Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 9 primary, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.

The following came from Richard Morse, one of four nonpartisan candidates for governor. Three Democrats, three Republicans, one Libertarian and one Independent are also running.

Go to Civil Beat’s Elections Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the Primary Election Ballot.

Name: Richard Morse

Office: Governor

Party: Nonpartisan

Profession: Writer

Education: Liberal arts

Age: 63

Community organizations: Not really.


Richard Morse

Richard Morse

1. Why are you running for governor?

I’m running because I feel I have a perspective that needs to be expressed in this 2014 election, whether it’s right or wrong. If I saw someone else running with this perspective, I would drop out quicker than a bunny on speed. But I have seen no sign of that person.

2. Are you satisfied with the current plans to pay for the state’s unfunded liabilities? If not, how would you propose to meet pension and health obligations for public workers?

I don’t know enough about current plans to pay the state’s unfunded liabilities at this time to say anything intelligent about it. I better pass on this question for now.

3. Where do you stand on labeling of genetically engineered food and pesticide regulation? Are these public safety issues, or are the dangers exaggerated?

I’ll answer this a couple ways. First, as a native of Hawaii, I am not proud that our land is the GMO-seed capital of the world. Nor do I think it is the responsibility of our little islands to feed the world. Let’s try to feed ourselves first.

As far as labeling, there is nothing preventing food producers from labeling their product “No GMOs Here.” Consumers can just buy those and let the rest sit on the shelves. So, I’m not too concerned about labeling. Considering Monsanto’s influence over politics, I think this effort is probably a dead end.

In contrast, the dangers of the pesticides or herbicides these monster chemical companies produce goes highly underrated. These are the same guys that sprayed Agent Orange over Viet Nam, without conscience; resulting in unspeakable suffering for those people, which continues until today. We can’t assume that these chem-companies think any more highly of the people in Hawaii.

4. Local officials and advocates have worked to address homelessness for years, yet the crisis is growing. What proposals do you have for this complicated issue?

You’re right. They have been squawking about it for decades and their best solution, so far, is to pack everyone on sidewalks. This uncivilized “solution” is an absolute disgrace to our society and proof of complete failure of government. “Homelessness” is a prime indicator of how well or poorly our society is doing.

I can think of a number of remedies, that the state and county could do, at very little cost, to help these people be more comfortable. Though I think (just intuitively) that the longer-range solution must come from them.

The Libertarian candidate for governor, Jeff Davis, is focused on this homelessness; particularly in regards to the children. You should check with him for a better answer.

5. Hawaii’s cost of living is the highest in the country by many indicators. What can really be done to make things like housing, food and transportation less expensive?

The disparity between rich and poor in Hawaii is getting to the point (or may have already gotten to the point)  that we should start thinking about accepting a “dual economy.” In other words, one economy for the rich and another for the poor. There are places in the world where this “approach” works out to “promote the public welfare” fairly well.

Maybe “approach” (above) is a poor choice of words. Dual economies happen naturally or out of necessity. We can not expect everyone to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous, or want to live that lifestyle. So it is mostly a matter of acceptance and allowing, even accommodating, a second economic standard. This underlies the remedy for homelessness.

6. Are you satisfied with the way Hawaii’s public school system is run? How can it be run better?

No. I am not satisfied with the way public schools are run. I think each and every one of us — parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, students … everyone who can still think — should take a very close look at Common Core, as it is, or should be, the central issue of this 2014 election for every office in contest.

This is the prime focus of my campaign. I view this corruption in education (which, by the way, comes from the United Nations) as the biggest threat to Hawaii right now. How we respond to it will define our generation, either as a failure or a champion.

Common Core, and every trace of it,  must be abolished and destroyed — no quarter. The question is: Do we have the talent, the intelligence, the knowledge, the creativity, the will, the wisdom in this state to build an education for our kids, from scratch, that will displace Common Core forever?

If so, it’s now or never. Because in one short generation of Common Core in our schools (I’ll say 13 years) we will have produced a young society that has none of these qualities. It will be too late.

7. Would you support using liquefied natural gas as part of the state’s energy sources? And what thoughts do you have on improving the electric distribution system (the grid) so more renewables can be in the mix?

I do support the use of liquefied natural gas, for many purposes including transportation (though not so much for driving the power grid.). There’s tons of this stuff in the earth and it burns clean. Meanwhile, photo-voltaic technology is a complete revolution in producing electricity — the first time electric power is produced without passing a magnet across a coil.

Solar water heating saves extraordinary amounts of energy. New conductors offer little resistance to current. Batteries are evolving. We are truly in a new age of energy. Oil companies, as we’ve known them this past century, are creeping towards the dinosaur pit.  Decentralizing energy sources is the ticket. I think we should go for it.

8. Hawaii’s public records law mandates that public records be made available whenever possible. Yet many citizens are unable to afford the costs that state and local government agencies impose. Would you support eliminating search and redaction charges and making records free to the public except for basic copying costs?

I’d have to look into it. But if your question is as straight-forward as it sounds, then “yes.” Public information should be virtually free. While private information should remain private.

9. There is a desire to grow the economy through new development yet also a need to protect our limited environmental resources. How would you balance these competing interests?

Yes, it is a tricky balancing act. I have no general answer to this question. This is an ongoing puzzle to be taken slowly, one piece at a time; with caution. I’m not sure.

 10. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?

We must beware that our Constitution is not undermined by international takeovers. Politicians are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. In fact, we ask nothing else of them. The reason for that is because our Constitutions — state and U.S. — protect and defend everything else — the Aina, the water, the children and the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the Land, written by the people for the government to follow. This Constitution belongs solely to the people. It does not belong to the government.

The most important message of my campaign comes from the Constitution of the state of Hawaii, Article I, Sections 1 and 2, I’ll just cut and paste it here:


Political power

All political power of this State is inherent in the people and the responsibility for the exercise thereof rests with the people. All government is founded on this authority.


Rights of individuals

All persons are free by nature and are equal in their inherent and inalienable rights. Among these rights are the enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the acquiring and possessing of property. These rights cannot endure unless the people recognize their corresponding obligations  and responsibilities.  [Am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]