Name on ballot:
Julia E. Allen
State House – District 21
Previous job history:
I have worked at the State Capitol as a Legislative Aide for 12 years. Previously, I worked for several retail businesses and had my own business.
Previous elected office, if any:
Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St Louis Neighborhood Board No. 05
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
I am committed to serving my community and have been involved in numerous community organizations. In addition to being on Neighbored Board No. 5, I am a member of Palolo Lions Club and Rotary Club of Honolulu and active with St. Louis Heights Community Association. Because of my past experiences with businesses and having worked at the legislature, I understand how our government impacts our lives and our community.
What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?
My district is an older community with many retired residents living on a fixed income, who are harmed by the steady increase in the cost-of-living and can’t afford increases in utility charges, food and medical care. I would address this by adjusting income tax brackets and by exempting food and medical expenses from general excise tax.
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?
As stated above, I will support legislation to exempt food and medical expenses from general excise tax. The high cost of housing is the result of over regulation and I support reducing regulations to allow housing to be built affordably. The Jones Act, which is federal law, adds to the cost of consumer prices. I would support a resolution requesting an exemption or repeal of it.
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?
A greater part of the price of gas is the cost of shipping gas to Hawaii, which can be alleviated by suspending or repealing the Jones Act. The gas tax goes to a fund necessary for the maintenance of our roadways. Deferring maintenance leads to more serious problems later and increases costs.
Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.
I oppose limiting the number of tourists to Hawaii. What we need is to upgrade our infrastructure in Waikiki to be more competitive with other desirable destinations. Tourism is our economic strength. We need to make the most of a worldwide demand for our value for vacation and business travelers.
Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?
We need to make Hawaii business-friendly by reducing taxes and regulations that hamper investment and business development.
What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?
Building housing in Hawaii isn’t affordable because of excessive regulations that resulted from the creation of the Land Use Commission in 1975. Over the years, more regulatory hurdles have been added to stunt home development. We need to reduce those regulations and make land-use planning more reasonable and rational. We can create a housing policy that the counties can adopt to bring certainty to the development process.
There are many reasons for homelessness, but the lack of affordable housing is the biggest problem, and not just for the homeless. It’s essential to reduce housing regulations by reforming the Land Use Commission and comprehensive rezoning to allow greater housing density.
What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?
Our residents are best protected by making current data on the pandemic publicly available. Now that we have multiple vaccines, home testing kits, and several therapeutics, individuals can choose how to best protect themselves and their families, based on their own risk evaluation.
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 priority would be to cut spending because government spending has fueled inflation. We need to pay down outstanding liabilities and prepare for future emergencies. Government should not grow faster than the economy.
What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?
Abortion remains legal in Hawaii and our law isn’t altered by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade.
What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?
I support replacing our single statewide school district with smaller districts having elected school boards, in order to create greater community input. Our funding mechanism inhibits innovation at the local level. Our funding needs to be not just student weighted, but also flexible, portable and performance based. By creating educational savings accounts, parents can choose how and where their children are educated.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
There should be more transparency in our state legislature, but with one party rule discussions and decisions are made behind closed doors. Competition can bring the decision-making process out into the open.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
I support the Thirty Meter Telescope. Polynesians were expert navigators who used their knowledge of the stars to travel throughout the Pacific region. TMT will have the capability to advance our knowledge and understanding of the universe, and lead to discoveries beyond what we can envision or anticipate. It will bring international recognition to Hawaii for research in astronomy and astrophysics.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
I was born in Honolulu, but my family moved to California when I was six. I turned around and came back in 1976 and continued to live in the home my parents purchased just before my birth. I enjoy being outside as much as possible, gardening and growing tropical flowers.
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