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 Senate District 17. Both responded, including Alex Sonson. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read the response by Clarence Nishihara to see how Sonson’s positions compare to those of his competitor. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Sonson’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Alex M. Sonson

Senate/House District Number: Senate District 17; Waipahu-Pearl City

Date of Birth: 09/25/1959

Place of Birth/Hometown: Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Current Profession/Employer: Attorney at Law, Law Office of Alex M. Sonson, A Law Corporation

Education/Alma Mater(s): Waipahu High School-1978, Leeward Community College- 1982-1984, Cal State Fullerton- 1988-1990, IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law-1993.

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?

Yes. The GET should be increase as needed. However, I would support a carve out to exempt supermarket food and prescription drugs from a tax increase. ↩ 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?

I agree that there is a need to speed up the review process. ↩ 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 support limited gambling. I would allow gambling on inter island cruise ships. Moreover, I would propose a state lottery with proceeds targeted for higher education. ↩ 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?

No. ↩ back to top

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

Please explain. I am not in a position to classify legislation as best or worst. ↩ 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?

I would champion legislation to support professional caregivers. Term limits for State Representatives and State Senators, Extending voter registration to the day of election, increasing the voting rate as one of the priorities of the office of election, workers rights and benefits, and presumption of joint custody in all contested custody cases in family court. ↩ back to top