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

The following came from Tom Berg, a Libertarian candidate for state representative for District 41. Other candidates include Republicans Steve Wiggins and Bryan Jeremiah and Democrats Rida Cabanilla and Matthew LoPresti.

District 41 includes Ewa Villages, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ocean Pointe and West Loch.

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

Name: Tom Berg

Office: State House District 41

Party: Libertarian 

Profession: Retired after 13 years in government. 

Education: Life-long student.

Community organizations: 10 years as the Ewa regional director on the Oahu Resource, Conservation and Development Council; past vice-president, Board of Directors, Ewa by Gentry Community Association; member, Rules Committee, Kalaeloa Development Plan; full-time volunteer seeking justice producing Olelo TV series for “Ewa Today” and youtube channel BERGDRAFT. 

Tom Berg

Tom Berg

1. Why are you running for the Hawaii Legislature? 

Advance the will of the people – label GMO products; end the war on drugs; break up the monopoly on electricity and shipping; and actually protect important farmland instead of promoting backroom land swap deals. When in doubt, put it on the ballot is my motto — let the people decide.  

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? 

Put offshore gaming on the ballot — let the people decide what is the tipping point to generating the necessary amount of revenue to qualm the many shortfalls.

3. 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?

Implement Bill 50 (2013) Honolulu City Council; this was Resolution 12-74 CD1 of which I authored that passed the council unanimously permitting retrofitted shipping containers on agricultural land. For affordable workforce housing, a waiver to the sewer and water hook-up is needed and my plan puts the 1-million-plus acres sitting fallow into production. Let’s grow families not weeds.  The private sector has the solution: Bill 50, and no tax money is needed. See it all on my www.councilmanberg.com website and featured on my youtube channel: bergdraft. 

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

I am for labeling— that is what the people want. I have held numerous town hall meetings on this subject when I was a councilman and the outcome/consensus is clear, the people have a right to know. 

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? 

Repeal — or waiver for Hawaii from the Jones Act will save us plenty. I support a repeal of the Jones Act for Hawaii.

6. Would you support using liquified natural gas as part of the state’s energy sources? And how can we improve the electrical distribution system so more renewable energy can be utilized to bring costs down?  

Yes. I also favor breaking up the monopoly on electricity and introduced legislation while on the City Council explaining how to get that done. The real solution for our energy needs is harvesting the ocean current —  using wave technology to produce electricity. We should stop using precious acreage for solar farms when instead it should be on every rooftop.

7. 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? 


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

Air condition the schools and make good on all the repair and maintenance projects gone unabated for decades. We have to start treating our learning environments with better care. If done, this should yield an increase in the amount of passion and desire for students to excel more. Ever see your elected officials go to work in an environment without air conditioning?  

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? 

Grow industrial hemp — that can save the world.