comscore 2022 Election: Joe Akana | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Election

2022 Election: Joe Akana

  • Joe Akana
Name on ballot:

Joe Akana

Running for:

U.S. House – District II

Political party:

Republican

Campaign website:

www.joeakana.com

Current occupation:

Retired

Age:

58

Previous job history:

Air Force Intelligence Officer
Defense Intelligence Agency

Previous elected office, if any:

Nanakuli Neighborhood Board

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I was born and raised in Hawaii, graduated from Kamehameha Schools and went into the Air Force to serve our country. I worked my way to achieving two masters degrees, one in Business Administration, the other in Strategic Intelligence. I served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force and as a civil servant, providing critical analysis of complex intelligence as a key decision maker. I have spent the better part of my life serving our communities and country.

My core personal mantra is faith, family and freedom. Faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, protecting and safeguarding our families and children, and defending our freedoms.

I believe in public service and I have a servants heart. That is at the core of my life and “my why” for running for congress. Many elected officials have forgotten, or choose to ignore, the fact that we are in office to serve the people. It’s of the people, by the people and for the people.

What will be your top priority if elected?

There are a multitude of challenges that we are facing. Rampant corruption, 4-decade high inflation, rise in crime, deterioration of roads and schools, no reasonably-priced housing, and a broken supply chain. Our people cannot afford to live, let alone thrive, in Hawaii. The main concern I’m hearing from community leaders is that Kanaka Ma‘oli are struggling, and are being failed at every turn by government officials. Native Hawaiians are overrepresented in prison, in co-morbidities and in the homeless population. I will work to end the exclusion of Native Hawaiians from social and economic opportunities within our own home.

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?

At the local level, put pressure on the State of Hawaii to eliminate the General Excise Tax on groceries, household items and over-the-counter medications and medical supplies. Hawaii is only 1 of 13 states that have a tax on food. We need to give hardworking families a break.

At the National level, we must lower the tax burden put upon Americans, diminish small business regulations, and amend and modernize the Jones Act.

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?

As the Jones Act stands today, I do not support it in its current form. The Jones Act needs to be updated, modernized and brought into the 21st century. The Jones Act was designed in 1920. So much has changed in the global economy since then. The current fleet of qualified Jones Act vessels has dwindled down to 93 ships – world-wide. Modernization will include upgrading Hawaii’s ports to become Federal Ports of Entry.  Not only will this create more higher paying jobs for kama‘aina, this will also make Hawaii a business hub.

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

Handing power back to the states in regards to abortion is justified. For one reason or another, some misinformed congressional members and journalists are spinning the ruling, in order to enrage the masses into believing their rights are being taken away. Let’s be clear. The Supreme Court decided that States should be responsible for defining the legality of abortion, and tax payer money is not to be used for a procedure. A procedure which nearly half of the country disagrees with. By pushing this as a wedge issue, it is further dividing our country and not allowing people to find common ground.

I personally do not support abortion as a means of contraception. I do believe that in cases of rape, incest or if a mother’s life is medically at risk, the choice of an abortion is a woman’s kuleana.

Since 1972 and Roe v. Wade, an entire generation of children have been aborted. Roughly 65 Million babies.  In a 2018 Florida data report, of the 70,000 abortions performed, 303 were to due to life endangerment, incest or sexual assault.  That’s 0.004%. In a 2020 data review, it shows that there were approximately 1 in 10 abortions for every live birth in Hawaii. Those numbers are equivalent to the entire 2022 student body population of Waianae, Leilehua or Roosevelt High School. From the freshman class through to the senior class, an entire high school. Think about that for a moment, an entire Hawaii high school student body has been aborted.

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?

What the Supreme Court decides, is it’s kuleana. Civil liberties are the basic rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. The Supreme Court acts as the protector and interpreter of the Constitution. The court receives over 7,000 petitions per year. To speculate about what may or may not happen, is to form a theory without having any firm evidence.

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

Mass shootings in America are a national tragedy, which can be prevented. This would include, armed and trained campus security, educated teachers and counselors, and improved access to mental health care. The biggest component is mental health. Many shooters have a history of trauma and/or have suffered from some form of mental health issues. Warning signs were ignored. As a country, we have to have a sobering conversation as to why we have not made it a priority to help those who truly need to seek treatment, especially our keiki.

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

Plainly, for congressional members to check their egos, and special interests, at the door. We must focus on people, not politics. Many officials forget our government is of the people, by the people and for the people. Once government officials readjust their priorities to the people, the ‘us and them’ tribalism fades away.

We’re all facing an uncertain future, especially with the food shortages, higher gas prices and skyrocketing inflation. So many people are frustrated and disenfranchised. Many feel like they have no voice and that their government officials are not listening to their concerns. Why are we not focussing on how, as a people and as a country, we can pull together to fix our country? We need to pull together as one Ohana, work together, and do right by the people of Hawaii.

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

Creating green initiatives for the sake of creating green initiatives impairs progress.  Solutions must come from the communities. There is no cookie cutter remedy. We must understand and realize that every ecosystem is different. What works in Honolulu will not work or may not work in Colorado Springs.  Each community is a different ecosystem; we need to listen to the community and implement systems which foster workable solutions. Throwing money at a problem blindly is not a solution. We need to address the legitimate issues each ecosystem faces, and look at how we can address those specifically to provide viable, meaningful economical solutions.

Personally, I am pledging to plant 100 trees within my first 100 days in office, statewide. There’s an ‘Olelo No‘eau, Hahai no ka ua i ka ululā‘au, rains will always follow the forest. It’s all of our kuleana to be good stewards.

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

I am not a career politician. I am a businessman, a retired project manager and a community leader who sees a dire need for change. Nor, am I part of the group(s) that have been running Hawaii into the ground. I offer a fresh pair of eyes and an ability to connect with, and listen to, our people. I am committed to do what is right, to listen, and to act upon what the people want and need. For far too long government officials have ignored the people.  Those officials have only listened to special interest groups, leaving Hawaii’s hardworking families out in the cold. There is no reason that our people cannot be prosperous as a whole.  I vow to work toward that. I am sick and tired of our families suffering here and having to leave our island home in order to make a good life. It’s time for a change. 


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