly available. Government transparency is essential to public trust, and public trust is essential to a well-functioning police department.

I support improved record keeping in the police departments. It is troubling that recent reports show that HPD doesn’t know how many people have been killed during police interactions in recent years.

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

I support the construction. Hawaiians have led the world in astronomy since the time they used the stars to cross thousands of miles of open oceans. We need to continue our lead in astronomy while also creating high-paying jobs, moving science forward for humanity, respecting the rule of law, and showing investors that Hawaii is open for business.

At the same time, we need to give Native Hawaiians a stronger voice in the governance of Mauna Kea, make spaces available to cultural practitioners, and remove any unused telescopes from Mauna Kea.

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

I have the experience, integrity, and work ethic to be Kailua and Waimanalo’s Representative.

My experience creating remote jobs will allow me to contribute to diversifying Hawaii’s economy from the State House.

I am the only candidate in this race who has agreed to voluntarily limit my spending during the election because big money in politics is good for special interests and bad for residents. My small-dollar fundraising has still raised enough for me to send the mailers and get the signs I need to win.

I knocked on thousands of doors in the last month (wearing a mask and standing 12 feet apart from residents) because I wanted to meet people where they were and hear their concerns. As your Representative, I wouldn’t be your boss–I’d be your servant.

From those conversations I learned that people are sick of the “same ol’, same ol'” and the special deals for special interests.

That’s why I want to bring my fresh perspective and business experience to the State House to put residents first, not special interests.


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