comscore 2020 Election: Bob McDermott | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Bob McDermott

  • Bob McDermott
Name on ballot:

Bob McDermott

Running for:

State House – District 40

Political party:


Campaign website:

Current occupation:

State Legislator/ Commerical Realtor



Previous job history:

Executive Director of the Honolulu Navy League

Previous elected office, if any:

State House 96-2002; 2012 to present

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I have served in my present office since 2013 and am currently a member of the House Committee of Finance. I was also selected to serve on the House Select Committee on COVID-19.

What will be your top priority if elected?

Restoring Hawaii’s economy in the post COVID era.

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

Expanding contact tracing for identified cases and establishing a system of pre-arrival testing for visitors. Testing for COVID-19 shall be free for residents.

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

Take measures to stimulate the non-tourist related industries, such as agriculture and construction to create jobs. One example, the Legislature and Governor should revive the blocked legislation which would allow construction of a new Aloha Stadium and adjacent economic zone.

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 favored deferring the recent salary increase for state workers because I couldn’t, in good conscience, vote to give more money to people who have jobs when over 200,000 people are unemployed. We are in uncharted waters with respect to the state budget. It would be premature to make any policy proposals until we get a clearer revenue picture when tourism returns and the local economy rebounds.

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?

Agriculture is one of the keys. Increase our food production by 30% in a meaningful way. If you grow it, process it and sell it here in Hawaii, people will pay a premium for fresh local food.

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

I think Hawaii is truly a color-blind society. The spirit of Aloha and Ohana permeate our daily lives. Our police force is the same, our brothers, sisters, cousins. In that spirit, we have a great police force. We are not like big cities on the mainland. Any reform proposals should relate to an identified problem and not as a reaction to incidents elsewhere.

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

The opponents have been given ample “due process”. We have been through 10 years of hearings, environmental reviews, court cases and judicial decisions. It is time to build TMT.

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

My wife Utu and I have been married for over 35 years and have 8 children. I have a BA in economics and an MBA from Chaminade University.

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

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