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 Asia LaVonne, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. The other Republican candidates are Wallyn Christian, Bob McDermott, Steven Bond and Timothy Dalhouse.

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

Candidate for U.S. Senate

Asia LaVonne
Party Republican
Age 46
Occupation Televangelist
Residence Honolulu

Website

Community organizations/prior offices held

Hawaii State Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights, current; Honolulu District 25 and 26 GOP chairwoman, 2020-2022.

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

The biggest issue facing Hawaii is the drug crisis. I plan to petition federal funding to create a new world-class rehabilitation facility that truly focuses on the mind, body and soul deliverance from addiction and suicidal ideations. I would also work with state and local officials to ensure that those who peddle these illegal substances to our citizens, and especially our children, receive the maximum punishment allowed by law to ensure these people can be removed from our society and no longer destroy the lives of the citizens of our Aloha State.

Hawaii is more than a place of vacation. People from all over the world come to Hawaii to heal. I believe that Hawaii exists to heal nations. I would like to work with the future governor and lieutenant governor to bring this solution to the kupuna leaders on all the islands to decide the location and proper implementation of the project.

2. What can the U.S. Congress do about mass shootings in America? Would you support banning military-style assault weapons and establishing universal background checks? What other measures would you propose to reduce gun violence?

The U.S. Congress should begin to address violent crime by identifying the root cause of the violence. Drugs, the breakdown of the nuclear family, the lack of substantial repercussions against the evil responsible for these senseless acts of violence and the mental health crisis sweeping our nation — all have a direct relationship to the violence we are seeing.

Guns don’t murder people. Evil people murder people and irresponsible safety measures, or the lack thereof, result in guns getting into the wrong hands. Guns are used to protect, defend and even save lives. Every state in our republic currently performs background checks before a firearm can be purchased.

The term “military-style assault weapon” is a made-up term by gun-grabbing liberals in an attempt to deny Americans of their constitutional rights. The weapons in question are all semi-automatic rifles, the color and look have absolutely no bearing on their capability. They, like all semi-automatic weapons, can only fire as fast as you can pull a trigger. It is every American’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms and I support that freedom and it shall not be infringed.

3. The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the questions of whether the 2020 election was stolen have shown how seriously divided the nation is. Some say democracy itself is in trouble. How would you work to end the political polarization that divides both the Congress and the country?

When the events of Jan. 6 are fairly investigated and the incontrovertible evidence that directly and undeniably contradicts the narrative being pushed today is finally revealed, the real “Insurrection” will be shown to have happened on Nov. 3, 2020, when the election was stolen from the American people.

When America sees those that perpetrated this crime are arrested, tried and justice served, when election integrity and transparency is restored, only then will we be able to unite America as one nation under God.

4. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, while currently financially sound, risk future funding concerns because of changing demographics. What would you propose to shore up the country’s major safety net programs?

When Social Security was implemented in 1935, the average life expectancy was 62 years old. The bulk of the population was never expected to receive these benefits. Today’s life expectancy is approximately 80 years and with the rising cost of medical care, the demand on this system, moving forward, will be enormous.

The first step would be for Congress to quit looting the Social Security Trust Fund and treating it as their own pet-project slush fund. Second, bring back the America First policies of President Trump that had us at record employment numbers for all citizens that ensured the funds remain solvent.

We should then look to establish a new system that allows for individually controlled health saving accounts, price transparency on medical services and pharmaceutical pricing fairness.

5. What is your position on the Senate filibuster?

The Senate is comprised of elected representatives of the people who took a solemn oath to protect our rights and preserve our Constitution.

Filibusters should not be abused, but should be exercised in wisdom. Filibusters create an atmosphere to debate issues that affect our lives, and sometimes there are issues that should be delayed for the purposes of vital information-gathering, justice and to ensure decisions made by the Senate best represent the people. Filibusters can prevent hasty (and sometimes shady) bills from passing. Filibusters can directly avert a crisis.

6. Is the U.S. on the right path when it comes to mitigating climate change and growing renewable energy production? What specific things should Congress be considering?

I would like to see actual scientific data that proves or disproves Earth’s climate can be mitigated.

While I do find value in pursuing renewable energy production to supplement our needs, just two years ago America was energy independent and a net exporter of energy — who remembers $1.85 gas?

America can lead the way for the cleaner production of our fossil fuels while not destroying our economy, jobs and way of life.

7. The Jones Act requires that domestic freight transport on U.S. waterways be conducted by crews that are at least three-fourths American, and on vessels built in U.S. shipyards, and that are American-owned.What is your position on this law and its effects on Hawaii? Does it need to be amended or repealed?

I feel the Jones Act needs to be dissolved as it is outdated and the bill’s regulations hinder Hawaii from prosperously participating in foreign trade. Moreover, the federal government does not need to regulate the nationality of freight transport crews, unless it is a military vessel.

The military buys its ships from other nations, so why is an ancient maritime bill being allowed to hinder Hawaii’s (and our nation’s) economic progress?

8. The Biden administration says China is the greatest long-term threat to the U.S. and has been trying to expand its influence, especially in the Pacific. What can the U.S. do to build better relations with the Asia-Pacific region?

First, Biden has publicly stated on numerous occasions that white supremacy is the biggest threat to our country, not China.

A strong America means a safer world. A safer world builds better relations with all countries. When almost every product in American retail stores is “Made in China,” we are at their mercy.

Look at our broken supply chains as a prime example. This is why “America First” is so critical. Affordable American-made products and services, made by Americans in America, will be the catalyst for better relations with every country and stop the Chinafication (economically speaking) of America and around the world.

9. The Red Hill fuel crisis illustrated not only how critical the military’s role is in Hawaii but also the serious problems it sometimes causes. It is also a central component of the local economy. What would you do to ensure the military behaves responsibly in the islands?

The military’s presence and influence in Hawaii is profound, therefore responsible military operations are necessary to ensure Hawaii and our island’s economy are protected and prosperous. To help ensure this, legislation should be proposed that holds the military accountable for any and all grievances imposed on our islands by military operations, mistakes and/or oversights. Appropriations should be in place to immediately address safety breaches and crises should they occur.

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.

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed just how unprepared Hawaii was and in many respects, still is, to handle a world health “crisis.”

The “One Big Idea” I would present is for Hawaii to get delivered from “crisis mode.” While the pandemic has exposed many flaws, a change of perspective will reveal that Hawaii is strong, equipped and capable of taking on these challenges because our greatest resource is our people.

UH is producing innovative global leaders that are skilled and trained to change the world for the better. Our agriculture industry promises to refuel our economy. Our tourism industry is going to change into one that is not abused, but to one that is holistic, healing and more profitable. Our keikei are in a great position to learn in two different environments; one that allows them to learn general education, and one that allows them to learn family skills from their kupuna and aloha-rooted elders.

Divorcing “crisis mode” affords us an opportunity to “think” and remember why we are fighting so hard under the banners of faith, family and freedom. I truly believe we all, despite our differences, are finding our way back to paradise, back to God, back to aloha, the true solution to all man-made crises.

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