PAUL SHIRAISHI FOR STATE SENATE
Why are you not running as a Democrat or a Republican?
Hawai’i residents deserve transparent, accountable representation that does not simply aim to maintain the status quo. I don’t believe dominant, one-party rule (Democrat or Republican) is beneficial for any state or community. I also believe in certain values that are promoted by both parties -- but I do not want to be constrained by (or cater to) other entrenched interests that I do not support. This is why I am running as a nonpartisan candidate.
What does a State Senator actually do?
Like many other state legislatures in the country, the Hawaii State Legislature is a part-time body, made of the House (51 members with two-year terms) and the Senate (25 members with four-year terms). The Legislature is one of the three branches of state government, with powers equal to those of the executive and judicial branches. The legislative branch makes laws, the executive branch implements and enforces the law, and the judicial branch interprets them. The Senate has the power to confirm the governor's appointments, both for the executive branch and most judges of the judicial branch.
How can I vote for you in the primary if you are nonpartisan?
The Primary Election this August is the first major hurdle for my campaign. In order to vote for me, eligible voters would need to select to participate in the “nonpartisan” ballot. Although this means you would not be able to vote in Democrat or Republican primary contests, many of these races have a single candidate for each party, which automatically qualifies them for the General Election in November. You would also still be able to vote for offices which are nonpartisan, such as Honolulu City Mayor and Councilmembers.
How do you plan on passing legislation without party support?
I plan on introducing both progressive and common sense legislation at our capitol. My status as a nonpartisan will make me free to reach across all party lines to get things done, compromise is not weakness. But, what we often forget about our legislators is that they are accountable to the people. My plan on passing bold reforms in our state is directly appealing to the citizens of Hawai'i. If elected to the Senate, my district will be my priority, but I will never forget that my decisions affect Kamaʻāina across Hawai'i.
How do you plan to run a campaign during the current pandemic?
The current global health crisis has forced many people to adapt to new ways of living, working, and getting things done. We are fortunate to have so many digital technologies and platforms at our disposal, and we plan to run the majority of this campaign as most millennials would - online. With that said, I hope to soon be able to organize face-to-face outreach events in the community, in accordance with public health guidelines and recommendations.