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 Felipe San Nicolas, Republican candidate for U.S. House District 2, which includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. Other Republican candidates include Joe Akana, Nicholas Love, Raymond Quel, David Hamman, Elise Hatsuko Kaneshiro, Karla Gottschalk, Steven Bond and Robert Nagamine.
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?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges. I would have moved to encourage the government to allow businesses to open up sooner utilizing the CDC guidelines. This would have limited the unemployment, loss of jobs, and state income tax coffers. The continued lockdowns are further damaging the economy and delaying any economic recovery.
If I was elected in Congress, I would not be silent about the lockdown going over 60 days to the Hawaii Governor. I would be out there with those peacefully protesting a prolonged shutdown. I would ask the U.S. attorney to get the FBI involved in investigating if the mayors’ decisions to use law enforcement to imprison or arrest folks during the early stages of the pandemic lockdown was an overreach of their authority, and if so there should be some recourse for those who were affected, to sue or receive compensation/charges dropped depending upon the arrest circumstances and events.
I would make available the service of the congressional office to any citizen or business who have legitimate, economic, physical, medical or financial viable grievances to be investigated so that the facts can be known, the parties involved will have a fair and open opportunity to respond and redress, and if any reparations or further legal action was referred as necessary.
I would within Congress solicit my party to start a comprehensive nonpartisan plan to consolidate the economic, legal, transportation, health, medical, international partnerships, front-line professionals and include as many stakeholders as possible to discuss and provide future planning so pitfalls and lessons learned or yet to be learned are implemented and practiced.
2. What would be your first priority if elected? How would that change if your party is in the majority? The minority?
In the majority, I would support national legislation to rebuild the economy. I don’t think legislation to print more money is good for the nation. I would support legislation to resolve the unrest on our streets, i.e., deal with anarchists or any group opposed to the rule of law.
I’d push for fair, reasonable medical care and coverage but limited government subsidies (such as SSI) depending on each individual case subsidies only those such as (war injured, born with special needs, aged without any means to get and receive medical care, debilitating injuries or diseases (thru and up to their death or recovery). Government should work within its means and providing health care is essential to those mentioned above, but government should not be providing universal health care to all citizens.
A strong military is necessary, especially with the power grab from our non-allies such as China, Russia, Iran, the unpredictability of North Korea and the threat of extremists inside and outside of the U.S.
If in the minority, be a voice of reason. Divide and conquer. Take the high ground. Stay true to my purpose why I am there. Try to partner with the other side if their legislation will help the people of Hawaii, but not compromise the people’s trust.
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?
I support law enforcement training changes. Law enforcement work has its inherent dangers to them on the job and also to their families. Therefore in terms of their privacy, I think it fair because of their public service, their privacy should be guarded until proven guilty, their names should not be released to the public until they are found guilty of a crime.
In terms of a practice called “need to know,” defined as, “If you tell people something on a need-to-know basis, you only tell them the facts they need to know at the time they need to know them, and nothing more. Essential or necessary.” Police have to protect and be protected by the fifth through seventh amendments, but the civil rights of police should be the same rights as citizens, not any more, not protected by the unions.
I oppose reducing budgets, they need the finances so they can to do their jobs. Police need the equipment to enforce the law. Criminals and bad actors will use whatever they can get their hands on to commit crime.
Bad cops should be punished, just like criminals. We need law enforcement/peace officers; it is a very important piece of the third tier of the government (Judicial). Without law enforcement we get anarchy, just look at the example of Seattle/CHOP. Racism is a heart problem not a skin issue. The only changes I would make are: Police unions and police chiefs should have active neutral oversight, neither should be protecting bad cops or their departments’ special interests
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?
Tell the truth and expose the illegal behavior or actions. Remind my colleagues they are there for the “people and nation” and not their own agenda or the parties’ agenda.
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, because people are unreasonable and they bring the battle to you (at the expense of the people). Sometimes you have to pick your battle(s) to fight another day. Other times you have to find neutral ground and start from there. The biggest problem is, we (us the people) have voted in and allowed to stay too many Napoleons and “eses” in Congress and the people and the nation will end up with Waterloo.
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?
A strong military and its presence is absolutely necessary. I would ask the commanders here in Hawaii, what gaps need to be filled and what are the priorities of meeting those gaps and provide funding, manning equipment to fill those gaps.
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?
Stop printing money as a panacea to resolve financial problems. Submit and support legislation to update and revise “The Congressional Budget Act of 1974,” which will require the government to spend only what it takes in and only what it has been obligated, enforce any laws of the same that are already on the books.
Review the Dodd Frank Act of 2010 and revision of 2018, to see if it needs to be revised to protect American depositors from the effects of a crash of the economy due to the deficit.
Bottom line: nothing is free, someone has to pay our national debt. Our Congress, Senate, governors, mayors and president should not have saddled the “people/republic” with a debt we cannot pay.
It is sad that the U.S. went off the gold standard in 1971, and it is doubly bad that the gold stored at Fort Knox, as well as the gold that’s held in Denver, West Point, New York, is owned by the Federal Reserve (international bankers) who also own one-third of the U.S. deficit and the other owners of the U.S. debt are countries such as China, Japan, Russia, Canada. If the U.S. public owned that outright, we could pay off the deficit, by paying it back in gold bullion. I think the world bankers and Roosevelt sold the U.S. citizen out to this bottomless debt hole, which we are left to pay or be oppressed by.
We are enslaved to the world bankers who don’t want the national debt paid off because they are making billions in interest for their own wealth building.
7. Under what circumstances should America go to war?
There are many ways to go to war. Depends on what type of war our enemies are waging against the U.S. Each response to war has to be legitimized, measured with a final outcome of victory as the purpose or negating any more aggression and if reparations are due, they are completed through well-established legal processes.
Basically, if we are talking about using our military troops and equipment to protect or defend the nation from other militaries or groups that attack our national sovereignty or national security and/or our interests are threatened by an act of aggression that cannot be resolved by diplomacy and/or the act of the aggressor has threatened or breached our boarders by physical attack.
8. What should the United States do to control carbon emissions and slow climate change?
Less or better use of fossil fuels, coupled with better emission or pollution control. I think there were some good sides to the pandemic, we’ve learned to work at home (less cars/trucks/vehicles on the road).
More programs in support for wind, solar, hydroelectric or thermal energy programs and potential use of nuclear energy, not plants, but for example: if we can use a nuclear submarine to power our cities, then that same type of technology can be used (under the right conditions, footprint and controls) to provide electricity for commercial and public use.
9. Is it time to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? How?
These programs should be audited, reviewed, revamped or phased out and replaced, in terms of dividing up, renaming, categorizing support, because needs change, funding changes, industry changes. I’m not saying we leave people without or cut off. I’m saying “justice” giving the people fair and reasonable support, they worked for it and they funded these programs with a lifetime of working for those benefits.
Since 2010 Congress started borrowing from Social Security, and according to the 2018 Trustees Report the Social Security fund is projected to have sufficient income to pay out promised benefits until 2034, after which the program will bring in enough revenue to pay out 77 percent of scheduled payments. I don’t trust that the government is the best manager of the people’s money, (see deficit, cause of crash of 2008?) so I would:
• Support or introduce legislation to have these funds monitored by an independent non- government entity, who reports to the Congress and public annually of the solvency of the Social Security fund.
• I would make any need changes to the Social Security funds on a real-time basis to a viable solvency for current and future users.
• Verify that the head of the Social Security agency is not tied to the Federal Reserve or international world bankers conglomerates. Greedy buggers.
10. What should be done to reform U. S. immigration policies, if anything?
DACA ( Deferred Acceptance for Childhood Arrivals) has some merit but I believe all individuals coming into the U.S. should come through the already well established immigration process. I would review and reform immigration law, starting with aligning it with the Constitution and Bill of Rights to close loopholes or separation/duplication of policies.
Non-citizens should be treated with basic human rights but not constitutional rights until they qualify and are given U.S. citizenship. Only minimum but sufficient amount of U.S. public tax dollars should be used on illegal immigration participants, but at the same time we cannot treat anyone inhumanely They should receive basic human rights (limited food, shelter, medical care).
The media is supposed to report the facts and politicians are supposed to take care of the U.S. citizens they represent. Often they use this issue to divide the country to support their party politics, which is the wrong use of their office/responsibility.
11. What specific reforms, if any, would you seek in gun control policies?
I support the 2nd amendment. It is a basic constitutional right for law-abiding citizens.
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.
For every current and new person holding any public office, they have to be informed, educated and sign an agreement if they violate or abuse the public trust or citizens’ rights while in the capacity of their specific civic, legal, constitutional responsibilities, they will be stripped of their powers, removed from office and legally prosecuted (if necessary) and physically removed in a real-time fashion from the position, without any protest recourse or compensation.
Politicians are often treated as if they are above the law or get special treatment, that is wrong and needs to be changed.
We should also institute legislation that properly addresses the shortcomings of the government and civil response to COVID-19. We need to clarify, consolidate and legitimize the current powers and length the governors/mayors or other departments of government use to lock down, arrest, detain, implement curfews, limit our constitutional rights and liberties, so those rights (movement, access, practice public worship, provide for ourselves, peacefully protest) are not impeded or infringed.
Continue to use those same but relaxed/reasonable and tailored practices of hygiene and public health practices, with or without a current pandemic.
Have federal, state, local government and other private and public stakeholders create an agreement to stock, store, circulate, fund and refresh adequate and necessary supplies and equipment for the next one disaster. FEMA is not adequate and because we live on an island constricted by the Jones Act. We need to stock and supply adequate 30 days’ emergency supplies and equipment on-island. I think this one can be done thru the National guard or DHS.
13. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
I see our national political problems (past and present) resulting because most people believe — and that includes politicians and citizens — that government is supposed to solve and/or meet all their needs, which it was not true in a democracy or republic.
Yes, government is supposed to provide, enforce and legitimize (judicial, legislative and executive) powers, for our protection and rules so we can live peaceably with each other.
Federal and state government in using our tax base is to provide infrastructure, regulation for commerce, and a police and military to protect our national and local interests. We have allowed 435 U.S. House members, 100 senators and one president (exception is the president) with too many unchecked terms of office. Politicians have too much power with no accountability. Limit terms in office.
We have given monetary and financial control of our U.S. currency to international bankers and a pseudo-U.S. agency called the “Federal Reserve,” which float our national debt and also benefit from the interest we pay against that loan, as well as others. We need to resolve the national debt and gain back control of our own currency.
We need to see all of ourselves as one citizenry, living in one nation with different needs and perspectives, but we have all agree to respect each other’s differences and live under one Constitution and Bill of Rights/rule of law.
We are allowed to disagree and where needed have a place to address and redress issues, using the courts or remediation sources. Our enemies are without, and we should not be enemies within.