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Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 8 general election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Republican Gilbert Rebolledo, one of two candidates for state House District 8, which covers Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku and Kahului. The other candidate is Democrat Joe Souki.
Name: Gilbert Rebolledo
Office seeking: House of Representatives, District 8
Community organizations/prior offices held: Vice chair Maui County Republican Party; VOLINCOR, associate pastor/youth pastor
Place of residence: Wailuku, Maui
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 Legislature is run?
My goal as a representative is to enter into the political arena of the House of Representatives and speak for my constituents and the people of Hawaii. It is not with an agenda to try and make changes in how government is run. I believe that it matters who we as a people elect into office and that is the most important factor to better government. I am not a career politician, so I have no ideological motives or intentions. I believe a state representative’s foremost duty is to protect and ensure the God-given and constitutional rights of the people whom they serve. I will not allow my principles or values to be compromised and I will endeavor to help facilitate an open and integral attitude. This is the most that anyone can offer as a government official.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizen’s initiative process. Do you support such a process?
I do support a statewide citizen’s initiative process, as do many other states. This measure would require unique protocols and parameters for the state of Hawaii to best suit our diverse communities of people and our logistics.
3. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?
The domination of Hawaii by the Democratic Party establishment is not without a great deal of merit. The people of Hawaii vote according to their due diligence. The disappointment is really in the fact that only a small portion of eligible voters in Hawaii actually do vote. If every eligible voter in Hawaii were to vote, I believe the domination of the Democratic Party would disappear.
4. What specific steps would you take to strengthen Hawaii’s lax lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure laws?
I believe it matters who is in charge of these departments, especially the Ethics Commission. Positions are usually almost all appointed positions, not elected ones. Appointments for these important jobs need to be heavily scrutinized and filled with good people.
5. Would you support eliminating Hawaii’s high fees for access to public records when the request is in the public interest?
6. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
Communication with my constituents will be a high priority. I will use every means possible to keep close contact with all of them. Modern technologies will help tremendously.
7. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
Watershed protection, DLNR issues, sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, homelessness, education and the economy.
8. There is a desire to grow the economy through new development, yet also a need to protect our limited environmental resources. How would you balance these competing interests?
The burden of this challenge falls upon the building industry to be creative and ambitious in how new development continues. New designs and techniques need to be progressive and modernized to suit our island lifestyles. We should currently focus on improving and taking care of our current developments rather than making any more large-scale capital improvements or developments that do not address our housing shortages and affordability of homes.
9. What should the Legislature do to improve police accountability?
This is the responsibility of the department heads. With obvious issues facing our police departments, the Legislature should work closely with police department officials in supplying them with every resource they need to address and solve their issues. The solutions must come from the inside-out. The police department provide too valuable a service to allow scrutiny to undermine their functions.
10. Hawaii is the fastest-aging state. What would you do to ensure we’re taking care of our kupuna?
I have been a volunteer for Hale Makua Health Services for many years, as well as a former resident. My mother and my wife are former employees. It has been rated as one of the best health-care facilities in the nation. We should use their examples as models for how we care for our kupuna. The need for affordable housing goes hand in hand with this issue. The growing popularity of smaller homes would do well in providing housing for kupuna as their needs are not as great. Education for potential nurses and medical providers can also be looked at to ensure we are well able to care for our people.
11. What would you do to improve Hawaii’s public education system?
Great education begins and ends with the educators. They are the people who directly affect our kids and their learning. With the growing shortages of qualified teachers in our public schools, we need to address the issues that cause people to leave and not want to teach in Hawaii. The recent pay raises for Board of Education members is absurd. It’s the educators who need to be properly compensated and supported to improve their work and skills.