NOTE: This post originally mis-identified the location of Richard Abbett’s 2014 candidacy. It has been corrected.
Two years ago, Richard Abbett was living on Oahu, and he ran for a
Honolulu City Council Hawaii County Council seat. He lost, badly, winning just 665 votes. Now he lives in Wailuku and he’s taking on House Speaker Joe Souki, easily the most powerful guy in the Hawaii state Legislature, in this year’s Democratic Primary Election.
You only live once, right?
MAUITIME: What is your top priority if elected?
RICHARD ABBETT: To represent the interests of all residents in assuring the opportunity for quality of life is expanded with the loss of the sugarcane industry and the resource of water is managed as a Public Trust resource and land shall be put to use in sustainable agricultural production, creating local jobs and food security.
MT: What event in your life best prepared you for public office?
RA: I had a previous career in Pacific Salmon recovery for 26 years working with tribes, local, state and federal government, Canada and the private sector that resulted in a Salmon Recovery Plan that included watershed management from mountains to the sea.
MT: Who should be the next President of the United States?
RA: I supported Bernie Sanders.
MT: Which person who previously held the office you’re seeking do you hold up as a model? Why?
RA: The incumbent that I am challenging has been in office for decades and although the accomplishments in returning tax dollars that are lauded in his campaign were appreciated, the model of representing corporate interests is not one I support.
MT: Do you support or oppose the current law that exempts police officer misconduct records from public disclosure? Why?
RA: I oppose the lack of transparency of the current law and the culture of exclusion of the public in the administrative review of police conduct and accountability.
MT: Right now Hawaii has two minimum wages–one for workers, and one for restaurant workers who receive tips (which is lower than the first minimum wage). Do you support this? Why or why not?
RA: I support equality of the minimum wage for everyone, including restaurant workers. Tips should still be accepted in all sectors as a gratuitous donation for exemplary customer service at the customer’s discretion.
MT: What should Hawaii’s minimum wage be?
RA: I support a minimum wage of $15 per hour.
MT: The proposed merger between Hawaiian Electric and NextEra–will this be good or bad for Hawaii? Why?
RA: I support the rejection of NextEra’s proposed merger because our goals of full production of electricity from renewable resources would not be their priority.
Photo courtesy Richard Abbett