comscore 2022 Election: Brendan Schultz | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Election

2022 Election: Brendan Schultz

  • Brendan Schultz
Name on ballot:

Brendan Schultz

Running for:

U.S. House – District II

Political party:

Democratic

Campaign website:

brendanschultz.com/

Current occupation:

Humanitarian Aid Worker and Non-Profit Executive Director

Age:

25

Previous job history:

United by Love, executive director; IsraAID, operations coordinator; Project Hope, English teacher; Humanity in Action, fellow; Miracle Corners of the World, fellow; Hansen Leadership Institute, fellow; Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, young entrepreneur mentor; University of Botswana, researcher; Kathryn Davis Fellows for Peace, fellow.

Previous elected office, if any:

No answer submitted

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

Born in Honolulu, I grew up in Hawai’i and throughout the United States as the child of a US Navy Captain. I proudly attended public schools and then college on the GI Bill. I have dedicated my entire professional career to caring for the world’s most vulnerable people in their times of greatest need as a humanitarian aid worker and international development specialist. Working in communities spanning five continents, I have led human rights education programs in the mountains of Macedonia, researched inter-ethnic violence on the sands of the Kalahari Desert, taught English in the valleys of Palestine, led food distribution programs during the height of the pandemic on the streets of Los Angeles, and developed youth empowerment initiatives here on our islands.

The same motivations that led me to become a humanitarian aid worker have led me to run for Congress. Electing corporate, career politicians has resulted in Hawai’i having polluted water, unaffordable housing, a public health crisis, an epidemic of violence, and a defunct public education system. I am running for Congress to provide a progressive alternative to the establishment politics that has failed you, your family, our community, and our islands. If you believe that we need to send a champion for people, planet, and peace to Washington DC to demand progressive change, I would be honored to have your vote to represent Hawai’i’s Second Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.

What will be your top priority if elected?

The most significant challenge facing our islands and nation is a lack of access to health care. Whether it be a lack of doctors in rural Hawai’i or an inability of low-income individuals to afford care, the multitude of issues with health care in Hawai’i and our nation find their roots in the fundamental for-profit nature of our current health care system.

Each year, 68,000 preventable deaths take place in our nation because of our private health insurance system, and 500,000 people are bankrupted due to medical bills. The solution to our public health dystopia is to adopt a universal health care system like every other country in the developed world by expanding the Medicare system to cover every person in the United States through Medicare for All.

Inflation has battered the U.S. economy in nearly all sectors. What can Congress do to help bring prices down and to help Americans cope with the rising cost of living?

Congress cannot force prices down, but Congress can provide working people relief from inflation by reforming the tax code. Our campaign proposes reducing earned income taxes on working families by 20% and reinstating the full state and local (SALT) tax deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct the money that they pay in state income taxes from their federal tax bill.

What is your position on the Jones Act, which supporters say protects the U.S. shipping industry but opponents say unnecessarily inflates shipping prices and the subsequent costs to Hawaii consumers?

Regardless of the merits of arguments in support of the Jones Act, the federal government, not the people of Hawai’i, should hold the burden of paying for the increased costs of shipping to Hawai’i that result from the law. Thus, as your representative, I will work to amend the Jones Act to have federal grants subsidize shipping to Hawai’i so that the cost of shipping to our state is what the cost would be without the implementation of the Jones Act, thus lowering the cost of living in Hawai’i.

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

Democrats in Congress should have legislated the right for a woman to choose into federal law long ago. Democrats’ lack of political will to do so is one of the many examples of corporate Democrats’ inability to govern and betrayal of their constituents. If elected, I will be a staunch advocate for the Women’s Health Protection Act, which codifies the precedent set by Roe vs. Wade into federal law. Furthermore, I will put public pressure on Democrats in Congress who are blocking such legislation.

Now that Roe vs. Wade has been overturned, some advocates say other civil liberties previously upheld by the Supreme Court will be vulnerable, including same-sex marriage. Do you agree and what, if anything, should Congress do in response?

While I support a system of judicial review to protect individuals from having their rights violated by the federal government, our nation cannot allow reactionary and ideological justices to prevent progress – as this Supreme Court has shown it intends to do. For this reason, if elected, I will advocate for term limits on Supreme Court Justices and an expansion of the Court. Furthermore, I will publicly advocate for other at-risk civil liberties, such as the right for all couples to marry regardless of gender, to be codified into federal law.

What should Congress do to reduce gun violence and mass shootings in America?

The United States is long past the time for common-sense gun reform, which, at a minimum, must include creating a requirement for universal background checks, allowing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence, and permitting law enforcement officers to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis. These three policies are supported by the vast majority of the country and are the first three I will advocate for as a US Representative.

What is the best strategy to break through the political gridlock in Congress?

The approach I will bring to Congress to break through political gridlock and legislate to improve people’s lives is to work outside of the party framework. If elected, I will likely join a Congress with a Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Even without a Democratic majority, there are several policies that I could work with Republicans to enact, most notably working-class tax cuts, veterans care, and public safety funding. I will always put the people I represent above the political establishment and work with whoever can help solve problems regardless of their party label.

What specific policies should Congress enact that could help mitigate the affects of sea-level rise and climate change?

Considering the catastrophic potential of climate change, I am an ardent supporter of the Green New Deal and will work to pass immense climate protection policies in Congress. Our campaign’s climate policy proposals include investing $5.35 trillion into clean energy and public transportation over the next ten years, transitioning to 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030, creating a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, and passing the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act, which would provide a streamlined federal government response to climate emergencies in coastal communities and fund climate mitigation efforts.

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

What separates our campaign from every other campaign in this race is that we are not taking any special interest and corporate money – or what our campaign calls legal political bribes.

The people of Hawai’i and the United States deserve universal healthcare, good union jobs, secure retirement, a green future, and an end to militarism. The political establishment and corporate Democrats in Hawai’i have failed the people of our islands on all these counts, leading our state to have polluted water, unaffordable housing, a public health crisis, an epidemic of violence, and a defunct public education system. These crises are expected when we continue to elect people who take legal political bribes and have continuously proven that they will put their political careers ahead of our best interests.

Our campaign is offering an alternative. This campaign is a movement demanding progressive change that puts people, planet, and peace first. Our campaign is based on policies like establishing Medicare for All, enacting a Green New Deal, and ending foreign wars, among sixty other progressive policies to improve the lives of working people on our islands and throughout the United States. To learn more about our campaign and our progressive policy agenda, visit brendanschultz.com


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