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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 Michael Last, the Libertarian candidate for State Senate District 3, which covers Kona and Kau. There is one other candidate, Democrat Dru Kanuha.
Candidate for State Senate District 3
Retired electrical engineering consultant
Ocean View, Hawaii Island
Community organizations/prior offices held
Vice-president, Ocean View Community Association.
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?
Absolutely! As one of only two potential senators of the Libertarian Party, it will be a tough uphill battle to accomplish anything against the other Democratic members. Hopefully the general population has had enough of one party rule-making.
2) Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizens initiative process. Do you support such a 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?
As a non-Democratic candidate I will attempt to ensure that the will of the people has a voice. With the one-party Senate, the people have no voice.
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 not support more frequent reporting requirements. I would however ensure that the people know where every cent is coming from. I will not now, nor will I ever, take any contributions from anyone, either lone individuals or PACs (i.e. Purchase A Candidate).
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?
I would attempt to have a more open and equitable fee structure for all records, except those restricted by law.
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?
No! Eliminate all excess requirements for public funding of benefits for municipal workers. Eliminate the requirement of mandatory union representative for government workers.
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?
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 no “booming visitor industry” in Hawaii County due to the current volcano eruptions.
9. Do you support or oppose holding a state constitutional convention? Why or why not?
Yes, but open to all interested persons, not just the Legislature.
10. What should Hawaii be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to the reefs?
11. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
The shortfall of revenue to support all the government programs. The answer is to allow gambling in this state, but with only two restrictions.
First, it should be available to those above a certain age (18, 19, 20 or 21). Second, it should not be made mandatory.
Then there would be no reason to raise the general excise tax, the transient accommodations tax, or any other tax.