Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 8 Primary 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 J Kahala Chrupalyk, Aloha Aina Party candidate for State House District 9, which includes Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills and Maui Lani.
1. Hawaii has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps the biggest impact is to the economy and the tourism industry, which has been Hawaii’s biggest economic driver. Do you think state leaders have handled the response to the virus effectively, including the approach to testing and health care as well as the stay-at-home orders that have caused serious economic harm? What would you have done differently?
Current legislation thought about the money first, then the people. I realize that without people, there is nothing. I was thankful that the state had manners for the most part — but manners donʻt save lives and their handling of the situation was very amateur. I would have:
• Shut down all incoming traffic before the virus even came here. That would have prevented COVID in Hawaii.
• A month-long shutdown to reduce spread. Interisland travel open after 30 days, but no incoming traffic. Residents returning home to prove their residency prior to flight home, and have undergone a 30-day quarantine. By avoiding a transitional situation, I would have known whether we needed tighter restrictions, and at least half of the economy would have been flowing, reducing the unemployment splurge.
• I would have also invested in natural resource management to maintain progress to accompany the federal aid that we received. The entire socio-economic system would have better benefited from this type of protection.
2. The state budget is facing record shortfalls. How would you balance the budget? What would you cut? What would you protect?
I would protect health care, education and agriculture because it is a hazard to our own health to depend on the barge to save us from everything, to cut corners on our health or education. Cutting corners on education is like saying that it is not important to invest in our own future.
According to the Grass Root Institute budget calculator, I was able to take the budget from a $1.4 billion dollar debt to an $81.1 million surplus through raising taxes on transient accommodations, liquor, cigarettes and corporate tax measures. I used 80% of the rainy day fund and cut most major items on the state budget by 20%. Certain areas where we could not necessarily afford the cuts, I only reduced by 5-10%.
3. What do you think should be done to diversify the economy? What would you do as an elected official to make that happen?
Invest in Agriculture:
• Reduce global warming while cutting costs.
• Fights sea level rise and droughts.
• Reduces local costs of pandemic economic dependency.
• 80% of Hawaiiʻs people are some sort of farmer by either trade or culture.
• Farming is natural, productive, keeps crime down and maintains “common+unity” in the community. Ag is a win.
Invest in small business. This causes unique experiences for tourists, generates economy that begins and ends locally, reduces unemployment. Local bosses tend to hire local people, meaning less tension, less transiency. It also means less outside influence and retention of the local authenticity that people truly come to experience. As any corporate retail experience, a happy employee produces happy customers. Happy residents produce happy tourists. Every Hawaiian experience would be authentic and unique, and our socio-economic conditions will be friendly, inviting and prosperous for the state of Hawaii and spending will ultimately increase, as will gross domestic production growth.
Introduce semi-natural health-care insurance and network. At least 50% of Hawaiiʻs population prefers a natural first line of medical defense before resorting to Big Pharm. Judging by the rate of unnecessary addiction locally, our communities can only benefit from this approach.
4. 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? Would you support reductions in benefits including in pension contributions for public employees in light of virus-related budget shortfalls?
Iʻm running to represent my the voice of my community because we are not satisfied with how current legislation is handling things and we would like to see better for our families.
Cut unnecessary spending from the budget, including all potential government position raises for a period of 10 years, create unconventional fundraisers through the utilization of local businesses such as plate lunches from local food truck vendors who utilize local ag as ingredients. Generate a new type of revenue for the state.
Support the legalization of marijuana. Marijuana, alcohol and tobacco products — taxed at 10% to build a blanket of funds for various accounts including in pension contributions for public employees in light of virus-related budget shortfalls.
5. The state’s virus response effort has exposed deep rifts within the top levels of government, including between the Legislature and Gov. David Ige. He will be in office two more years, so what would you do to ensure public confidence in Hawaii’s government officials and top executives?
Find the uniting line among the Legislature and go from there. Actually listen and keep promises. Put people first over corporations.
6. Recent deaths of citizens at the hands of police are igniting protests and calls for reform across the country, primarily aimed at preventing discrimination against people of color. How important do you see this as an issue for Hawaii? What should be done to improve policing and police accountability throughout the state? Do you support police reform efforts such as mandatory disclosure of misconduct records by police agencies and adequate funding for law enforcement oversight boards that have been established in recent years?
This is a very important issue for Hawaii. Recently, a web article was published and within hours, people were on the commentary speaking from the perception of racism. Many people who donʻt understand what reform is, are attacking both the Aloha Aina Party as well as Native Hawaiian people.
The truth is out there: not all Hawaiians are against TMT, as candidate report cards indicate. And more than half of Aloha Aina Party members are not Native Hawaiian. The rushed timeliness of racial slurs and ill-wishes on an article celebrating the rising of responsibility among native populations of all races, indicates that Hawaii has a serious underlying racial problem.
Police who come here from other places often refer to local people as, “You Sovereigns,” or “You Hawaiians think…” This behavior is a red flag indicator of racism and potential violence.
Police should have functional video surveillance on both their windshield as well as their front shirt pocket at all times while in uniform — to protect both themselves as well as citizens. Nothing tells a story better than live footage.
All matters concerning governance and public servitude shall be subject to public interest, such as personal liens are displayed in the office of the protonotary.
7. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizens initiative process. Do you support such a process?
Hawaii has a completely unique position that sets is apart from the rest of America. It is the only island state as well as the only state that has an official state language other than English. I sure do support a statewide citizens initiative process along with a requirement to have had a Hawaii state ID for the period of one year prior to becoming eligible for welfare services other than a return ticket to where they came from.
Now more than ever, Hawaii can no longer afford these burdens.
8. Hawaii’s public records law mandates that public records be made available whenever possible. Gov. David Ige suspended the open government laws under an emergency order during the pandemic. Do you agree or disagree with his action? What would you do to ensure the public has access to open meetings and public records in a timely fashion?
I disagree with his actions and would like to advocate for a completely open system of governance.
9. What should Hawaii be doing to prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and threats to the reefs? How big of a priority is this for you?
This is a heavy priority with a simple solution that the current legislation has been ignoring. This is one of the first issues Iʻd like to tackle and I know just how to make it profitable for farmers, environmentalists, landscapers, marine scientists and local craftsmen.
10. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
In my district, poverty and education ranks as the top two issues, however the threat of sea level rise is quickly becoming a bit more imminent for my district which sits mainly on top of water (most of it is a massive fishpond with a freshwater spring beneath it) and sits so low to sea level (most of Mokulele Highway was once underwater). I can tackle all three areas with efficient staffing, using a whole systems approach toward solutions.
11. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed numerous flaws in Hawaii’s structure and systems, from outdated technology to economic disparity. If you could take this moment to reinvent Hawaii, to build on what we’ve learned and create a better state, a better way of doing things, what would you do? Please share One Big Idea you have for Hawaii. Be innovative, but be specific.
In 200 words or less? I will nail this with bullet points:
• Invest in agriculture, and include agriculture as approved for all sorts of social integration and therapy programs, as well as to give each grade in school — one ag/field day learning environment weekly. In doing so, faculties can have one day for staff development and administrative work — which will create a far friendlier atmosphere for teachers to really find ways to positively impact their students.
• Invest in local business, of which I elaborated on another question.
• Invest in cheaper health insurance system using a naturalistic approach as a first means of maintaining health.