The following Audio Excerpts were recorded segments of the Debate between John Carroll of the Republican Party and Makani Christensen of the Democratic Party, both candidates for the United States Senate seat. Some of the issues were not recorded, unfortunately, however, here are a few of the subjects that were discussed on July 29th at 5pm.
1. Why are you running for office?
We once had strong positioning for Hawaii people in Washington that listened to the people of Hawaii. Hawaii no longer is being heard. I want to change that.
2. What are your views about Hawaiian self-governance? In your capacity as a legislator, what action, if any, would you advocate in support of Hawaiian self-governance?
As a Native Hawaiian, I understand the frustrations we feel that still lingers from the overthrow. We need to readjust the federal government to focus more on the people of Hawaii and the abilities for the Hawaiians to continue their culture with support. However, we also need to be clear on how self-governance will affect the rest of Hawaii and be considerate of those vested into these islands as well.
3. When it comes to Native Hawaiian issues, what do you perceive your role as a legislator to be? What ways can you, if elected, support Native Hawaiian concerns through your legislative abilities? If elected, describe specific Native Hawaiian bill ideas that you would be willing to propose or support for the advancement of Native Hawaiians.
We had an opportunity with the Akaka bill and yet, that did not go through. We no longer have seniority or power backing the Hawaiian people, we therefore need to rebuild. Proposed support of Native Hawaiians as a people, would need to have a clear, strategic, and realistic plan of how to self-sustain that government if self-governance is indeed given. We need a plan that all people, not just Native Hawaiians, can support.
- Makani Christensen is a candidate for US Senate in the current primary election. He was born in Maui, raised in Hilo and relocated to Oahu as a boarder at Kamehameha Schools. He is a United States Naval Academy Graduate, Combat Veteran, and former United States Marine Corps Captain. After serving tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, he returned home to begin a business, Keawe Adventures, which is currently in its 8th year. He is married to a hapa Maui girl, Naomi, and has two children, a 3yr girl and 1yr boy. He is well known for his community contributions as the Aha Moku Oahu chair, the organizer of Find Our Marines, a supporter of HCAP, and the executive of HFFA.
Know your 2016 Maui County election candidate: Makani Christensen
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.
Full Name: Paul Makani Christensen
Name on Ballot: Makani Christensen
Political Party: Democrat
Running For: U.S. Senate
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Job: Business owner
Place of birth: Wailuku
Campaign website: www.makanichristensen.com
>> More candidate profiles
Job history past 10 years:
Business owner of Keawe Consulting LLC dba Keawe Adventures, June 2008 – present (8 years 2 months); Keawe Adventures is a private island tour and activity guide service specializing in unique leisure and sports activities of Hawaii. Professional consulting in strategic planning and implementation for ocean sport related, ocean and marine resource related and culturally sensitive issues (specifically of Native Hawaiian concern) of Hawaii.
Project Manager, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Corps, June 2007 – July 2008 (1 year 2 months); Served as the liaison between regiment and construction/development management for a 10-year construction project to supply housing, offices, and infrastructure for the growth of Marines arriving from Okinawa.
Liaison Officer, (USMC) Multi-National Force Iraq, Strategic Effects Division, October 2006 – May 2007 (8 months)Iraq. Provided nightly executive level operational briefs on strategic operations throughout Iraq to the Media Operations Center, effectively bridging the gap between the operators, the media monitors, and military spokespersons. Initiated and developed an innovative plan to transform Iraq’s Al-Shaab stadium, in the heart of Baghdad, into a safe, secure, and economically viable market for the Iraqi people. Based on the Oahu Stadium market, my idea was received well by the Strategic Economic Working Group and when implemented will increase stability in Baghdad to provide much needed employment opportunities and boost confidence in the Government of Iraq.
Supply Officer, First Battalion, Third Marines, June 2005 – October 2006 (1 year 5 months); Researched and created a 6 month budget in excess of 1.5 million dollars in order to prepare the battalion for deployment to Iraq. Managed and tracked over 300 thousand dollars of military contracts to support 1,000 Marines for a one month training exercise at Pohakuloa Training Area. Led and managed 17 Marines in supply chain management, fiscal tracking, and logistics operations for 6 months with a superb accountability record. Responsible for tracking and maintaining 37 million dollars of government assets.
Supply Officer, Third Marines, Marine Corps, May 2004 – January 2005 (9 months); Supervised and tracked more than $28 million of replenishment supplies while deployed to Afghanistan. Lead Marines in combat while deployed to Afghanistan. Responsible for the fiscal budget, equipment procurement, and contracts for the Marine Corps first Revised Combined Arms Exercise in California in support of the Battalion’s Training prior to deploying to Afghanistan, which was valued in excess of $3 million. Coordinated and established a supply chain between 5 Forward Operating Bases using fixed wing assets, local moving companies, and local vendors. Supervised and trained 22 Marines in supply chain management, fiscal tracking, and logistics. Responsible for tracking and maintaining $66 million of government assets at five different locations while deployed to Afghanistan. Helped construct a FOB in Jalalabad, Afghanistan by procuring building materials and equipment from multiple areas and agencies.
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
Other civic experience or community service?
>> Hunting, Farming & Fishing Association, also known as HFFA, Makani.
Started this nonprofit in the spring of 2015. As noted at www.hffahawaii.com, its mission is: “To protect and promote the freedom of hunting, farming, and fishing in Hawaii, through education, collaboration, and advocacy.” Concerned with the growing strain on those providing agriculture of both land and sea, addressed the lack of protection for this industry by giving them a support system, connecting them together, across all islands, in shared search for solutions.
>> Find Our Marines
On Jan. 14, 2016, twelve Marines went missing in the devastating crash of two US Marine helicopters during their night training. As the crash occurred on Oahu’s rugged coastline of the North Shore, the bodies and any pertaining evidence, were lost. After a week of officials searching without success, officials declared the missing dead, despite the hopes of family and community members. Understanding the need for closure, I organized a community search party within three days. On Jan. 23, over 300 volunteers joined in the efforts to find any remains of the crash and gave respects at the blessing performed. More can be found on the project’s Facebook Page.
>> Chairman Aha Moku Council of Oahu, Aha Moku Advisory Committee, November 2012 – Present (3 years 9 months)
The Aha Moku Advisory Committee was appointed by the governor to the Department of Land and Natural Resources in July 2012. Aha Moku is the traditional Hawaiian system of natural resource management that has been handed down in oral tradition and practice for over 10 centuries. Asked to join as a Native Hawaiian Fishing Practitioner, I help to: monitor projects in the best interest of Native Hawaiian culture, history and rights; provide expert information in regards to ocean resources; organize and provide leadership for Moku Council.
>> Sponsor Honolulu Community Action Program, 2012 – Present (four years) for Children
>> Current Democratic Delegate – 2016
What makes you qualified to be a U.S. senator?
My core values and work ethic.
1) Placing the needs of the people before the ideologies of oneself.
2) Seek truth in all matters that effect the rights and opportunity of the people.
3) Honor country, honor Hawaii, and honor family.
4) Hard work
5) Lead by example
Do you support the use of United States combat troops in Syria to defeat ISIS, or to end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad?
If we were to end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, the country would spiral into more chaos. How do you win a war without fighting? If we cannot win a war through politics, then we must first develop a sound plan that ensures victory.
Do you support the continued use of U.S. troops in Iraq, or should those troops be withdrawn?
Our service men and women fought and sacrifice to protect the freedoms we have today, which we cannot forget. We went to Iraq to give hope and restore a government. If we leave now, how do we justify the sacrifice that our brave men and women endured?
Do you support the continued use of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, or should those troops be withdrawn?
The troops should be withdrawn as soon as our experts determine that the country’s government is intact and stable.
Should the United States recognize a Native Hawaiian government through an administrative rule or an act of Congress?
If there is any hope in setting up a Native Hawaiian government, then it has to be consideration of all the people of Hawaii. Until we can agree on our definition of Hawaiian, our values, and our objectives how can we expect the federal government recognize us as a people.
What changes should be made to the federal Affordable Care Act?
We should not require individuals to pay high cost for medical insurance and then, penalize individuals if they cannot afford it. We need to make medical care more accessible to both the individual and businesses.
Should the federal government legalize marijuana?
I’d be in favor of possible legislation when we get a better grasp on the current process to legalize marijuana. Legalizing marijuana creates more jobs and generates revenue, but we cannot lose sight that marijuana if abused, is dangerous.
Makani Christensen was invited to be a guest speaker to the Summer School Class of Ms. Alix Lunsford of Roosevelt High, 1120 Nehoa St, Honolulu, HI 96822. He was asked to give a message of empowerment to our youth as he exemplifies the relatable "regular person" stepping up to higher responsibility and leadership.
The following questions were asked by the students:
- What do you think about over fishing?
- What do you think about coral reef destruction?
- What is your most difficult challenge?
- What are your most challenging things you have face?
- How old are you when you starting fishing?
- What do you think about religion?
- Who is your main opponent in the election?
- How do you plan to get the people of waikiki to join and vote for your campaign?
- What do you think about limiting gun use in America?
- What kind of bills do you want to pass?/ What are some ideas for bills you have?
- Will you try to do anything to fix the current state of democracy in America, such as our FTPT system, Gerrymandering or superdelegate system?
- What is your view on overfishing?
- What is your stance on overdevelopment of the country side of the island?
- Why do you think that being a senate was ideal for you?
- Did you play sports?
- Why the army?
- Where did you originate from?
- Did or do you mix ? (kava or awa)
- Do you think you could go further in your sport if you stuck with it ?
- How important is it to have Hawaiians represent as a senator?
- What or who pushed you to go into the election?:
- What do you yearn to do or see if you are elected?
- When did you begin fishing and why?
1. This year has seen an outsized influence from people who want big changes in how government is run. What would you do to change how the U.S. House or Senate is run?
As senator, I would reach out to my fellow Democratic and Republican senators to establish the personal relations required to make the Senate a more civil and functional body, as well as increase the influence of Hawaii’s small delegation. Work with the Democratic leadership to require Senate confirmation hearings on the Supreme Court nominee and all the backlog of federal judicial nominees.
2. Hawaii is the only Western state without a statewide citizen’s initiative process. Do you support such a process?
The initiative process has generally been used as a last resort when citizens believe that they’re unrepresented by their elected officials.
It is used only as a last resort because there is a risk of well-funded special interests having undue influence upon our government. It should also be noted that certain critical issues need to be decided by experts, and not be relegated to the realm of public opinion.
So, no, I do not support initiative at this time. We need only to look at the disastrous experience of Brexit and Bregret to understand the problems with initiative processes at this time.
3. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?
There is something about putting your life on the line to preserve the freedom of our society, our people, our country, that makes one think about helping that society to be the best that it can be for all of us.
Roughly 60 years ago, our World War II veterans came back demanding a more inclusive society, one where all could share in rising prosperity and education. Today, the progress of the 1954 Democratic political revolution in Hawaii is slipping away from us. We must rededicate ourselves to our Democratic goals of shared prosperity, a clean and sustainable environment, access to our oceans, beaches, and wilderness areas, a good affordable education, social justice including for our Filipino veterans of World War II who are still waiting for the citizenship promised them for fighting with the U.S. forces, and the ability to produce our own food.
I believe we need to move forward together as a people, with no one left behind, and certainly not our Kupuna who increasingly find themselves in poverty in what should be their golden years. In addition, 70 percent of the voters in Hawaii voted for income equality and the free education platform. Therefore, I believe there needs to be a revisiting of values by Hawaii’s Democratic Party and Hawaii as a whole. This party can continue its leadership by adjusting to the current changing wants and celebrating the differences and diversity of Hawaii.
4. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
We should use the technology that is already at our hands. Technology already provides so many channels to directly reach voters and for voters to directly reach elected officials. What we do in D.C. needs to be communicated thoroughly with Hawaii, and what is happening in Hawaii needs to be thoroughly communicated with D.C. Maintaining relationships within these networks is the most important thing — loss of trust and value in relationships is what causes this disengagement and disappointment.
5. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing the state? What will you do about it?
The high cost of living is the cause of major problems such as homelessness and traffic (as people are having to move farther and farther away from their jobs in order to find affordable housing). The high cost of living and its complicated offspring of traffic is what lead to the rail initiation and now, the taxation increases on Hawaii are only adding to the high costs.
I believe we can help offset the high costs of living by developing more creative ways for Hawaii to make money. If we invest into the entrepreneurial outlets, we can increase job opportunities, helping more to make a living in Hawaii. We need to propose funding for increasing our business opportunities.
I also believe a crucial part in addressing these high costs of living is in educating our keiki in how to overcome these challenges. The majority of our state is raised in the public school system; by improving the circumstances of our schools, we can better prepare our future adults to manage, improve and adapt to the financial realities instead of becoming enslaved to it.
6. What should America’s role in the world be? What would you do to move us in that direction?
America’s role in the world should be to assist our allies and to create bridges with our current enemies. We do not need to be in war or engaged in other country’s civil war. However, we will and should support our allies who need it in times of war. We should be shining examples of what it means to live in a democracy where each individual has rights and a voice to speak. In order for us to be an example in the world, we need to start coming together in America first. Right now in our country there is a divide, including both parties, mine included. If we want to move in a forward direction, we would need to come together first.
7. The country is torn apart. What would you do to rebuild bridges?
I think that goes to my point from the prior question. In order to rebuild our country we need to work together. There is a divide because we’re more concerned about differences then we are similarities. Let’s start at the fact we’re human, then agree we’re American. The simple or small things combined can defeat the large publicized differences, which is the cause of our nation being torn apart. We can rebuild our country if we realize that we’re in the same boat wanting to go in different directions, therefore we’re not moving.
Makani Comments as both a Native Hawaiian and an American Veteran of Combat on the "Kamehameha Schools graduating seniors sit through national anthem sparking debate."