Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 11 primary, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities will be if elected.
The following came from James John Logue, a Democratic candidate for the state House of Representatives District 29, which covers Kalihi, Kapalama, Iwilei and Chinatown. He is one of two Democratic candidates. The other is Daniel Holt.
1. Should the Legislature be more transparent and accountable? What would you do, given how tough it can be for individual lawmakers to go against leadership, to bring about needed reform in areas like sexual harassment policies, lobbyist regulation, fundraising during session and televising and archiving all hearings?
It is my belief that the Legislature should be more transparent and accountable. For one, any misconduct reported against a legislator should be made public record if the conduct is investigated and found to have taken place.
I feel that the lobbyist regulation is fine enough as it is, and therefore I have no view on modifying it.
I do feel that fundraising during session should be prohibited.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizens initiative process. Do you support such a process?
I would support a citizens initiative process.
3. Hawaii has the most lopsided Legislature in the country, with no Republicans in the Senate and only five in the House. How would you ensure there is an open exchange of ideas, transparency and accountability for decisions? What do you see as the consequences of one-party control, and how would you address that?
I feel there is already an open exchange of idea and transparency, however, it does not mean those ideas go anywhere. Accountability of decisions is provided by voters. The voters must remain active and engaged in the process.
The consequences of one-party control is that non-Democrats run under the Democrat banner and make it difficult for true Dems to pass progressive legislation that would greatly benefit our state.
4. Would you support more frequent campaign finance reporting during election years, particularly before the primary? What other steps would you take to improve lobbying and financial disclosures?
I would support monthly campaign finance reporting during election years.
5. Hawaii’s public records law requires that records be made available whenever possible. Yet state agencies often resist release through delays and imposing excessive fees. What would you do to ensure the public has access to government records?
Enforcement of existing laws/policies.
6. Are you satisfied with the current plans to pay for the state’s unfunded liabilities? If not, how would you propose to meet pension and health obligations for public workers?
I am a strong supporter of the lottery, legalized gambling and legalized marijuana sales. We need to think out of the box to raise revenue. The burden needs to be lifted off of the taxpayers.
7. Do you support changing the state constitution to allow taxing investment properties to fund the public schools? How would you implement it if it passes?
Yes. A percentage of the sales should go to our schools.
8. Illegal vacation rentals have proliferated throughout Hawaii. The state is not collecting tax revenue on many of these properties and residents worry about overcrowded neighborhoods and other problems. Do you see this as a problem given Hawaii’s booming visitor industry and what would you propose to do about it?
I do see this as a problem. The state should indeed be collecting taxes off of vacation rentals. I would propose and/or support legislation taxing vacation rentals.
9. Do you support or oppose holding a state constitutional convention? Why or why not?
I support a con con because it is the right and the duty of the citizens to revisit their guiding documents and modify them for the changing times and modern needs.
10. What should Hawaii be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to the reefs?
• Stop shoreline development.
• Begin moving Kamehameha Highway inward approximately 100 feet.
• Stop sewage and drainage runoff leading to the ocean.
11. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
The most pressing issue is homelessness. We have so much crime and drugs related to homelessness and it’s sad that the city and state have turned a blind eye. People keep dying in Chinatown … this is unacceptable. I will be a very vocal voice and fighter for my district.
We need living wages to prevent homelessness as well as mental health facilities to house and care for the mentally ill and drug/alcohol-addicted. I will fight for these issues, because these impact my district every moment of every day. People shouldn’t die from stabbings in Chinatown and families in Kalihi shouldn’t struggle financially to take care of their keiki.