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 Robert Helsham, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. There are seven other Republican candidates, including Consuelo Anderson, George Berish, Michael Hodgkiss, Thomas White, Ron Curtis, Rocky De la Fuente and Eddie Pirkowski.

Go to Civil Beat’s Elections Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the Primary Election Ballot.

Candidate for U.S. Senate

Robert Helsham
Party Republican
Age 53
Occupation Local veterans employment representative
Residence Makakilo


Community organizations/prior offices held

National Institute of Athletic Administrators Association, certified athletic administrator; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, state camp director; Convoy of Hope, executive committee member.

1. What would be your first priority if elected?

Establish a working relationship with my colleagues and the administration to forward the progress of reducing the cost of living for our state. I have taken the time to travel to Washington, D.C., in June and have begun relationships with key personnel in the administration that aligns with the vision and mission of my campaign while coming alongside the overall strategy of keeping America great.

2. Under what circumstances should America go to war? 

The declaration of war is determined by Congress. It is said that in the multitude of counsel there is safety. After the Congress reviews all the evidence and documentation to consider, it must be to first protect the people of the United States of America.

3. Should Facebook be regulated by the federal government? How?

Facebook is a private company, and these companies should have less regulation to hinder their business. However, when it comes to the data, guarding against potential identity theft and spying software, we should come along and openly share information on those groups that look to do harm to our country and the American way of life. 

4. What should the United States do to control carbon emissions and slow climate change?

I personally do not share in the concerns of climate change. My position is that our Earth is a living planet, which balances the weather and climate according to its needs. It has been correcting itself for a millennia and will continue to do what it needs to do on its own terms. 

5. Is it time to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? How? 

Yes, it is absolutely time to reform these programs! 

• Social Security – will be depleted by 2035

• Medicare – needs innovation, not more money thrown at it.

• Medicaid – allow more private companies the opportunity to compete in this arena.

6. Congress has struggled in recent years to reach agreement on budget deficits, the national debt and spending in general. What would be your approach to fiscal matters? 

By keeping the interest and well-being of the American people first. For too long, Congress has looked to fulfill the wishes of their special interest donors and lobbyists rather than the needs of the American people. Congress continually funds programs that hinder growth and promote more government oversight and quotas.

7. Whatever happens in the midterm elections, Congress will remain deeply divided. What specifically would you do to help bridge the partisan divide in Washington? 

Leadership we can trust, follow and support. I bring a unique blend of team building, culture bridging, and cooperative commonality that will reach out to all sides of the aisle, from each level, federal, state, city and county. 

8. What should be done to reform U.S. immigration policies, if anything? 

We need to look at the condition of our “legal dreamers” who are caught in a peculiar situation called “aging out.” It’s unfortunate that the media continues to focus and support the illegal immigrants, while our “legal” immigrants are neglected. We have many “legal dreamers” who have come with their families legally, who are “aging out.” They are aging out because too much time that has lapsed since their parents filed for their green card when they were minors, now they are 21 years of age and no longer considered under the covering of their parents. Hence, they now need to be deported back to their nation from which they came. There needs to be an amendment drafted immediately to help these “legal dreamers” first!

9. What is your view of the role of the U.S. military in the islands, and would you like to see that role increased or decreased? 

The summit was a success in opening the dialog to nuclear disarmament in the Korean peninsula. However, it doesn’t mean that we can relax and drop our guard. Hawaii still remains an important part of our national security and safety in the Pacific. Our fleet here has been re-designated the Indo-Pacific Command, which has broadened its area of responsibility that reaches far across the Pacific to the Indian Oceans to include all other waterways and land masses along the way.

10. What specific reforms, if any, would you seek in gun control policies? 

The unfortunate gun violence events are the result of people not utilizing sound reason and judgment in their own personal life. We all need to be accountable for our own actions and stop blaming our lack of judgment and twisted points of view as the reason why we acted in the way that ultimately hurt and killed others. The current gun control laws in the state of Hawaii are efficient and need not be amended. 

11. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?

Let’s talk story about politics in a civil way. It’s okay to agree to disagree and still have respect for one another. Malama Pono.