Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 4 general election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.

The following came from Michael Magaoay, Democratic candidate  for state representative for District 45. Republican Lauren Cheape Matsumoto is also running.

District 45 includes SchofieldMokuleiaWaialuaKuniaWaipio Acres and Mililani.

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

Name: Michael Yadao Magaoay

Office: State House, District 45

Party: Democrat

Profession: Electrical engineer

Education: BSEE from University of Hawaii

Age: 61

Community organizations: 

Mililani Town Association Board of Directors, 2013-2015; Catholic Charities Hawaii Corporation board member, 2011-2014; March of Dimes, Board of Directors, 2009-2015; Hale Kipa board member, 2011-2015; Pacific Health Ministry, Board of Directors, 2011-2015; Friends of the Mililani Public Library, member, 2012-present; Mililani Lions Club, member, 1987-present; Engineering Alumni Association, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Board of Directors, 1996-present; St. John Apostle & Evangelist Church, Pastoral Council, 2012-2015

1. Why are you running for the Hawaii Legislature? 

I served in the House of Representative, District 46, (2000-2010), and in my last term, I was the vice speaker of the House of Representative. I’m running again because there is more to give back to the people of Hawaii and life is too short!

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? 

Yes, we have a six-year financial plan that the legislative branch reviews/amends every biennium of the election cycle, starting with the review of the governor’s proposed budget.

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?

Funding: The Housing First Initiative is an approach that centers on providing homeless people with housing quickly and then providing services as needed. By providing housing assistance, case management and supportive services responsive to individual or family needs after an individual or family is housed, communities can significantly reduce the time people experience homelessness and prevent further episodes of homelessness. Also, search for legislation that has become law in other states that has passed political “muster” through the courts’ legal system for the state of Hawaii to adopt.

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

GMOs should be labeled.

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?

Hawaii has to be more business-friendly to small and large businesses that deal with so much regulation and taxation. Start-up businesses have a very difficult time surviving in Hawaii. These potential employers provide jobs and diversification, especially to District 45 with the many fertile fallow lands, that could be utilized to help Hawaii be self-supporting in our agricultural/aquatic industries. If elected, I would work with DCCA, the chairs of the respective consumer protection in the House and Senate, and business-leader stakeholders to craft legislation to entice new business start-ups and to decrease the overburdensome taxes, workman’s comp, unemployment taxes, etc.

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 would support liquefied natural gas usage, improving our electrical distribution system so more renewable energy can be utilized. As legislators we need to be focused on the fact that renewable energy is our solution to bringing energy costs down. Example: photovoltaic/solar. Government created the tax credits for PV/solar, but decided to curtail them due to the unexpected financial consequence. The utility company could not keep up the demand by homeowners to connect to the power grid. Examples like this must be forthright and bring all stakeholders to the table, as we move forward on a coordinated plan of action for our future reduction in consumption of energy from fossil fuels.

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? 

Yes.

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

Hawaii’s public school system is too huge to have the superintendent oversee the entire daily operations. I feel that the system is too top-heavy with many layers of authority and delegation. They should provide more funds to the weighted student formula (WSF); each school is different, whether you are located on the neighbor islands, rural areas or affluent district. The school’s principal should be given more autonomy to run his/her school.

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?

Hawaii is surrounded by water and the closest state is about a four- or five-hour flight away or a week on the water for the shipment of goods/commodities from the West Coast to Hawaii.

Our economy can grow if we diversify our No. 1 industry – tourism. In order to do that our state has to be more business-friendly for small and large business to invest in Hawaii (as I stated in question No. 5).  The balance can be achieved as new economic ventures come to Hawaii. We will make them be aware of the rich cultural heritages and earnest effort to protect our lands. We as a state have to provide business incentives for them to come and invest in Hawaii.

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

My one big idea for the people of District 45 and the North Shore is cleaning up the R2 water to R1 water in Lake Wilson. R2 water was great when sugarcane was “king” back then, but you cannot use R2 to grow leafy vegetables or crops that touch the ground. R2 is only good for growing papayas, mangoes, seed corn, etc. We have a lot of fertile fallow lands, that can be utilized for planting and growing our local food commodities and hopefully sustain our dependency from imports from afar. Diversification in agriculture is dependent on receiving R1 water in our farming communities.