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Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 6 General Election, 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 Julia Allen, the Republican candidate for state House of Representatives District 20, which covers St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise and Kaimuki. There is one other candidate, Democrat Calvin Say.
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?
Yes, the Legislature should and can be more transparent and accountable. I can and will speak the truth. Leadership has no hold on me.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizens initiative process. Do you support such a process?
I would introduce and support legislation for initiative, referendum, recall and term limits.
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?
As long as Democrats are in the majority, they will continue to keep discussions and decisionmaking behind closed doors. Therefore I will speak the truth.
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?
No, I would not support more frequent campaign finance reporting. The best solution is to elect honest people.
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?
Reduce the size of government. Our ever-growing bureaucracy has become uncontrollable and enforcement of law is now arbitrary.
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 support reducing the size of government by prioritizing spending and reorganizing departments; otherwise our unfunded liabilities will continue to grow.
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?
No, I do not support changing our state constitution to allow taxing investment properties to fund our public schools. Our schools do not lack funding and this bill is so vague and badly written that it should not pass.
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?
There is a growing demand for vacation rentals and property owners will find ways to meet it. We need a way for the rentals to be legal, so owners pay the taxes instead of hiding in a black market.
9. Do you support or oppose holding a state constitutional convention? Why or why not?
Yes! I support holding a state constitutional convention. It can bring out new ideas and new leadership. A review of our constitution is long overdue.
10. What should Hawaii be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to the reefs?
Climate will always change. We don’t know enough about why, how, when or where certain changes take place, much less what to do about it. We could be going into an ice age and have prepared for the wrong things.
11. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
The most pressing issue in my district is the increasing cost of living driven by high taxation and overregulation. I would start by reducing the size of government and the burden it places on our citizens.