Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 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 Duke Bourgoin, Democratic candidate for governor. The other Democratic candidates include Vicky Cayetano, Josh Green, Kai Kahele, Richard Kim, Clyde Lewman and Van Tanabe.

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

Candidate for Governor

Duke Bourgoin
Party Democratic
Occupation Consultant, director of small businesses
Residence Manoa, Oahu


Community organizations/prior offices held

Vice president and board member, Hawaii Organic Farmers Association; director, Oahu Guardiam Ad Litem, court-appointed child representative.

1. What is the biggest issue facing Hawaii, and what would you do about it?

The biggest issue facing Hawaii is safety. My solution is to clean up our environmental system and develop a clean circular economic system.

2. Many people have talked about diversifying the local economy for many years now, and yet Hawaii is still heavily reliant on tourism. What, if anything, should be done differently about tourism and the economy?

This eco-economic system naturally diversifies from tourism and creates economic output using local labor for needed services and products such as food, energy, bikes, clothing, solar receptors, a walled internet system, coordination of state, corporate and youth for tech development and deployment.

3. The Legislature this session approved spending $600 million for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands plus another $300 million for other housing programs. What specifically would you try to do to create more housing for middle- and low-income residents?

Creating more housing for middle- and low-income residents is part of my greenverdefarms.com project, where small cooperative community farm housing projects are providing food production security and wealth creation, with a place to live. My Big Island Hawaiian land project with the Army would offer lower building requirements and access to the land and housing with lower cost.

4. An estimated 60% of Hawaii residents are struggling to get by, a problem that reaches far beyond low income and into the middle class, which is disappearing. What ideas do you have to help the middle class and working families who are finding it hard to continue to live here? 

Help for the middle class and working families comes with taxation reduction in exchange for public service responsibility. Also the greenverde project can participate with community food production and income diversification.

5. The pandemic was particularly difficult for Hawaii’s public schools. Should there be a change in the way schools are administered? Would you support more local control including breaking the single school district into subregions?

School administration can be decentralized (e.g., single school district into subregions) with some home schooling, small local community groups, community assistance and training, and virtual school production programs.

6. Hawaii has recently experienced a number of prominent corruption scandals, prompting the state House of Representatives to appoint a commission tasked with improving government transparency through ethics and lobbying reforms. What will you do to ensure accountability at the Legislature? Are you open to ideas such as requiring the Sunshine Law and open records laws to apply to the Legislature?

Legislature ethics and lobbying reforms to ensure accountability at the Legislature include requiring the Sunshine Law be applied to laws and open records laws for public knowledge and control of our legislative process.

I want to initiate the “Hawaii Tonight Show” for a nightly review of government and the civic process.

7. Recently a house on the North Shore of Oahu fell into the ocean. Climate change is real and will force us to make tough decisions. What is the first thing Hawaii should do to get in front of climate change rather than just reacting to it? 

Climate change is the center of my plan to make Hawaii safe.

Basically no more garbage in (no pollution into the environment) equates to a cleaner, safer environment. See my website for continuous inputs, dialogues and solutions.

8. Hawaii has seen a growing division when it comes to politics, development, health mandates and other issues. A governor represents all the people of the state. What would you do to bridge those gaps and bring people together in spite of their differences?

The division in politics, development, health mandates and other issues directs the governor to represent all the people of the state. To bridge those gaps and bring people together in spite of their differences requires listening, dialogue, participation and issue voting, letting the people decide crucial issues under the guidance of the climate change environmental economic circular Hawaii program.

9. Historically, governors and lieutenant governors have sometimes publicly clashed. How do you envision the relationship between the state’s top elected officials?

Governor and lieutenant governor should work together for Hawaii. Coordination starts with finding important programs for the lieutenant governor to lead on.

10. 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.

One Big Idea for Hawaii is to return to a safe and clean environment as a base for our people to thrive.

Support Civil Beat during the season of giving.

As a small nonprofit newsroom, our mission is powered by readers like you. But did you know that less than 1% of readers donate to Civil Beat?

Give today and support local journalism that helps to inform, empower and connect.