Congressional candidates debate one last time

Published On: Jul 23 2014 11:17:53 PM HST   Updated On: Jul 24 2014 06:56:44 AM HST

Seven Democratic Congressional hopefuls were put to the test Wednesday night in a live televised debate on KITV4.

Click here to watch Paul Drewes' report.

During the hour-long debate, the candidates for U.S. Congress shared ideas, stories and even a few strong words for one another.

Some began by focusing on the same issues and solutions they've stressed during their campaign.

"I believe the faster we can wean ourselves off this addiction to fossil fuel and grow our own food the more money we'll have for roads, infrastructure, schools," said State Rep. Mark Takai.

"I support the modernization of our harbors, airports and military. Those are terribly important infrastructures that need to be addressed now. We don't have the space in our harbors to accommodate our growing population," stated Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan.

Others called for a change in the way government works and deals with economic or social problems - like homelessness.

"We need to be focusing on new, fresh, bold ideas like safe zones and tent cities. Pushing homeless people from one place to another is not going to solve the problem. We need to give them a place to go," said Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang.

"We also need to support small businesses, which are the backbone of America. We need to look at the regulations that have come down on our businesses. That's what is causing a lot of the cost to the products they sell. We can create jobs by fixing America," said Sen. Donna Mercado Kim.
Several candidates also spoke passionately about the first bill they would push -- if they were elected.

"The first measure I would introduce would deal with the National Park Service. I read that every dollar spent in a national park could bring a ten-fold return for the community. I've been working with the Japanese Cultural Center and NPS on the preservation of the Honouliuli Internment Camp and the P.O.W. Camp in Kunia," said Sen. Will Espero.

The candidates were very complimentary of one another throughout much of the debate, although there were a few times when a speaker criticized the other candidates.

"I am the only candidate who has never accepted money from biotech corporations. The first bill I would introduce would establish GMO labeling, and allow for home-rule so that local jurisdictions would be able to do the same on the ground level," said human rights activist Kathryn Xian.

"The Honolulu City Council has taken the unprecedented first step of budgeting $45 million for affordable housing and the homeless and I led that charge. What has the state done? In one word -- nothing," stated Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson.

The primary election is August 9.

Click here to vote on who you think won the debate.

PHOTOS: U.S. House District 1 Democratic Primary Debate

Click here to see photos from the debate.


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