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Editor’s note:For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 primary election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Miles Shiratori, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. There are 11 other candidates, including Shiratori’s Democratic primary opponents, Brian Schatz, Makani Christensen, Tutz Honeychurch and Arturo Reyes.
Community organizations/prior offices held: Lima Kokua, past president
Age as of primary date: 63
Place of residence: Kaneohe
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 or Senate is run?
I would push for term limits. Term limits would arrest the decline of congressional legitimacy ensuring that members would be more truly representative of their communities and would renew the faith in the American people and can govern themselves. This is the best way to reinvigorate government and bring new people into the legislature with fresh outlooks, new ideas and better incentives. Term limits is the only realistic way to ensure change of a legislative careerism in congress.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizen’s initiative process. Do you support such a process?
Yes, I do support this process. This way the citizens will draft a legislative bill or constitutional amendment which they propose by petition and if the petition receives sufficient popular support the measure is then placed on the ballot and can be enacted into law by a direct vote of the people. This is a good way for the people to be heard.
3. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?
Yes, it needs to be changed. I would like to see all political races run as non-partisan, because it will not show their party affiliation. I would also have a term limits bill passed so we can stop these self-serving professional politicians from being elected year after year.
4. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
One way is to send your ideas, suggestions and tips to your elected officials and the other is organizing in front of the Capitol and let your elected officials know you’re there and send someone door to door and drop off your literature of what the needs are in your communities.
5. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your state? What will you do about it?
It is the high cost of living. I would reduce the high cost of living by getting the federal dollars needed to the state to encourage high tech and clean industries to come to Hawaii and create more jobs and open the market to new insurance carriers. I would make changes to the Jones Act to lower shipping costs. We must encourage and induce business and the tourist industry to provide a Hawaiian “sense of place.”
6. What should America’s role in the world be? What would you do to move us in that direction?
Continue to help shaping global affairs and create better foreign affairs policies, help to find ways to support other countries fighting for democracy and to stop poverty in our country and worldwide by speaking with other world leader in finding the solutions. Our national security and the values we cherish, plus the future of democracy in the world, rest on our ability to rise to the occasion.
7. The country is torn apart. What would you do to rebuild bridges?
I would start by establishing support networks in helping create the rebuilding of our support systems, collaboration on research and raising funds to rebuild, organizing staff and developing new industries. The main idea will be collaboration and solidarity to help our country that is torn apart. We can learn from our past mistakes in history which also helps us to avoid the same mistakes.
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