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 Bob McDermott, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. His opponents are Democrat Brian Schatz, Libertarian Feena Bonoan, Emma Jane Pohlman of the Green Party and Dan Decker of the Aloha Aina Party.

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

Candidate for U.S. Senate

Bob McDermott
Party Republican
Age 58
Occupation State representative/commercial Realtor
Resident Ewa Beach, Oahu


Community organizations/prior offices held

State legislator; neighborhood board member; Civil Service commissioner.

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

The failure by our senators to close Red Hill. Now, this is an imminent threat to our only sole source aquifer on Oahu.

I was the first elected official to call for closure and decommissioning of Red Hill. I led the way, nice for the congressional delegation to follow, albeit belatedly. As of this writing, there is still no closure date, or even a “target date.”

No sense of urgency from our congressional delegation. None.

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?

Evil exists, passing more laws that the criminals disregard is pointless. Enforce the laws currently on the books. Let us work to begin to promote a culture of life and the value of other human beings.

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?

I would follow the example of the late, great Sen. Dan Inouye who worked with others (Ted Stevens, Bob Dole) across the aisle, not demonizing them.

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?

These programs are safe and nothing will be done to jeopardize them or their future viability – not on my watch.

5. What is your position on the Senate filibuster?

Keep it.

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?

First, I have 48 solar panels on my roof as it makes financial sense. I want clean air, water and land. However, man cannot control the climate, if so, we should pass a law against hurricanes!

Foolishness. North America was once covered with glaciers, yet they melted and the Earth warmed with no SUVs around, how is that possible? Akua is in charge.

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?

The Jones Act ensures we have safe, reliable and consistent shipment of goods while protecting American jobs.

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?

The U.S. needs to put our country first and rebuild our manufacturing base and not continue to outsource everything to China.

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 does what they are told – period. Right now, the Democratic president, the secretary of defense, the secretary of the Navy, and our entire congressional delegation are all Democrats, yet we can’t get a firm closure date, or even a target date to close it. We have an aspirational goal from the secretary of defense to close it someday.

Our delegation has followed — not led — on this issue, which is why I am running. This is the second major spill on my opponent’s watch and yet he could not utter “closure” until 2022. Their collective performance has been abysmal and weak. As an old Marine, I would have that shut down — safely — within 18 months.

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 university should join the PAC-12. It would increase our academic standing along with our athletic programs; it would solve many challenges and create endless opportunities for our university system.

Our children would now think twice before heading to the mainland when they have world-class opportunities right here and get to travel to the mainland sister schools for conferences or events.

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