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

The following came from Wayne Hikida, Republican candidate for state representative for District 51. Democrat Chris Lee is also running.

District 51 includes Lanikai and Waimanalo.

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

Name: Wayne T. Hikida

Office: State House of Representatives, District 51

Party: Republican

Profession: Semi–retired insurance executive

Education: Bachelor of Science, CPCU designation

Age:  65

Community organizations: Volunteer with Boy Scouts of America for over 35 years. Active in the L.D.S. Church all my life. Served in the State Executive Office of Aging. Served on the City Ethics Commission. Member of various Insurance Industry Boards and Bureaus.

Wayne Hikida

1. Why are you running for the Hawaii Legislature?

I am disappointed with the performance of our state government and feel that we need new voices in our Legislature.

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 think the current plan to address the unfunded liability is a good start. I am not sure if the current payment plan is sufficient or if the projected rates of return are realistic. I’d like to see more information disseminated to the taxpayers of our state. We will all be impacted by this deficit so it is critical that we know what our legislators are doing.

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?

This is a problem that requires the joint efforts of state and county governments as well as the private sector and local community groups. I have not seen our state leadership reaching out to all parties. I also think that the homeless issue is multifaceted, and there is no magic bullet. We need to identify the various groups and prioritize which areas need the most attention. I would think that families, those with mental health issues and military veterans should be our first priority.

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 keeping an open mind on this issue, but from what I’ve read, many of the fears may be unfounded. I believe that those who wish to promote products as GMO-free should do so. But in the absence of more information, I don’t think requiring labeling of GMO products  is needed.

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?

We can reduce our energy cost by moving towards LNG. An exception to the Jones Act would also help to reduce shipping costs, which translates to lower prices. Reducing taxes and requiring government to be more efficient will also help to reduce our cost of living.  I think we need to incentive private industry to build more affordable homes.

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 support the use of LNG.  We should continue to look at all forms of renewable energy that makes economic sense.

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?

In this age of privacy concerns, this a probably an issue that may require legal review. If however, search and redaction activities are required on certain records, there is a cost and ultimately someone will bear that burden.

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

It appears that we could do a better job in our public schools. I believe that the school principals should have greater control over their money. We should revisit Common Core, and I believe we need to take a look at the administrative cost of the DOE.  Is it effective or do we have a costly bureaucracy?

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?

There is no doubt that we need more housing to be developed for our people and for our economy.  I believe that we can also protect our environment in the process. It requires input from all parties and strategic long-range planning.

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

I believe that the people of Hawaii can be best served if we have term limits in state government. I would call for one six-year term for state and House and Senate seats. They would have to be staggered, and I would also suggest the adoption of recall, should the people find that their representative is not effective.

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