Editor’s Note: In July 2012, Civil Beat sent six questions to each of the candidates registered to run in the Aug. 11 primary for Hawaii State Representative District 3. All four responded, including Richard Onishi. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read responses by Brittany Smart, Marlene Hapai, and Fred Fogel to see how Onishi’s positions compare to those of his competitors. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Onishi’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Richard Onishi

Senate/House District Number: House District 3

Date of Birth: 05/03/1954

Place of Birth/Hometown: Hilo

Current Profession/Employer: Information Systems Analyst / County of Hawaii

Education/Alma Mater(s): Bachelors in Business Administration/University of Hawaii at Hilo

1. With the exception for Honolulu rail, the state has not raised the general excise tax in decades. Would you consider increasing the GET to help the state meet its budget demands?

It would depend on what the proposal would be and the impact to our local residents, the business community, tourism and how the income would be used or distributed. I would make this important decision with input and discussion with the constituencies of my district. ↩ back to top

2. Lawmakers proposed relaxing environmental regulatory review to spur development and job growth in the 2012 session, and the issue is expected to resurface next year. Where do you stand?

It would depend on the proposal, I am fully in support of protections for our fragile environment and would seriously need to review any proposed changes with the residents and working families of the communities that would be affected. ↩ back to top

3. Gambling — are you for it or against it? If not, why not? If so, what type of gambling and with what kind of restrictions?

I would consider some forms of gambling as another source of income to the state, I would need to study for myself the various pros and cons of the different forms of gambling, what the social impacts would be on the communities in the district, how the income would be used, and discuss these issues with my constituencies before making any decisions. ↩ back to top

4. The Sunshine Law is a hallmark of an open democracy accountable to its citizens. Yet, the Legislature exempts itself from this requirement. Do you support more transparency in government operations, or are there legitimate reasons to conduct some of the people’s business behind closed doors?

The Legislature’s short session and its location in Honolulu does create issues for the public’s accessibility to it’s process, especially for the neighbor islands, but I don’t think that the application of the Sunshine Law is the answer to solve these issues. The specific concerns should be identified and solutions developed to address them. ↩ back to top

5. What is the best legislation — and worst legislation — that the Legislature has approved in recent years? Please explain.

The best legislation that the Legislature has approved in recent years is legislation that is designed to enhance our development of alternative energy sources and businesses, because it affects our dependence on oil to generate electricity and it also helps to develop and enhance a segment of our economy for the future. I don’t have a specific legislation that I can define as the worst at this time. ↩ back to top

6. What is an issue that you would champion at the Legislature — one that perhaps has not received much attention, or an issue that is important to your district?

An issue that affects most of my district is the development of sustainable agriculture. ↩ back to top

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