Jones Act changes are in DiGeronimo’s sights


The Jones Act from 1929 gets U.S. House hopeful Matthew DiGeronimo worked up.

“When that was written, it did not take into account Hawaii as a state,” said DiGeronimo, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for the state’s 2nd Congressional district.

He’s read the whole act, he said, and while he said the act can’t be repealed — it covers everything from interstate shipping to individual states’ waterways — Hawaii could get an exemption.

“I have a proposed amendment in draft form that would result in zero jobs lost,” DiGeronimo said.

That would amend the requirement that ships moving between domestic U.S. ports and Hawaii be U.S.-built.

All the other Jones Act requirements would remain in place.

“Just that one modification would significantly reduce our cost of living,” he said. “We would see results in less than a year.”

He’s a proponent of eliminating entirely, in an incremental fashion, the U.S. Department of Education.

Money the federal government sends to Hawaii for education is tax money, and for every dollar sent to Washington, D.C., only 30 cents comes back to the state, DiGeronimo said.

As a Congressman “I should not be making decisions about our local school system,” he said.

Those decisions are better left to people in Hawaii, including local legislators, schools and parents.

DiGeronimo said the federal government needs to “draw a line in the sand” about Social Security, indicating people over a certain age get the benefits they were promised. People younger than that need to accept a reduced vision of the program.

“This was never meant to be a pension plan,” he said. “This was meant to keep senior citizens from eating cat food.”

While he supports increasing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to Hawaii’s doctors, such a move is more of a “Band-Aid” measure than a real solution, he said.

The whole health system needs to be overhauled, and he would prefer it be done not with a “2,000-page document” but something simpler and more to the point.

The top issue facing the state, he said, is a need for responsibility and accountability.

For example, if people are concerned about the state of roads, they need to know who is responsible for those roads.

He vowed to push for the responsible departments and agencies to address some of the state’s lingering problems, including those in infrastructure.

He said he plans to check in with constituents weekly, and talk to them “in plain English.”

He said he would vote across party lines, if elected, and said voters should appreciate his platform, even though he is running as a Republican in a predominately Democratic state.

“Hawaii’s families generally live a lifestyle consistent with how I would choose to legislate,” he said.