Makani Christensen is another of the four Democrats challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (click here for Miles Shiratori’s questionnaire). He’s relatively young (36), a Marine Corps veteran and runs an activity company on Hawaii Island. But can he beat Schatz, whose campaign has more than $9 million, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
MAUITIME: What is your top priority if elected?
MAKANI CHRISTENSEN: Making Hawaii affordable for everyone. We need to secure more tax dollars that we pay to the federal government. For example, when we focus on a strong military and national defense we in turn create more well-paying jobs. Another example is to help our farmers through federal aid. This will help Hawaii become more sustainable and create more jobs in Hawaii. We will also not allow the federal government to create more burdens to the people of Hawaii. For example, the current administration wants to expand the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Monument without vetted justification. As a result individuals will lose their jobs and the price of fish in the Hawaiian Islands will dramatically increase.
MT: What event in your life best prepared you for public office?
MC: As a combat veteran that served as a Marine Corps Officer in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand the importance of national security and taking care of people. We cannot turn a blind eye to the realities of life such as a family working four jobs to put food on the table, homelessness, and healthcare. The leadership I learned during my time at Kamehameha Schools, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Marine Corps and running a small business in Hawaii have prepared me for all challenges to include being Hawaii’s next United States Senator.
MT: Who should be the next President of the United States?
MC: The next president should be the person that is elected by the people who participate at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
MT: Which person who previously held the office you’re seeking do you hold up as a model? Why?
MC: Senator Daniel K. Inouye who was a combat veteran and warrior that always looked out for Hawaii.
MT: What (if anything) should the U. S. Congress do to reduce gun violence?
MC: Congress should uphold the constitution of the United States which allows individuals the right to bear arms.
MT: What (if anything) should the nation be doing (that it isn’t already doing) to alleviate climate change?
MC: The nation should invest in technology that reduces our carbon footprint. Through technology we will find that we will be better able to reduce carbon emissions in large proportions.
MT: In Strieff v Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled that police can keep evidence seized from stop made without reasonable suspicion if police find an even minor arrest warrant on the person stopped. Do you support this? Why or Why not?
MC: We need to uphold the fourth amendment as it is our right and civil liberty as Americans.
MT: Do you support full legalization of Marijuana? Why or why not?
MC: I’d be in favor of possible legislation when we get a better grasp on the current process to legalize Marijuana. What I mean is the issue is states v federal government. However, legalizing marijuana creates more jobs and generates more money for state economies, but we cannot lose sight that marijuana, if abused, is dangerous.
Photo courtesy Makani Christensen