Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 primary election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Richard Turner, a nonpartisan candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, which includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. There are four other candidates, including Republicans Eric Hafner and Angela Kaaihue, and Democrats Tulsi Gabbard and Shay Chan Hodges.
Name: Richard L. Turner
Office seeking: 2nd Congressional District
Occupation: Substitute teacher
Community organizations/prior offices held: None
Age as of Aug. 13, 2016: 58
Place of residence: Mountain View, Hawaii County
Campaign website: Work in progress
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 support term limits for elected officials, I believe too often politicians become entrenched and more concerned about themselves being re-elected than the very people they are suppose to be serving. Reasons for not having seen term limits to date is simply the very people who benefit most from lack of term limits have no incentive to pass them.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizen’s initiative process. Do you support such a process?
Yes, the initiative process is intended to solve a problem of government action or inaction of the will of the people that cannot be resolved by elections.
3. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?
The populous of Hawaii is Democrats. If you wish to convince people to follow a different party then you will have to give them a logical reason to do so.
4. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
Four times a year, each member of Congress should have town hall meetings, each time in a different location within their districts. This gives the voters the chance to voice their own ideas of what they would like to see from those who represent them.
5. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
Funding to build homes/shelters for homeless individuals and families. The state of Hawaii is third in the nation for homeless per capita and Big Island is nearly triple that of Oahu. They live in our dense forest, beaches and parks, and because of this they are out of sight and for many officials out of mind.
6. What should America’s role in the world be? What would you do to move us in that direction?
Due to government secrecy, most of our citizens are often unaware that our military garrisons encircle the entire planet. Instead of these garrisons, put into play public health centers throughout the United States. Health care from prenatal to general health care, including eye, dental and mental. Placing a network of public health care centers all over the states would create over 4 million good-paying, decent jobs, a great stimulus package for better economics.
7. The country is torn apart. What would you do to rebuild bridges?
I’d like to refer to parts of a speech by Sri Lanka Chief Justice Kanagasabapathy Sripavan, which is sound advice for everyone:
Today, we have come to realize that we have to live together and if we are to live together, we must have tolerance of other people’s views; religious tolerance, ideological tolerance, and these are the things which have become inevitable in the interests of self-preservation.
Forgiveness is love at its highest power. I think the philosophy on which this country should rebuild itself is definitely not the philosophy that believes in extermination or segregation or assimilation, but one that believes in achieving racial harmony, and if racial harmony is to be achieved, our whole outlook on life must be different. We must respect every individual. An individual may not be as great as we are; he may not have the intellectual achievement or the educational gifts or the vast experience which some of us may claim to possess, but that does not mean that the unsuspected possibilities and potentialities of people have all been explored.
If you take democracy in the proper sense, it is tolerating of differences.