Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 primary election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Steve Tataii, one of 10 candidates for the 1st Congressional District, which covers urban Oahu. The other candidates include Colleen Hanabusa, Javier Ocasio, Lei Ahu Isa, Howard Kim, Sam Puletasi and Lei Sharsh-Davis, Republican Shirlene Ostrov, Libertarian Alan Yim and nonpartisan candidate Calvin Griffen.
Name: Steve Tataii
Office seeking: 1st Congressional District
Occupation: Independent conflict resolution consultant
Age as of Aug. 13, 2016: 67
Place of residence: Honolulu
1. This year has seen an outsized influence from people who want big changes in how government is run. What would you do to change how the U.S. House is run?
Education, Education, Education. Congress keeps seating members from two categories; an incumbent Re-electing machine already in place by the incumbents’ inside influence and privileged access, second; the new candidates from their initial elections winning with ethnic and special interest backings. Yet none may be the right leader for our country’s need in areas they sign up to represent in committees or on the floor of both congressional halls once into office. That is why this election like any other is crucial to make sure we seat the right leaders in Congress.
I would make the best choice for Congress simply because I have wanted to be the leader not for money or fame, but because I want to put good solutions to work for Hawaii, the nation, and the world.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizen’s initiative process. Do you support such a process?
I support it as long as the initiatives have been written based on our citizens’ true needs before placing them on the ballets, and worded in a simple manner to be clear what the question is asking, hopefully explained on prime times by the media prominently at least starting a month before the elections.
3. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?
The domination of the party must have a constant changing evolution striving for the better at all times, leaving no stone unturned, otherwise the system may have a snowball in problems not understood even by the party itself, and eventually begin to crumble, while our citizens begin to suffer, and many suffer to the max without any network to save them, which is unhealthy, and counterproductive in any society.
The element of “change” must first exist or the party could only go backwards, and corruption in every segment of government would be overwhelming and intolerable, even effecting our clean election process itself, preventing the right candidates from prevailing as in my own case in 2002.
4. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
“We” must do exactly as I suggested in my answer just given in the first three questions. That is when things start to change, and leaders begin to listen wholeheartedly to their constituents, because the good leader would hire good staff, and the staff will facilitate all the contacts with the leader in a fair and honest and effective way.
5. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your state or district? What will you do about it?
It all starts from good leadership, so I hope to be elected into office, and at least do my share to improve what we all clearly need in our state. My goals since the first time I ran for office in 1988 have not changed much (good ideas don’t change). Others have tried to copy them, but they either came out in pieces or just never lifted off the ground.
For example my plan to start an agricultural production plan in as many products as possible and reviving old Hawaiian fish ponds (na Loko ‘Ia) still stands. This was to help our state to become greatly self-sufficient in economy, and increase jobs.
Another issue of my interest was to create bicycle lanes on nearly all major roads, and as we see; 28 years later someone has come up with the plan to create the lane only on King street beginning from South Street to University Avenue. This is only half of a single road, and not done properly. My bicycle lanes project was the first effective and basic way to cut traffic jams before diving into what they’re now trying to do before the basics with the speed rail project.
6. What should America’s role in the world be? What would you do to move us in that direction?
America is normally referred to “United States of America.” The U.S. is currently the most powerful country in the world, and it it should definitely stay that way. I have the sincere problem-solving skills and the knowledge to help move America in that direction, and keep it there. My leadership will put in place a stronger, better and more just system of government, be it in dealing with our state, the nation or the world.
My lifetime observation, studies, and learning about our “world” and its leadership shortcomings have trained me just for that. I speak six languages, and have the knowledge and ability to become the best choice in this capacity for Hawaii, the nation, and the world. It was perhaps a miracle I found the strength in me to run for office once again due to the open seat under unusual circumstances surrounding it, so I hope our voters will give me that chance to show them what the real stuff is all about, hoping this time the election process plays it fair and square with no flaws in its system.
7. The country is torn apart. What would you do to rebuild bridges?
I’ll do the basic things under those circumstances, and the basic means to move it to the right direction. With my skills, and background, I will be ready to provide the education to my colleagues in Congress, and discuss the doable proposals, which are based on the reality on the ground, and not the already failed remedies by those, whose concept of solving a problem is to go to the max head-on, leaving behind weeks, months, or years of failure, spending billions, rather than using the right and wise approaches from the start, and let things fall in place one by one hopefully on the first try, if not the second, but not fail indefinitely or success may be on the 10th attempt instead of the first.