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 Elise Hatsuko Kaneshiro, Republican candidate for U.S. House District 2, which includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. Other Republican candidates include Joe Akana, Karla Gottschalk, Nicholas Love, Raymond Quel, David Hamman, Felipe San Nicolas, Steven Bond and Robert Nagamine.

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

Candidate for U.S. House District 2

Elise Hatsuko Kaneshiro
Party Republican
Age 25
Occupation Citizen
Residence Waimanalo


Community organizations/prior offices held

Advocates for Public Interest Law

1. The entire country, including Hawaii, has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic. What should national leaders be prioritizing to help keep the outbreak under control and repair economic damage done by measures taken to respond to the outbreak? What role can you play as just one of 435 members of the U.S. House to help Hawaii?

National leaders should prioritize the general well-being of the people during this time. This entails weighing the physical, mental and financial concerns of their constituents.

As just one member of the U.S. House, I hope to help Hawaii invest in its wellness infrastructure to preventatively address health care and to boost its economic resilience through incentivizing remote work so technology companies hire in Hawaii. 

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

My first priority if elected would be to establish relationships with all other members of Congress. This would not change if my party is in the majority or minority, as I am committed to working in a bipartisan fashion so as to best represent Hawaii’s needs.

3. 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. What should Congress do, if anything, to improve policing and police accountability?

Congress should secure funding to ensure that law enforcement receives adequate and continual training, particularly based on issues like discrimination, excessive force and intervention. They should also bolster social services in order to best utilize resources and to properly address individual situations.

4. Whatever happens in the general election, Congress and the country will likely remain deeply divided. What specifically would you do to help bridge the partisan divide in Washington?

I am committed to reaching across the aisle to end divisive politics, as I believe we need to come together because a house divided against itself cannot stand. Specifically, I will seek to establish a personal relationship with every single member of Congress and encourage others to do the same.

5. 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 role of the U.S. military in the islands is to keep our nation and our state safe. I would like to see this role be increased due to the current threats against our national security in order to avoid another attack through deterrence.

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?

I believe in limiting government spending and addressing our national debt. In order to do so, Congress needs to take a hard look at the processes behind budgeting for entitlement and discretionary spending.

7. Under what circumstances should America go to war?

I believe that our national security policy needs to be one of deterrence. If deterrence doesn’t work, America should defend freedom.

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

Autonomous trucking that utilizes clean energy should be a major focus of the United States with regard to this issue.

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

Entitlement spending needs to be addressed and reformed in order to create a system that is sustainable for generations.

In order to do so, I support public-private partnerships that will provide financial security and health care to our aging and most vulnerable populations.

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

I support a pathway to citizenship for all migrants currently in the country. I also believe in ending human trafficking and the resulting exploitation of migrants.

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

I believe in defending the 2nd Amendment and in implementing open-carry policies. However, I support universal background checks for violent crimes.

12. 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.

A big idea I have for Hawaii is to approach companies like Facebook, who have recently committed to moving their workforce online, to hire in our state. I believe that these companies have the ability to update our technological infrastructure and would be willing to invest in our communities.

This will provide our state with access to opportunity in the 21st century, revitalize our economy, and help families stay together for generations.

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

I am committed to wellness, finance and education initiatives that prepare our next generation to be healthy, responsible, and ready to serve. I am particularly interested in reforming our education system to support programs that the state can no longer offer, like physical education, music, dance and art. I believe in providing a well-rounded exposure to life that empowers students to cultivate and pursue their unique gifts.