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 19. William Espero was the only one who responded. Roger LaCuesta did not. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Espero’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Will Espero

Senate/House District Number: Senate 19

Date of Birth: 11/06/2012

Place of Birth/Hometown: Yokosuka, Japan

Current Profession/Employer: State Senate

Education/Alma Mater(s): Seattle University

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?

UNDECIDED but open to discussion. ↩ 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?

Not for major wholesale changes but a review for efficiency is appropriate in some instances. ↩ 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?

Yes to shipboard gambling and maybe to a lottery. ↩ 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?

Our exemption does not mean no transparency or input. Our requirements are conducive to a 60 day legislative session. All bills must be heard by multiple committees and have three readings in both the House and Senate. From January to May, the Legislature is open to all in order to advocate or lobby for issues and concerns. ↩ back to top

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

This last session, we passed key legislation for correctional and judicial reform. Also, $414 million for state repair and maintenance projects will help our construction industry. ↩ 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 have been a strong advocate for the new University of Hawaii, West Oahu campus – higher education, economic development and jobs for the region. ↩ back to top