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 Cam Cavasso, the Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District, which covers urban Oahu. There are four other candidates, including Democrat Ed Case, Green Party candidate Zachary Burd, nonpartisan candidate Calvin Griffin and Libertarian candidate Michelle Rose Tippens.

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

Candidate for U.S. House District 1

Cam Cavasso
Party Republican
Age 68
Occupation Financial advisor, Mass Mutual; founder, co-owner, Hydroseed Hawaiian Nursery
Residence Waimanalo


Community organizations/prior offices held

Student body president of Kailua High; captain in U.S. Army; sat on the board of at least three nonprofits; served three consecutive terms as state representative.

1. What would be your first priority if elected? How would that change if your party is in the majority? The minority?

My first priority when elected will be to maintain and increase the rate of economic growth achieved by President Trump and the Republican Congress including making permanent the tax cuts for individuals, small businesses and large American companies. In the unlikely event my party is in the minority I would use my unique position as the first Hawaiian Republican in decades to work directly with the Republican administration to see that Hawaii’s interests were heard, respected and responded to.

2. Who would you support for Speaker of the House?

Representative Jim Jordan

3. Under what circumstances should America go to war?

As the most powerful nation on earth we have a responsibility to use our power wisely. We must rebuild our military in order that we can maintain peace through strength, and we should only go to war when necessary to defend our nation from attacks against our state or nation as well as to stand with and defend our allies if they are attacked and protect those weaker than us when unjustifiably attacked.

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

While, as a conservative, I am aware of abuses by Facebook for ideological reasons, we must always be careful of too much government regulation too quickly. Social media giants have reached the place of very large monopolies that can help or hinder our first amendment right to free speech, as well as invasion of privacy.

As private companies, social media companies have done wonderfully well for us all. There must be, however, in place, assurance and protections that guarantees that free speech will prevail without censorship and that privacy will be protected. A delicate balancing of public and private interest which will need to be carefully addressed.

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

Although many would like to say otherwise, the science of global warming/climate change is not set.   There is much science on both sides of the argument. The United States has progressed more than any other nation in reducing carbon emissions. It is certainly not our place or right to force other developing nations to forgo industrial development for their economies. Environmental issues must be dealt with with an informed understanding of the costs and the benefits of radical change. We must not forget the human impact — lost jobs, skyrocketing costs, and more — of uncontrolled climate hysteria.

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

Promises have been made and promises must be kept.  A strong and growing free enterprise economy will help us do this. The Trump sdministration’s 4.2 percent GDP growth certainly helps, as we begin to grow our way out of crisis. Nonetheless, we must bring order to the out-of-control monolith that the government Medicaid and Medicare programs have become, an issue which includes reigning in out-of-control medical and pharmaceutical costs by restoring the American genius to solve with competition and innovation in the private sector what government controls have cost us.

Life expectancy has increased by 20 percent; increasing the age to 70 for full Social Security benefits, as well as allowing Social Security beneficiaries to manage their own retirement investments, will dramatically help solve Social Security funding issues.

7. 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?

We have tied our economy’s hands with huge tax burdens and over-regulation. While we need strong accountability, we are already beginning to see the benefits of an economy set free of burdensome regulations and restrictions. Lower taxes that allow families and business to keep and reinvest more of the fruits of their labor are creating low unemployment and higher wages. Continuing to lower individual, corporate and small business taxes will result in a wealthier, more prosperous and more dynamic American economy.

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

First, let’s admit a hard truth: Washington is, and will remain, more partisan, more divided than even Hawaii. The recent Supreme Court circus, where Democrats announced before the nominee was made that they would oppose him or her, is a telling symptom. Nonetheless, as the first Hawaiian Republican in decades, I will bring balance to the Hawaii delegation to Washington to bring, yes, a more balanced perspective rather than the current, strident, one-sided, Democrat partisanship alone.

My opponent speaks of working across the aisle, but he is referring to a long gone type of Washington that may have or may not have existed 10 years ago. Now, all those legislators are part of what the people mean when they say, “Drain the swamp.” I will bring a fresh, outside perspective to work in Washington, and as the first Hawaiian Republican will have a unique and powerful position in a city that has only heard vitriol and cant from Hawaiian delegates. Further, I will work to bring a true sense of aloha to Washington, to teach the dysfunctional people on both sides of the aisle the meaning of the Hawaiian way. Washington doesn’t need more of the same. Washington doesn’t need another previous congressman. It needs a sharp lesson in aloha and the Hawaiian way. I will provide that.

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

Our immigration system is broken and has been. But before we can institute true reform, we must deal with some of the immediate problems. Being an American citizen is a privilege, not a right. We have the most open borders in the world, and the most welcoming immigration policies. But we must take some steps to stop illegal immigration before we move to improving the system. First re-establish the strong border controls and vetting that our nation needs for our safety from terrorists, MS 13, drug dealers and those that would harm us and our Constitutional government. Second, re-establish the orderly application and vetting and welcoming of immigrants to our nation. By these actions end the free-for-all chaotic system that is currently harming our security, our future and even legal immigrants themselves.

10. 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 place and role of the military in our islands is a well-balanced application for defense of both out state and nation. As the focus of the world shifts towards Asia, we must accept and support the possibility that increased military presence will be needed and appreciated. We must always, always, welcome the military in Hawaii with respect and aloha.

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

I would maintain the freedom guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution for law-abiding citizens of the U.S., subject to restrictions applicable to criminals or insanity. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” When we allow the Second Amendment to be taken away, in part or in whole, we risk having all other rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights to be taken away as well — the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press. We must honor the freedoms the Constitution has given us.

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

To restate:

• We need a strong economy for all our benefit. Enlarge and make permanent the tax cuts, continue cutting regulations. This is a critical priority.

• We live in a perilous world. We need a strong defense for our nation and state. We need to rebuild our military. Peace through strength. I will insure this happens.

• It is time to end political correctness. Protect the First Amendment. It is time for plain speaking, it is time for the thought police and the speech police to go away. It is time for civility. It is time for aloha.

• We need balance in our delegation in D.C.  As a Hawaiian Republican I will have a uniquely powerful voice with the Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress. I can see, better than any Democrat, that Hawaii’s interests and needs and are heard and respected.