Name: Donna Mercado Kim
Age: 65
Current occupation: State Senator, 2000 to present
Political experience: State House of Representatives, 1982-1985; Honolulu City Council, 1985-2000

What should the government’s role be in providing access to health care? What should or should not be covered in a basic policy?

We need universal healthcare. No one disputes that. The issue is who pays. Truthfully we all pay for that cost somewhere or another, so let’s talk about a fair way. Hawaii is an example for the nation for healthcare. The contents of a basic policy should be similar if not identical to Hawaii’s requirements.

Deadly mass shootings have fueled arguments for increased gun control. Do you agree? What should or should not be changed about America’s current gun laws?

We need to end the availability of guns. I am dismayed by the recent appellate court ruling on Hawaii’s open carry limitations. I believe at a gut level we all know that we cannot continue along the same lines gun advocates propose. We need to end open carry laws, and the availability of non-hunting related guns, such as hand weapons and assault and automatic weapons. However, we should be clear, the issue is violence, and until we as a society acknowledge that violence in all its forms are abhorrent to our society we will continue to have these incidents. I will fight to end this free for all, for the safety of our people.

In light of recent nuclear threat concerns, should the United States play a more or less prominent role in international relations? What actions should be taken?

International relations are critical to America’s future. We have an obligation going back to World War 1 to stand up for our principles. We entered World War 1 to save the world from tyranny; similarly World War 2 and all the subsequent conflicts where freedom and the rule of law was endangered. We need a stronger Congressional voice in the light of a president who fails to appreciate not only this history but our obligation. Not all disputes are settled by battle; but by diplomacy. Diplomacy requires a thoughtful and measured response to threats and opportunities. I believe we make America great again by re-establishing our heritage of doing what is right. I will fight to restore that principle.

A White House proposal aims to slash the Department of Interior’s budget by $1.6 billion, and shift funds from new land acquisition to the development of oil, gas, and coal. What elements of this plan would you keep, what would you change, and why?

Oil, gas, and coal are fuels of the past; we need to focus on the fuels of the future: solar, hydrogen, wind, and sustainable fuels. The current administration seems to have a backwards looking agenda that will hurt America. I don’t have all the answers, but I will rely upon our experts in the field and especially here in Hawaii to work together with me to change the way this administration is proceeding.

If you could introduce one piece of legislation, what would it be and why?

I would introduce legislation disallowing any actions to alter the current social security payments as well as Medicare for our seniors. We must keep our promises because our seniors. They have relied upon those promises and seniors should not find themselves unable to live a decent life and have affordable healthcare because of ideological views of certain conservative members of Congress. Seniors have done so much for us we cannot repay such diligence by reducing their safety net with benefit reductions or cost increases. It is imperative that we control medical and prescription costs by big pharma, therefore I will introduce companion legislation requiring transparency in drug pricing to reduce drug cost. Americans should not be paying twice what other countries pay for prescription drugs.