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 Noelle Famera, Democratic candidate for U.S. House District 2, which includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. Other Democratic candidates include Brian Evans, Kai Kahele and Brenda Lee.
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?
I would work to co-sponsor the important coronavirus relief bills that are helping to fund small businesses and individuals. But I would make sure that the money is going to the people, and not the big corporations or businesses that don’t need it.
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 climate action, which is something that a majority of my fellow Democrats believe in.
If my party was in the majority I would push to pass sweeping climate change legislation like the Green New Deal. If my party was in the minority, I would work across the aisle to begin to build a base for when we are ready to push the big climate change legislation.
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 believe Congress needs to pass sweeping legislation that opens up the funding for full police reform. We should also open up congressional hearings into police brutality cases across America, as to make sure they are handled correctly.
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 would be a bipartisan voice that works for my constituents, not the top 1%, not the establishment machine, and not the partisan politics that has plagued this nation for far too long. I would work across the aisle with the mindset that it isn’t my way or the highway, we need to find a middle ground in order to move America forward.
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?
We need better regulation of what our military is doing here.
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 would make cuts to certain departments, as well as holding Big Tech accountable for taking jobs overseas and paying less taxes. I would work to investigate money laundering that the U.S. loses billions of dollars to a year.
7. Under what circumstances should America go to war?
America should rarely go to war, but if we know that our country is at risk, we should fight to protect it at all costs. We should also try to promote free and fair democracies around the world, and we should always protect the lives of innocent refugees.
If we are in an alliance with another country we should truly examine if it is worth starting a war; if the issue is serious we need to support our allies.
8. What should the United States do to control carbon emissions and slow climate change?
The United States needs to close all nuclear facilities to start; they pose a sudden and dangerous threat to the well-being of our nation.
We should also begin to transform our factories to 100% green energy, we should also transform our economy to a 100% green economy.
A huge way our nation can help in the fight against climate change would be passing the Green New Deal.
9. Is it time to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? How?
Yes, by implementing rehabilitation centers for the homeless and housing, as well as dental care.
10. What should be done to reform U. S. immigration policies, if anything?
We support a pathway to citizenship.
11. What specific reforms, if any, would you seek in gun control policies?
Universal background checks.
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.
First getting inbound flights tested before arrival is important.
Also building a sustainable infrastructure that is not relying on outside sources, such as developing local food sourcing and renewable energies.
13. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
The issues of universal basic income and data rights. For far too long, the homelessness crisis has been a huge problem in America, but by starting a UBI program, we would be able to give these people better lives, which leads to more jobs in America.
Our voices are being silenced every day by big corporations, I have witnessed this myself when all my accounts were hacked, shadow-banned, and our ads were restricted by Google and Facebook.