comscore 2022 Election: Brandon Elefante | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2022 Election: Brandon Elefante

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now
  • Brandon Elefante
Name on ballot:

Brandon Elefante

Running for:

State Senate – District 16

Political party:


Campaign website:

Current occupation:

City Councilmember



Previous job history:

-City Councilmember (Current)
-Chair of the National League of Cities Large Cities Council (Current)
-Former Chair of the O’ahu Metropolitan Planning Organization
-Legislative Aide for former Councilmember Breene Harimoto
-Legislative Staffer in the Hawai’i State Senate
-Student Activities Coordinator for New Student Programs at Chaminade University
-Former High School Teacher and Golf Coach
-Coffee Catering Business Owner

Previous elected office, if any:

‘Aiea Neighborhood Board Member and City Councilmember

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I served as a legislator for the past eight years and understand the issues facing our state. As Chair of the National League of Cities Large Cities Council, I have led efforts to support our state economy by advocating for federal dollars during the pandemic in key areas such as health, infrastructure, and balancing our budget. Moreover, I care deeply about the community I grew up in and have a genuine passion to serve.

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

The most pressing issues facing my district are public safety and concerning crime levels, homelessness and lack of affordable housing, and building a strong, sustainable economy for the future of our community.

To address these issues we need to recruit, train, and encourage more people to join the Police Department. We need to improve public safety by creating communities where people feel welcomed and secure. We need to build more housing with more housing tax credits and funding. And we need to secure the future of our state and insure our keiki can afford to live here by creating opportunities in the workforce for local families.

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?

We can all do our part by promoting incentives for the agricultural community, find ways to manage resources and costs such as being open to the idea of lowering the fuel tax for a period of time given the cost of fuel is so high, and also look at alternatives to transportation such as telecommuting, carpooling and other options such as expanding digital technology.

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?

Both options should be considered given gas prices are extremely high. I’d be open to the idea of lowering our gas tax for a period of time. In addition, we should collaborate with our federal partners to see what we can do better to reduce these high costs.

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

While tourism is an important component to our state economy, there must be a balance. We need to be better stewards of our natural resources, including tourist attractions.

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

Yes, absolutely. We need to support other sectors like start-up businesses, renewable energy, and creative media through incentives such as tax credits, new infrastructure, and making Hawai’i a great place to do business.

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

I authored a charter amendment that will be on the ballot to double the size of our affordable housing fund, increase inventory by finding suitable lands and properties for affordable housing, add tax credits for development, and increase funding for social programs that provide support and outreach to our homeless population.

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

I would propose policies and infrastructure that support our front-line healthcare workers. In addition, we need to increase access to healthcare and basic essentials for working-class families. Finally, water is essential to life and health; we need to protect our aquifer and defuel Red Hill, while looking at ways to continue to protect our water resources.

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?

I would support funding for projects that address my Senate District’s most pressing needs: education, infrastructure, housing, and social programs for the kupuna.

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

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has moved our society backwards rather than forwards, as it restricts the ability of women to make their own choices about their reproductive health. This decision will severely jeopardize or eliminate access to health care for millions, especially for those who are the most vulnerable in our society. We need to uphold current state laws as it relates to this issue and women’s reproductive rights.

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

As a former teacher and coach, I think we need better benefits for teachers’, more training, and better facilities. We also need to encourage other sectors of our economy by building programs for the trades, arts/music, hospitality, and more.

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

We need to do an assessment of our ethics laws, legislative processes, and possibly allow public hearings for testimony at all readings.

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

I support it. It is an opportunity to support ground-breaking science, further our understanding of the universe, and the project will create jobs. However, I believe there needs to be collaboration between the University of Hawai’i and the local community. A balanced approach is required, and communication is critical.

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

I love sports, especially basketball and golf. I enjoy the outdoors and love the community I grew up in.

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up