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 Ed Case, Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District, which covers urban Oahu. His opponent is Republican Conrad Kress.
1. What is the biggest issue facing Hawaii, and what would you do about it?
The overall cost of living, which pervades all parts of our lives, from housing and food to transportation, health care, utilities, education and more. That, plus current high inflation, has made it impossible for too many local folks to live in our own home.
The causes and solutions lie at all levels of federal, state and local government, and require sustained and coordinated effort. In Congress, I have focused on federal actions in each area, beginning with federal funding through our House Committee on Appropriations, where I’ve served since 2019, to support affordable housing, expand food supplies and distribution, improve roads and transit systems, transition to renewable energy, bolster our social safety net, strengthen our education system, and more.
I have also focused on specific causes, including the Jones Act, which unfairly adds a huge surcharge to the cost of just about everything we need to live in Hawaii, and prescription drugs, where the large drug companies are charging outrageous amounts at the expense of us all.
But these actions must all be complemented with strong state, local and community leadership, where many of the high-cost drivers must also be addressed, making voters’ choices for those leaders equally important.
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?
Epidemic gun violence in our country is a national tragedy and a national disgrace. Reasonable, law-abiding citizens should be able to own and enjoy guns. But that should be subject to reasonable regulations that minimize the clear and real risks to us all from the wrong guns in the hands of the wrong people.
We need look no further than our own Hawaii, which for decades has adopted and implemented a careful balancing of those rights which is in line with most of the countries of our world where gun violence is a fraction of that in our own country.
In Congress I have fully supported national reforms modeled on those successful approaches, including taking weapons of war, like military-style assault rifles and their high-capacity ammunition clips, off our streets and implementing universal background checks to identify those predisposed to violence and reasonably regulate when and under what circumstances they can own and access guns.
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…