Name: Ernest Caravalho
Current occupation: Aloha Care Health Insurance
Recent reports by the state auditor have raised concern about how public money is spent, and some suggest there should be more oversight where state funds are concerned. What, if anything, would you change about the process?
First, I would increase the amount of transparency. There is nothing like shining a big bright light on things that people like to keep in the dark to assist with finding out how money is being spent. Then I would establish a very close relationship with the state auditors so that we can investigate and hold accountable all those that break the rules and or laws on how state money is supposed to be spent. Aside from that, everyone who has money on their minds wants a piece of the people’s tax money pie, so addressing corruption and greed will be a huge part of how I dealt with it. In the end a detailed analysis of the rules that empower shady spending or misappropriation of funds is necessary. That way we can overhaul the processes to make things smoother, easier to track for accountabilities sake, and make the auditors jobs easier as well as giving the people one less thing to worry about when it comes to their government.
Hawaii continues to struggle with chronic homelessness, many of whom are veterans, mentally ill, and/or addicted to drugs. What are your plans to tackle this problem?
Education is the first and most important part of dealing with the houseless issue. The misconception that it is their own fault for being houseless and that those people just need to get jobs and that they are at fault for many of our problems, those are ideas and beliefs perpetuated by people in power who can use those lies to their own advantage. So first and foremost, as governor, I would embark on a clear cut educational campaign where the truth about the real causes of houselessness are brought to light, who is profiting from this, and what major, and to some what might seem like radical, steps we need to take in order to tackle this problem so that it never becomes an issue again. After this most fundamental step, then we would start to deal with the major factors that manifest houselessness in our state. Creating a universal health care system in Hawaii, establishing a living wage, changing our tax system to remove the burden from the poor and low income, dealing with illegal home rentals, dealing with foreign investors buying up land and properties, housing first programs, as well as partnerships with many of the groups who’s sole purpose has been to help the houseless for years.
Do you support legislation to make recreational marijuana legal in Hawaii? Why or why not?
Yes of course! This is an absolute no brainer for me. Regulating and taxing cannabis recreationally has the potential to transform our jails because over half are in there for drugs and the increased tax revenue would be applied towards education. Not to mention that legalizing it will empower medical professionals to use it more towards the treatment of various human conditions not just the small amount of categories that medical marijuana card holders are able to get it for. Marijuana has been wrongly stigmatized by the federal government for a long time and for the wrong reasons. It is for the state to educate the public on the truth of marijuana and why it has been negatively stigmatized for so long so that we move past that and allow the people to enjoy a plant that can do real good.
Dozens of states operate a lottery that, some argue, could supplement funding for education, public spaces, tax reductions, etc. Would you support a lottery in Hawaii? Why or why not?
A well regulated and transparent lottery system could do a great deal of good here in Hawai’i for generating more revenue to once again put towards education first and foremost. But it would have to be done in such a way that it applies the lessons learned from the mistakes made by other states so that the poor are not victimized like they have been in other areas.
Is there a pressing issue in Hawaii that has gone overlooked and requires action?
Yes. Just as scientists have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that climate change is real, that’s it’s happening and that it is affecting everything it is now time for us to act. Science is telling us that if nothing changes, our Pacific Oceans fisheries are likely to collapse by, if not before, 2048. That’s in 30 years. This is a major issue for many reasons. This should be a driving policy, it should be the motivational factor behind creating partnerships with other Pacific Rim countries and states. This will affect the world economy. What we eat, jobs, livelihoods, major ecosystems, you name it will be affected. This has the potential to be absolutely disastrous with long reaching complications and effects if we don’t plan, prepare, and act like almost everything depends on this. I don’t hear or see anyone discussing this or making it a policy driver. The clock is ticking, and depending on how you vote, will depend on whether Hawai’i will be resilient enough thrive with what is coming.