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

The following came from Cam Cavasso, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. Democrat Brian Schatz and Libertarian Michael Kokoski are also running.

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

Name: Cam Cavasso

Office: U.S. Senate

Party: Republican

Profession: Financial advisor, Mass Mutual Financial Group

Education: Kailua High School; University of Colorado; foreign exchange student at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan; U.S. Army School; finance schools

Age: 63

Community organizations: Student body president of Kailua High; captain in U.S. Army; sat on the board of at least three nonprofits; served three consecutive terms as state representative

Cam Cavasso

Cam Cavasso

1.Why are you running for the U.S. Senate?

I can bring balance, perspective, life experience and a true understanding of the people of Hawaii to the U.S. Senate. I am a leader who has lived to serve and I am ready to serve again from having been student body president at Kailua High to a U.S. Army officer to running my own business to serving in our Legislature to caring for my family, to being a professional financial advisor. It is now time to serve our nation. I bring a free enterprise, entrepreneurial value system built on the traditions that made Hawaii and America strong and prosperous. I stand for the individual freedoms, family-centrist values, limited government, and freedom to speak and practice our individual religions. I will fight for economic and educational rights without government intrusion or domination.

I want the people of Hawaii to be free and prosperous with a superior education system, strong families, and a tech and tourist economy that grows Hawaii. I will bring Aloha and the perspective and experience of a steersman for Hawaii to the U.S. Senate.

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

The science on climate change is not settled, many respected scientific models offering conflicted conclusions. All of us in Hawaii love, respect and cherish our environment. That being said, there are ways to minimize emissions without damaging future economic opportunities and growth; for example through technology efficiency and utilization of solar, wind and geothermal energy generation.

My opponent has said, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, that climate change is the most important issue facing America (and Hawaii) today. That is not merely overstating the case, it is environmental hysteria. What about the punitive cost of living in Hawaii? What about the terrorist threat of ISIS? And he has continued to advance ideas, ideology and legislation that restrict and damage the people of Hawaii for no or very minor discernible advantage. The Obama administration wants to cut off a portion of our Pacific Ocean three times the size of California and prevent the Hawaii fishing fleet from fishing there. This can kill our fishing industry, close our processing plants, cut $100 million from our economy, hurting businesses, stores, restaurants … costing jobs…while making the cost of fresh fish on our tables prohibitive.

That is not reasonable environmentalism. That is environmental extremism … putting fish ahead of people and his own personal ideology ahead of the needs of the people he is supposed to represent.

As senator I will free our fleet, cut electric costs, and seek intelligent, balanced ways to protect both our environment and our way of life.

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

A good place to begin is with our United States Constitution. Amendment IV of our original Bill of Rights states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” This practical limitation on government should not be violated because of a perceived need for national security in our homeland.

The Bill of Rights articulates well the protection of our citizens from invasion of our private rights by government. The individual right to privacy, to personal security and from unreasonable government searches is imperative. The NSA and other government agencies should not be permitted in these United States to delve into our communications without legitimate search warrants issued by judges on sufficient presentation of evidence.

But we must be ever watchful. The administration my opponent supports has violated our privacy again and again. While my opponent mouths platitudes about privacy, his administration has wiretapped our phones, seized our cell phone records, used the IRS as a weapon against private citizens, and in pushing the Common Core through our education system, has embarked on the most extensive, invasive, comprehensive data mining of each and every American family and citizen ever even in history. When an ideology such as my opponent has believes government is more important than people, we must be very, very careful to protect our right to privacy.

4. Under what circumstances should America go to war?

Our U.S. Constitution states in article one section 8 that Congress shall have the power to declare war. Only when Congress so votes and upon approval by the President should we go to war. Congress should not delegate this authority. Defending our homeland and our citizens and our property from attack by our enemies and defending our allies against foreign intruders are legitimate causes for a declaration of war. While we must never seek war, we must never be afraid to take our arms to protect our people, our nation and our values.

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

We should continue to fulfill promises made to our elderly and current beneficiaries. Yet for the sake of our future generations we must begin the process to wean ourselves off dependency upon Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Reforms are absolutely necessary if we — our children and grandchildren — are to survive economically as a nation for future generations. As a 29-year financial advisor I have helped many families transition from high debt to self-sufficiency — we can do the same as a nation. The answer is a return to the responsible economic system of ingenuity, competition and balanced budgets. Not the redistribution of wealth as my opponent advocates — which in reality is stealing. Removing incentive and reward weakens our people and kicks the foundation of prosperity out from under our nation.

I will work to protect our seniors on social security, work to protect the legitimate care offered by Medicare and Medicaid. But a small monthly increase in social security  (my opponent’s solution)  is not sufficient to help our seniors survive in Hawaii’s treacherous economic climate. Of course, we will protect their social security. But I will also bring down the cost of living in Hawaii. We pay three times as much for electricity as people in the mainland. We pay almost twice as much for food. To truly help our seniors, I will take the action necessary to bring costs of living in Hawaii into reasonable frameworks, so that their social security income actually can be a basis for a strong retirement.

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?

My approach would be a combination of 1) encouraging fresh economic activity and inventiveness to grow our economy; 2) encourage competition, private business and incentives reward for risk; 3) meet our constitutional obligation to maintain a strong military defense and provide for safety and protected freedom in commerce, transportation and communication; 4) reduce the size of federal government and eliminate waste, duplication and inappropriate spending; 5) privatize functions better managed by private competition; 6) return government functions to the lowest level reasonable; state, county and town level; 7) simplify the tax code considering a form of flat or simple tax;  8) require a balanced budget; 9) change the entitlement programs over time to reflect a debt free nation while meeting the needs of the truly needy; 10) encourage international trade, tourism and commerce.

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

In my three terms in the Hawaii Legislature I was continually successful in working across the aisle, maybe because in my own family my mother was a Democrat, my father a Republican and they did well. I prefer to call myself Hawaiian.

But anyone who has watched local politics in Hawaii knows how ineffective a minority party can be. Let’s face political reality. All signs point to a Republican majority Senate. There is already a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Washington is an intensely partisan environment. It doesn’t matter that we may wish different, it is a political fact. And a junior minority senator from Hawaii, such as my opponent will be, will have no voice whatsoever in Washington. As someone who helps gain a new majority, I will go to Washington with a unique level of power.

We live in interesting times. So interesting in fact that the only chance of preserving Sen. Daniel Inouye’s legacy, and continuing to bring federal prosperity to Hawaii, lies in sending a Republican to Washington to continue Sen. Inouye’s work. I would be humbled and proud to be allowed to contribute to that legacy.

I am a steersman. A steersman cannot do it alone. It takes the entire crew working together to make the canoe one team. We are one nation. I would work to be a steersman for Hawaii and the nation.

8. What is your policy on immigration?

Immigration has been and continues to be one of the key means of prosperity and growth for us all. Lawful and orderly immigration is good and welcome, while screening out those who would do harm to our people or nation. We’re a nation of immigrants. America was born out of immigration, it is and should be a blessing but it should be an orderly and lawful process where they have the ability to provide for themselves or are provided for when they arrive. A prerequisite to successful immigration policy is control of our borders. This must be done first and quickly, then welcome orderly immigration of new people.

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

Our military is a critical and key element to our safety and defense in the middle of the Pacific and the world. Our military both local, National Guard and from around the nation is an integral part of our society and State culture. Our military — retired and veteran — is a fundamental part of our history and future. Our military is a vital part of our economy, jobs and prosperity. Support of our military active duty and veterans, especially the wounded, is imperative. Support for our civilian employees, both active and retired, is honorable. We welcome wholeheartedly our military, and support them and encourage their maximum continued presence in this key strategic location for the safety of the entire country. It is the responsibility of Congress and the president to maintain full funding for a strong military in Hawaii. Peace through strength is a truism.

Let me add one timely note. I believe that the threat from ISIS has been consistently and shamefully misread and taken lightly by our current administration. Hawaii is an important strategic target, militarily, culturally, economically, and symbolically as our president’s home state. My opponent has lagged seriously behind his duties as our senator in not pushing the president to raise the threat level, to respond more quickly and decisively to threats, and most importantly, to see that Hawaii is safe and secure at all times.

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

Our families and their values are under attack from Pono Choices, forced legislative sessions on same sex marriage and constant attempts to whittle away our religious liberty. But right now, the biggest issue facing Hawaii, and one we can do something about, is our unmanageable cost of living. My opponent expresses concern about the cost of sending his kids to college. I am concerned that everyone here in Hawaii is struggling just to buy groceries and gas, to keep the lights on. There are simple, definite steps we can take to bring down our cost of food — almost twice the national average. To bring down the cost of electricity — more than three times the national average. We can make living in Hawaii affordable. My opponent won’t do that because of the people who give him money. I will bring down those costs, and will start working on it as my number one priority on Nov. 5.