1. Why are you running for office?
I believe that all of us have a responsibility to leave Hawaii a better place for our children and grandchildren. I hope to do my part by continuing to represent Hawaii in the United States Senate.
After serving less than two years in the Senate, I obtained a seat on the Appropriations Committee that decides how federal money is spent. Since then, I have helped obtain millions in federal funding for Hawaii’s priorities including housing, transportation, health care, education, clean energy research and military and VA construction.
I also believe that climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing Hawaii, and that we have a moral obligation to address this major problem. I have introduced legislation to make polluters pay for the damage they create, to reduce the use of fossil fuels and to spur renewable energy development. I will continue to make climate action a priority if I have the privilege of continuing to serve Hawaii in the United States Senate.
2. What are your views about Hawaiian self-governance? In your capacity as a legislator, what action, if any, would you advocate in support of Hawaiian self-governance?
I support the administrative rules promulgated by the Department of the Interior which permit a Native Hawaiian government to establish a relationship with the U.S. government. If Native Hawaiians form a government consistent with those rules and seek federal recognition, I would likely support the request.
3. When it comes to Native Hawaiian issues, what do you perceive your role as a legislator to be? What ways can you, if elected, support Native Hawaiian concerns through your legislative abilities? If elected, describe specific Native Hawaiian bill ideas that you would be willing to propose or support for the advancement of Native Hawaiians?
As a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee, I will vigorously defend and promote funding for Native Hawaiian housing, education, and health care programs. Earlier this year, I persuaded the Obama Administration to restore funding to the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program, and I then succeeded in convincing my Senate colleagues to appropriate $5 million for this program. I have also successfully advocated for legislation that promotes and funds Native Hawaiian language education.
In addition to securing funding for Native Hawaiian programs, I have also successfully passed legislation to recognize Native Hawaiian veterans and to provide Native Hawaiian communities access to resources to build sustainable cultural tourism. I am also working on legislation that will provide funding to address climate change on DHHL lands.