Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 3 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 Jonathan Hoomanawanui, Aloha Aina candidate for Congressional District 2, which includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. The other candidates are Democrat Kai Kahele, Republican Joe Akana, Libertarian Michelle Tippens, John Giuffre of the American Shopping Party and nonpartisan Ron Burrus.

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 2

Jonathan Hoomanawanui
Party Aloha Aina
Age 56
Occupation VFW accredited service officer
Residence Waianae


Community organizations/prior offices held

In 2012, elected chair, Kauai Veterans Council; in 2013, elected surgeon for the VFW Department of Hawaii Council of Administration; in 2014, elected Judge Advocate; in 2015, elected junior vice-commander; in 2016, elected senior vice-commander; in 2017, elected VFW Department commander for the Council of Administration; in 2018, elected vice-chair of VFW Western Conference Regional Council of Administration; elected to VFW National All-American Council as treasurer 2018-2019 (currently serving two terms); in 2019-2020, elected chair of VFW Western Conference and commander for Western Region; in 2019, appointed Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Hawaii Adjutant.

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?

Making sure that precautions are taken. Continue to test workers as they enter their workplace. Encourage washing hands and the basics in one aspect.

Workplaces bring monies home so that many people can provide and sustain living. And if we apply these same concepts to other things in life we may prevent it.

This will take a collaborative effort on all parts. The pandemic is a hot issue it affects everyone, affecting socio-economics.

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

Should we have laws to guide the pandemic from spreading or containment? Could be, but what can we do? We should work toward scientific pharmaceutical medicines to counter the disease.

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?

• Revise the training methods.

• Cover the elevations of use of force.

• Some cultures and cities need to use force differently.

• Work closely with families in certain regions that are very influential within the districts to assist in policing methods.

• The gun should be the last use of force.

• Utilize crime mapping to gather statistics.

• Police do not always need to carry a gun in some areas.

• Train the police force to communicate better (communications courses).

• Defuse situations using different forms of communication.

• Good technique is to require psychology courses.

• The average American reads at a seventh-grade level.

• Communicate with leaders of the area, they may know the person in the community and make phone calls to give warning, adding to the solution.

• Train monthly to be proficient.

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?

Communicate utilizing good language. Language that does not offend any one person or party. Set a standard, take a negative position and spin it to a positive outlook. Apply research, get your colleagues to believe why you think this method works or what we should implement to make it stick.

Basically, work side by side. Critical thinking is healthy if it accepts diversity. If you put in negative the output most likely will be negative. Put in positive the output will be positive. In my lifetime I have worked with others who will never see the point but that is human nature; it is difficult not easy to solve.

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?

Military is part of our culture. We serve our country. Leave them here and establish an agreement.

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?

Not everyone is working together. Everyone has an agenda to fulfill, from a business perspective on downward to bargaining and trades.

I would apply research concerning data and visit the pros and cons of the current issues and the forecast issues they may arise. Visit all the members of Congress and have coffee to establish dialogue. Building a strong relationship matters when it comes to gaining trust and worthiness.

This is one approach of communication. The discussion should not include biases. Just based on facts, common sense and reality.

7. Under what circumstances should America go to war?

Only go to war if it makes sense. Not on assumptions. Make sure the facts are correct.

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

Some states have preventive measures in place. The car or auto emission stations are required before your car can be registered. Manufacturers need to have filters in place preventing developed products with internal emissions before leaving the floor. It should be required; this is only one example but could be used if we apply the same concepts to other industries and makers.

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

Yes, the markets and companies have figured out so many ways of profiting against the old system.

Look at all the additional charges the privatization and companies in general are able to slip through the laws adding additional charges, placing hardship on our elderly and their fixed social security income.

We are so far behind by the time we decide our ideas become obsolete due to the fast-growing economy. If the economy thrives the minimum wage and benefits must move together.

If not, we must place laws like sequestration in place.

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

Our biggest problem is instead of getting down to the root of the issues and fixing, we look for ways within the current law to bypass, eventually causing a huge issue. The concept is to fix the problem before it becomes a major issue.

This policy carries a huge weight. Many problems may come to surface including health issues, diseases and must be approached with seriousness. Yes, we are the land of opportunity, but the laws must be adhered to.

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

The guns do not kill or hurt. Only if in a person’s hand it becomes a weapon. The playing field must be looked at from an equality standpoint.

If the police were to be stripped of their guns and go back to flashlights and billy clubs, I genuinely believe their hot shot approach would change. They would have to communicate more effectively to defuse a situation. Not all cities across America can approach the public without guns on their hips and that is understood.

I would encourage cities that can to implement removing guns from police. The attitudes of the police community would change for the benefit of the city.

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.

I would study all the rural areas of Hawaii. I would utilize a school property and rebuild the school to withstand all elements, whether it be from global warming effects, hurricane or tsunami. The schools will be equipped with central air and heating. Schools will be entirely closed from outside weather.

The schools will be used to serve these purposes:

• School;

• Emergency shelter;

• Communications center;

• Evacuation center.

Secondly, transportation routes need to be improved upon. More traffic circles need to be in the plan. Use of bicycles and walking to become normal transportation within the cities as well as some rural places.

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

I would like to maintain veterans benefits and make sure monies that are designated for veterans’ benefits cannot be touched once the budget is approved.