comscore 2022 Election: Adrian Tam | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Election

2022 Election: Adrian Tam

  • Adrian Tam
Name on ballot:

Adrian Tam

Running for:

State House – District 24

Political party:

Democratic Party

Campaign website:

www.adrianforhawaii.com

Current occupation:

State Representative

Age:

29

Previous job history:

Realtor, Legislative Staffer

Previous elected office, if any:

NA

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

My qualifications are unique as I hold both public, private, and non-profit experience that I can bring to the State Legislature. Before being elected in 2020, I worked in the Legislature as a manager while holding a license to practice real estate. I’m also a member of various organizations, from the Waikiki Lions Club to the Taiwanese Professionals Association. I also sit on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center.

Aside from that, I bring a unique voice to the Legislature as I am a young professional at the beginning of their career. I hope to continue my work in the Legislature to set up a better Hawaii for the future, including many of my peers.

What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?

From speaking with constituents, our community’s top two issues are crime and homelessness. We should not lump the two issues together but develop long-term solutions that will solve them together, including innovating and investing in affordable housing, good-paying jobs, and education. Through these initiatives, we can ensure that one’s likelihood of going homeless or resorting to a life of crime is lowered. At the same time, we need open communication and collaboration between departments and organizations to ensure that the responsibility is shared between everyone instead of passed around.

Rising inflation has significantly worsened Hawaii’s already high cost of living. What can be done at the state level to help Hawaii residents cope with high consumer prices?

Rising cost continues to be a top concern as many are already living paycheck to paycheck before rising inflation costs. In this legislative session, SB 514 was passed into law to provide income tax refunds up to $300. While that may bring some relief, it may not be enough for many. The number one contributor to high costs continues to be housing and rent. The state can ramp up affordable rental developments to add more supply to the housing market to meet the demand to bring down costs.

Hawaii’s rising gasoline prices are among the highest in the nation. Should Hawaii lower or temporarily suspend state taxes on gasoline to help ease the pain at the pump?

I will only support lowering or temporarily suspending the state taxes on gasoline on the condition that the tax relief is passed on to the consumers. My concern about suspending gas taxes has always been that the gas companies can absorb those tax relief on their company’s net profit and keep gas prices high for everyday citizens.

Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.

Many working families and small businesses depend on the visitors’ industry to keep a roof over their heads. However, I support efforts to manage tourism in Hawaii better to ensure that our environment is protected. These include initiatives such as impact fees, reservation systems on high attraction visitor attractions, and better visitor education on places that are off-limits and current state and federal laws on endangered species, traffic, etc.

Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?


Yes, diversifying our economy is a high priority for me as it has a long-lasting impact on generations. I believe the state needs to go toward renewable green technology when it comes to diversifying our economy. To accomplish this, we would need to increase STEM education in our schools, utilize our research university to build on existing green technology, offer incentives to the private sector and work with them to integrate this research and technology into Hawaii’s infrastructure. By accomplishing this, we have an economy that can complement tourism, create good-paying jobs, and help the state meet its clean energy goals by 2045.

What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?

To increase affordable housing, we need to look at our current vacant state lands that would be fitting for mixed-used to develop housing. At the same time, I hope to support a proposal to build government employee housing (teachers, police officers, etc.) that the state can develop. This proposal can potentially take a large group of individuals into housing, so they are not part of the demand for housing, thus bringing housing costs down for everyone else.

What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?

As we grapple with the pandemic, communication continues to be vital in ensuring the safety of our community from COVID-19. The government must work together to ensure that testing continues to be free and convenient. At the same time, vaccines should be convenient as well. The Department of Health should continue a now-ended program that would allow community members to schedule their vaccines to be taken at home.

Hawaii isn’t likely to see a repeat of this year’s $2 billion revenue surplus which allowed higher-than-normal spending on state programs and projects. If elected, what will your top spending priorities be?

My top priority on funding will continue to be on education, the environment, housing, homelessness, childcare, and public safety.

What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?

The state needs to address the inequities in healthcare, including abortions, on the neighbor islands. That would be the best response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade.

What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?

To support our public education system, the state should find ways to keep teachers from leaving the profession. This can be accomplished by providing teacher housing. Studies consistently show that teacher retention directly affects test scores in our students. At the same time, we need to expedite school infrastructure such as air conditioning and maintenance to school buildings that are falling apart. This also has a direct effect on test scores.

What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?

One area where we have done well following the pandemic is through the option of providing remote testimony on bills going through the legislature. I know this is something welcomed by those living on the neighboring islands, and we should continue this practice permanently. I believe that we can make the government more transparent by prohibiting legislators and candidates from fundraising during the legislative session and requiring PACs to disclose any amount they donate to candidates or legislators. Right now, any donation under $100 is not publicly disclosed; it is time we require us to disclose PAC money.

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

I support the advancement of science and, therefore, the Thirty Meter Telescope. However, it is not my decision to make; that decision belongs to the newly established Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Committee that was established by the Legislature, which I supported. I will respect the judgment that comes from the committee.

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

Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of giving back to the community that gave them so much when they first immigrated here with their parents. It is something that I live by every day I’m in office. I want to thank the voters for the privilege of representing them in the State Legislature for the past two years. I’m humbled to run for re-election because there is still much work to be done if we want to build a better Hawaii for future generations. I humbly ask for the honor of representing you for another term in office, and I look forward to bringing leadership, experience, empathy, and perspective to the job.


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