Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 primary election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Eric Hafner, a Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, which includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. There are four other candidates, including Republican Angela Kaaihue, Democrats Tulsi Gabbard and Shay Chan Hodges, and nonpartisan candidate Richard Turner.
Name: Eric Hafner
Office seeking: 2nd Congressional District
Occupation: Ordained minister, diplomatic adviser and legal consultant
Community organizations/prior offices held: Involved with a variety of medical cannabis patient advocacy and civil liberties efforts in Hawaii and beyond.
Age as of Aug. 13, 2016: 25
Place of residence: Wailuku, Maui
Campaign website: http://www.erichafner.com
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?
As a Hawaiian nationalist, this is an important question for me. For Hawaiians, the main goal will be to remove influence that the U.S. Congress has over Hawaii via decolonization through devolution of power. In an independent Hawaii we would not allow corporate influence of politics.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizen’s initiative process. Do you support such a process?
Hawaii is not really a state, but yes, Hawaiians should be able to create and modify laws via voter initiative. The only limitation currently would be the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution that
limits our right to self-determination as an occupied country. This is a result of American occupation of Hawaii.
3. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?
The Democratic Party has maintained illegal U.S. rule in Hawaii. In an independent Hawaii, there will be numerous different political parties with diverse viewpoints. U.S. political parties in Hawaii are
simply a relic of the overthrow and bear little relevance to Hawaii.
4. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
I believe that elected officials should live with their constituents and frequently visit different neighborhoods in their constituency. I also believe the salary of an elected official should be no higher
than the median income of the people of their district. Occupiers usually don’t listen to their colonies though, so until the Americans leave Hawaii not much will change.
5. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your state or district? What will you do about it?
The biggest issue facing Hawaii is the continued illegal occupation of our country by the United States. This is an international crisis and acts of genocide have occurred against Native Hawaiians. As a result of the occupation, Hawaiians have been put into poverty and we are facing a crisis with the War on Drugs and Homelessness.
We need to treat drugs as a health problem instead of a criminal one and provide housing for all our citizens. Cannabis must be immediately legalized. Our police have also been used as a tool of occupation and we must take this tool away from our oppressors through fully devolved accountable policing and justice in Hawaii, with no more U.S. control.
6. What should America’s role in the world be? What would you do to move us in that direction?
America’s role is one for the United States to determine. Just as the future of Hawaii should be that for the people of Hawaii to determine. Hawaii is an occupied nation and the United States has no right to remain here. But I’d like to see an America more like Sweden or Switzerland and less like Nazi Germany. An independent Hawaii, following economic policies advocated by James Connolly would work for Hawaiians. I worry about people like my hero, Assata Shakur, who has been persecuted for standing up to the American empire.
7. The country is torn apart. What would you do to rebuild bridges?
The first step to rebuilding America is helping Americans understand what is theirs and what belongs to someone else. Hawaii is an independent kingdom that has been illegally occupied by the Americans
since 1893. A peaceful future of prosperity for all Hawaiians is possible in a free and independent Kingdom of Hawaii. In the words of Bobby Sands, the late Irish Republican Army hunger striker who died in 1981, “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.”