Editor’s Note: In June 2012, Civil Beat sent 10 questions to each of the candidates registered to run for the U.S. Senate in the Aug. 11 primary. Eight of the 11 responded, including Ed Case. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read responses by Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle to see how Case’s positions compare to those of his main competitors. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Case’s response.

1. President Obama has significantly increased the use of drones to assassinate terrorist targets. The policy has been criticized for denying due process rights for at least one American living abroad, and for the collateral killing of civilians. Do you support this policy — why or why not?

Any actions in the conduct of our national defense must preserve the constitutional rights of Americans citizens, comply with international treaties to which we’ve agreed, and seek to avoid harm to innocent civilians. I support President Obama’s drone policy with those limitations, especially to minimize harm to our own service members and civilians and to provide an invaluable option in achieving the mission of our troops and others in our defense. Of course, it is the constitutional duty of the U. S. Congress and of each U. S. Senator to exercise effective and independent oversight over the executive branch and President Obama and future Presidents in the evolution of this and other defense policies, and I will fulfill that duty. ↩ back to top

2. A divided U.S. Congress has not been able to come to agreement on how to lower the federal debt, in spite of bipartisan recommendations from the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission and others. What is your evaluation of those recommendations, which include hard decisions regarding entitlement programs, defense spending and taxes?

As a member of the U. S. House Budget Committee during my congressional tenure, my overall evaluation of President Obama’s own bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles) and of similar efforts like the Deficit Reduction Task Force (Domenici-Rivlin) and the U. S. Senate’s own “Gang of Six” is that they are virtually the only efforts in D. C. that honestly and directly addressed our deepening fiscal crisis. Most others including federal officeholders and candidates either cannot or will not face the challenge, much less face voters with the facts. None of this can continue, since what’s at risk is not only a Greece/Europe-style economic consequence but more directly the ability of our government to continue to help real people with real needs. It’s clear that our federal finances and the programs that they fund can only be rebalanced and sustained with a mix of adjustments on both the revenue and expense sides, since balancing our books solely by raising taxes will seriously harm our economy and doing so solely by reducing government will seriously harm our government. The Simpson-Bowles and other proposals were on the right track, and the sooner we continue their lead to a broader solution, the better off we’ll be. For more, please see my agenda, Balancing Our Budget, here: http://www.edcase.com/issues/balancing_our_budget. ↩ back to top

3. The major issue for most candidates is jobs and the economy. Can you identify a concrete example of how you as senator would go about stimulating growth both nationally and in Hawaii?

My Growing our Economy agenda (http://www.edcase.com/issues/growing_our_economy) focuses around the Four Ts of tax reform, technology, trade and training/education. Each and all will both stimulate growth nationally and target economic opportunities for Hawaii, such as increased export of our products like tourism and agriculture to the Asia-Pacific. Of these, tax reform is the toughest, since each provision has its entrenched special interest, but most urgent, since our tax code has not been updated for a generation, is crushingly complex and unworkable, and is not focused on current and future realities. One specific provision I’ll target is the research and development tax credit, which grows good jobs directly and expands our overall economy. The R&D credit has been kept on year-to-year life support for over a decade now and so doesn’t reach its full potential since businesses cannot invest long-term in reliance on it. It also isn’t fully available to small businesses generally nor to businesses pursuing the types of R&D well suited to Hawaii, such as alternate energy and tropical agriculture R&D. Updating the R&D credit and making it permanent will foster growth both nationally and at home. ↩ back to top

4. Sen. Dan Inouye has brought countless dollars to the state over his long career, not only for defense projects but to help with energy, agriculture, education, security and Native Hawaiian issues. Should you be elected to the Senate, Inouye could leave office during your time in office. How would you work to continue funding important projects in the islands, especially as a junior senator in a body that values seniority?

The reality is that our next Senator may well serve a generation, taking up the mantle not just of Hawaii’s junior Senator from Sen. Akaka but of senior Senator from Sen. Inouye. The reality is that when Sen. Inouye’s career ends, we will lose the benefits of his seniority which were and remain most pronounced through now-diminished congressional earmarks/pork. All of that only means that our next Senator cannot wait around to accumulate seniority and simply depend on Sen. Inouye to deliver, but must be resourceful from the get-go and develop his or her own relationships, expertise, abilities and networks. With personal relationships with colleagues of all parties, hard work and leadership, even a very junior Senator can deliver for a state, as I did as a junior Congressman for Hawaii. Equally important is to match up specific needs in Hawaii with specific opportunities in DC, which takes knowing both DC and Hawaii and constant personal interaction with both. This includes constantly educating colleagues and others about often unique Hawaii challenges, as I did as Congressman in both personal testimony before House committees and in inviting colleagues from both sides of the aisle to visit and conduct congressional field hearings. Finally, too often overlooked because of our overdependence on Sen. Inouye’s earmarks is direct discretionary funding from the executive branch, and I will renew my prior efforts to match federal grant and other funding opportunities up with government and private sector opportunities. ↩ back to top

5. The Akaka Bill on federal recognition for Native Hawaiians has consistently stalled in the U.S. Senate because of GOP opposition. Do you support federal recognition, and if so, how would you go about securing it?

Yes, I support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians because I agree that Native Hawaiians are indigenous peoples of our country and as such are entitled to the same relationship with our federal government as has been extended to other indigenous peoples such as Native Americans and Alaska Natives for over a century. While we’ve missed windows of opportunity in recent years, working with the Hawaii delegation I will still create and take advantage of future opportunities by constant education of Senate colleagues and related parties and by the development of nonpartisan relationships of trust and support. I will also pursue on a parallel track possibilities for administrative federal recognition within the executive branch which have not been fully developed as all eggs have been placed in a legislative recognition solution. For more, please see my agenda, Preserving Hawaii, here: http://www.edcase.com/issues/preserving_hawaii. ↩ back to top

6. Regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, what would your goals be in terms of health care policy as a senator? Would you support universal health care?

My overall goal as U. S. Senator in national health care policy will be to ensure that quality health care is available and affordable for all Americans. The obstacles to achieving that goal are formidable but surmountable. They start with a growing provider crisis, especially in the less urban parts of our country (such as the Neighbor Islands), a centralization of the health care delivery and insurance businesses leading to less consumer choice at higher costs, the unsustainability of Medicare into the next generation, and cost escalation across the board and in specific sectors such as pharmaceuticals. With the Affordable Care Act now ruled constitutional, my specific goals will lie in its full implementation and, where necessary, amendment and supplementation to overcome these obstacles. “Universal health care” means different things to different people. But if what is meant is a national health care system in which government effectively provides and pays for health care for all like Great Britain, no, I don’t support it at present because I don’t believe the private sector should be fully supplanted and believe that the preferable track is to pursue the public-private approach embodied in the ACA. ↩ back to top

7. The filibuster has been used by both parties to block legislation. Do you support this controversial parliamentary maneuver? Why or why not?

“Filibuster”, “threat of a filibuster”, “cloture”, “motion to proceed”, “secret hold”, and other terms all describe some of the arcane rules of the Senate used increasingly for pure obstruction. They are not constitutional provisions or laws of our country or even rules of Congress, but rules adopted by Senators that can be changed by Senators. The filibuster usually refers to a rule that prevents a measure from coming to a vote if a Senator or group of Senators is speaking on it unless a supermajority of 60 Senators votes to proceed. The filibuster was used very sparingly through most of the Senate’s history and has a good overall purpose of ensuring that bills are not rammed through by the majority without full debate. However, just the last few years have seen a dramatic increase to more than 100 instances, preventing decisions on the merits and effectively changing the usual majority vote rule to a supermajority. I will join a number of other Senators urging filibuster reform to end the abuses of these rules while retaining their original purposes. But, even if these rule changes occur, they will not in and of themselves get the Senate going again. That can only happen if the Senators themselves decide to stop fighting and start solving our problems, as is my goal and commitment. For more, please see my agenda, Fixing Washington, here: http://www.edcase.com/issues/fixing_washington. ↩ back to top

8. Global warming is real, and rising sea levels will certainly impact Hawaii. What steps would you take as a U.S. senator to mitigate the effects of global warming?

First, continue scientific and educational efforts to confirm the still-growing scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and is caused at least in part by accelerating manmade carbon emissions. Second, ratify international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol to join the vast majority of the rest of the world in undertaking to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Third, strengthen environmental protection provisions in future trade agreements. Fourth, jettison an antiquated national energy policy focused on increasingly unaffordable, unsustainable and unclean fossil fuel-based energy and implement a green, renewable, sustainable and affordable energy policy, to include a national renewable energy standard and green energy-focused research and development tax credits. Fifth, for Hawaii, focus federal R&D funding on renewable energy development especially suited to Hawaii such as solar, wind, geothermal, ocean thermal and tropical agriculture biofuels, to include support for the Department of Defense’s goal of increased availability of local renewable fuels. For more, please see my following agendas: Protecting Our Earth (http://www.edcase.com/issues/protecting_our_earth) and Assuring Our Energy Needs (http://www.edcase.com/issues/assuring_our_energy_needs). ↩ back to top

9. 1. The Citizens United decision has resulted in nearly unlimited amounts of money being spent on behalf of many candidates. Massachusetts candidates Scott Brown and Eilzabeth Warren have pledged to reject super-PAC money in their Senate contest. Would you be willing to do that in your race — why or why not?

Yes, I’m willing to sign an agreement with Mazie Hirono like the Massachusetts Senate candidates’ Peoples’ Pledge to keep outside third party organizations that have expanded dramatically since Citizens United from trying to buy Hawaii’s Senate election out from under Hawaii voters. Citizens United has only worsened the spreading grip of special interest money and influence on Washington, D.C., and accelerated the corrosive and even outright corruptive ties between special interest lobbying and campaign contributions, the election and reelection of Members of Congress, and Member votes and other efforts on earmarks and other issues. In this deepening morass the American people are almost wholly excluded, not surprisingly resulting in some of the lowest approval ratings for Congress in our history. What is needed is independent leadership in DC that is beholden not to the Citizens United organizations but to the voters back home and the Peoples’ Pledge is one effort to achieve that. However, I don’t expect Mazie to agree as her campaigns have depended heavily on mainland and special interest funding (31% lifetime PAC contributions; see http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00028139&cycle=Career; as opposed to my 8%; see http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00025882&cycle=Career), and her current campaign is depending heavily on outside third party organizations. For more, please see my agenda, Fixing Washington, here: http://www.edcase.com/issues/fixing_washington ↩ back to top

10. What is an issue you think is important to address as a U.S. Senate candidate — one that perhaps has not been given sufficient attention during the campaign?

International relations, the Asia-Pacific and China. We are rightly focused in this and other national elections on the state of our country, from growing our economy to preserving Social Security and Medicare to balancing our books and more. But just as important to us over the long term is our relationship with other countries and our place in the world. In fact, our domestic and international challenges and opportunities are inextricably intertwined: each impacts the other and neither can be addressed without the other. A U. S. Senator has unique constitutional duties beyond that of a U. S. Representative to work with our President and exercise independent oversight over the conduct of our foreign policy. Our world is changing rapidly, and that pace will only accelerate over the course of the next generation in which Hawaii’s next Senator will likely serve. It’s crucial that Hawaii’s next Senator be willing, able and committed to provide strong effective national leadership on our foreign policy. This is especially true in our own backyard in this Asia-Pacific century, and especially true of our relationship with China, which will influence the overall state of our world more than any other single two-country relationship over that generation. I will focus on our foreign policy and on the Asia-Pacific and China, not only because I believe I can provide national leadership in this critical area but because if these relationships are developed carefully there can be tremendous benefits to Hawaii’s economy in tourism, education, energy, health care, agriculture and other areas.

For more information on these questions and on me and my candidacy, record, beliefs and agenda, please go to www.edcase.com. Please feel free to email me with any questions at edcase@edcase.com. ↩ back to top

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