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

The following came from Joey Manahan, one of seven Democratic candidates for U.S. representative for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.

The district is essentially urban Honolulu, but it stretches from Hawaii Kai in East Honolulu to Waipahu in west Oahu and Mililani in central Oahu. The district includes Pearl City, Waimalu, Aiea and the downtown area.

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

Name: Joey Manahan

Office: House of Representatives, District 1

Party: Democrat

Profession: City Councilman for District 7

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications, University of Hawai’i

Age: 43

Community organizations: I served as a member of the Friends of the Hawaii State Art Museum (HiSAM), president of St. Anthony’s Filipino Catholic Club, and am currently a board member of St. Anthony Catholic School.

Joey Manahan

1. Why are you running for the U.S. House of Representatives?

Representing a district that is home to the state’s key infrastructure, harbors, airports and military installations on the Honolulu City Council and at the Hawaii state Legislature has prepared me to serve us in Congress. The future of our state’s economy, security, and sustainability are dependent on the modernization of our harbors, airports, and military. I believe leadership is service, and I see government as a way to help people.

What Hawaii needs in Congress is someone who has a proven track record of creating jobs and economic opportunities that will sustain our quality of life and move us forward as a state. In the near term, I believe we can achieve this goal by funding projects that would enhance existing infrastructure, namely the modernization of our harbors and airports, improvements to our highways, and meeting the federal mandates for upgrading our sewer system. In the long term, we can create new jobs by investing in clean energy initiatives such as the expansion of solar, wind, and geothermal energy throughout our islands along with the necessary infrastructure to deliver this clean reliable energy statewide via submarine cable to a modernized electrical grid.

We also need to invest in our military’s operations, infrastructure, and overall well-being here on the islands. Modernizing our military and its infrastructure will not only bring jobs but encourage more training exercises, meetings, conventions, and summits such as APEC, ASEAN, and the World Conservation Congress (WCC). Investment in these areas now will stabilize our economy in the near term and lead us towards a path of prosperity.

2. Do you believe climate change is real? If so, what can the United States do to control carbon emissions?

After seeing the devastation first-hand left behind the wake of super typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban City, I have no doubt that climate change is real. I support investing in renewable energy sources—geothermal, wind, solar, and wave energy — that will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, but create local jobs and improve the quality of our air and water.

3. Where do you draw the line between the government’s national security needs and the privacy of its citizens?

While modern technology has helped us better monitor potential threats, it has the downside of also potentially invading the privacy of American citizens. We should not have to sacrifice our personal privacy in the name of national defense and I believe there should be very strict safeguards on what types of information the government is allowed to collect and keep. For example, we should end the NSA program on bulk collection of phone records. It makes far more sense to target our national security efforts at those individuals and organizations that are known to be threats rather than massive data sweeps of all records. Finally, there needs to be better oversight by the Congress or the Judiciary and a system by which programs are reviewed periodically.

4. Under what circumstances should America go to war?

The toughest decision a member of Congress has to make is whether or not we should go to war. I think people are tired of war, and we should avoid it at all costs. America should go to war only as a last resort, once we have exhausted all other options and there is clear and identifiable threat.

5. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — how should the government continue to support these entitlements? Are reforms necessary?

The people of Hawaii have a long tradition of respect for and support of elders. We honor our elders by making sure they can live with dignity in retirement, which is why Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are important. We must continue to strengthen and protect benefits for our seniors today and future generations.

Medicare has also been critical in keeping seniors out of poverty. While its liabilities have increased thanks in large part to rising health care costs, the best way to deal with that is to bend the cost curve of the health care system as a whole. Obamacare is putting in place a number of reforms that will help do that. I believe the solution to Medicare’s problems is to take an innovative approach to improving delivery of care – not cutting the benefits seniors rely on. Medicare must continue to ensure to high-quality health and affordable healthcare for current and future generations.

6. Congress has struggled in recent years to reach agreement on budget deficits, the national debt and spending in general. What would be your approach to fiscal matters?

As a member of the state Legislature who has worked to balance eight budgets, I know how important is to help families while protecting programs during tough times. Particularly after the economic collapse, there was a lot less revenue and a lot of residents who needed help. The Legislature balanced those budgets by working together to protect programs that helped families while cutting back where we could during tough times.

That’s the approach I will bring to Washington, D.C. Deficits are a real concern so it is important that we look at every item on both the revenue and spending sides to see where cuts can be made without undermining the economic foundation of middle class families. Today, too many in Washington think that cuts to food stamps are more acceptable than rolling back tax loopholes that benefit billionaires and big corporations. I support ending the tax giveaways for the wealthy and well connected. Government policies should be focused on those who need help the most.

7. It has been difficult to bridge the partisan divide in Washington lately. How would you make a difference?

Over the years I’ve worked with people on all sides of an issue in order to bridge gaps and accomplish goals. I helped forge public and private ties to create the Kuhio Park Terrace. Like Senators Inouye and Akaka, I aim to create strong partnerships in both parties and focus on what is best for Hawaii, not best for party politics.

8. What is your policy on immigration?

I was fortunate to be able to immigrate legally to America as a child. My mother wanted me to have the better life that was possible in this great nation. The parents of many children who came here without documentation wanted the same thing – and I believe those kids should have the same chance to reach their dreams that I did.

I am a strong supporter of the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legal permanent residency for individuals who came to America when they were minors. These young people have often lived most of their lives in America yet they cannot fully be part of their communities because of their legal status. That’s costing these young people opportunities and costing their communities the chance to fully benefit from their talents. The DREAM Act would help fix this problem and allow these individuals to live their dreams.

I believe we also need a comprehensive effort to reform our immigration system that includes a path to citizenship. It is time to bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and allow them the chance to have the same rights and responsibilities as legal residents.

9. What is your view of the role of the U.S. military in the islands?

Given the critical importance of the Asia-Pacific Region in terms of trade agreements and strategic partnerships with a number of nations, Hawaii definitely plays a substantial role in the United States’ strategic pivot towards Asia. I see Hawaii as a hub for U.S. military and a “gathering place” for military forces of the Asian-Pacific Region. Hawaii will be a place for training exercises such as RIMPAC as well as a place to foster relationships between our militaries. Hawaii’s proximity to the region is also crucial for our military to be able to respond quickly in the event of a natural disaster that may affect the area as we saw with super Typhoon Haiyan. Finally, as we enter a new age of prosperity in the Asia Pacific Region, our state will be the place to discuss future policies and free trade agreements of that region.