Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 8 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 Holly Osborn, Republican candidate for state Senate District 2, which includes Keaau, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Ainaloa, Kapoho, Pahoa, Pohoiki, Leilani Estates, Opihikao, Kalapana, Volcano, Mountain View and Kurtistown. Her opponents are Democrat Joy San Buenaventura and Libertarian Frederick Fogel.

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

Candidate for State Senate District 2

Holly Osborn
Party Republican
Age 36
Occupation Owner, Rocky Mountain Rebuilders
Residence Mountain View, Hawaii island

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

Rampant crime and a lax judicial system. Many members of the community are wondering what is going on with our judiciary system. Asking questions like, “Why does so and so get arrested for burglary or stealing cars and then is released to repeat the crime?”

My proposal would be to hold the judicial system accountable for the crimes they allow to happen. Fines for incorrectly allowing criminals to go free. Repeat offenders need to be a thing of the past. The recent no-bail bill was properly vetoed by our governor. That bill would have only created more crime and repeat offenders.

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?

I am very passionate about revisiting the Jones Act, and I believe if we can decrease regulations on our small businesses the opportunity for growth is exponential.

3. 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?

I would have to say that deregulating our small businesses and focusing on building the growth of exports and decreasing our imports would ease pricing on our families. Encouraging farming and self-sustainability.

4. Hawaii has the most lopsided Legislature in the country, with only one Republican in the Senate and only four in the House. How would you ensure there is an open exchange of ideas, transparency and accountability for decisions? What do you see as the consequences of one-party control, and how would you address that?

For the past several years I have encouraged many people to run for office, but I believe until we have fair election procedures here in Hawaii the Democrats might remain in control. I would love to see a more balanced Senate and am hoping to encourage a change here.

5. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizens initiative process. Do you support such a process? 

Absolutely. Our citizens need a voice now more than ever. With growing debts and lack of production the citizens of Hawaii are losing their faith in elected officials. Case in point: the rail.

6. Thanks to their campaign war chests and name familiarity, incumbents are almost always re-elected in Hawaii legislative races. Should there be term limits for state legislators, as there are for the governor’s office and county councils? Why or why not?

Yes. Civil service should not turn into a lifelong career. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

7. 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 or banning campaign contributions during session?

Yes on all. Sunshine Laws are very important in keeping the communities involved and keeping an operational democracy transparent.

8. How would you make the Legislature more transparent and accessible to the public? Opening conference committees to the public? Stricter disclosure requirements on lobbying and lobbyists? How could the Legislature change its own internal rules to be more open?

I do believe in opening conference committees to the public. Stricter requirements for lobbyists is something that is long overdue. Finally, allowing more time for bills to be evaluated before being pushed into law would create a more open and transparent government all around.

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

Having a more diverse system instead of a one party oligarchy. And also by clarifying the separation between the government’s roles in our lives and reaffirming our authority over the government.

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.

I do not have any specific ideas of my own but I have heard some very wonderful ideas from the community that I’d love to run with if elected. However, reducing small practitioners’ taxes has got to have them all beat on this subject.

If we allow for an open market when it comes to private practitioners we allow for competition. Creating jobs and allowing new technology to be introduced. I am not a doctor nor a politician, but I believe the answers lie in the minds of the people and having open discussions with the medical field will allow for many new ideas to be implemented.

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