Pirkowski wants Hawaii to go high tech


Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eddie Pirkowski sees one overriding issue facing Hawaii this election.

“It’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said. “We’ve had a large drop in the number of open positions. I’m all about building relationships between Hawaii companies and the rest of the companies across the country to bring jobs here.”

Pirkowski, an engineer-turned-CEO, said he sees room for Hawaii to increase its presence in the technology industry.

“I’d love to build a Silicon Valley here in Hawaii,” he said.

Close behind jobs for Pirkowski is the issue of taxes.

“I want to cut taxes,” he said. “I want to eliminate the corporate tax in Hawaii. I want to eliminate the estate tax in Hawaii.”

Doing so would bring encourage companies to bring their headquarters to Hawaii. Ideally, Pirkowski said, he’d like to see companies like Google and Apple base their businesses here.

This race is Pirkowski’s third attempt for a Republican nomination. He said he is trying to gain voters’ trust, and noted that he supports “the goals of America and the Constitution.”

He’ll vote across party lines, he said, because he’ll vote on the issues. Pirkowski expressed his respect for retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka, who has done work in the area of Veterans Affairs, and for Hawaii’s senior Sen. Daniel Inouye, who has brought federal contracts and significant military spending to the state. Both are Democrats.

But, Pirkowski noted, Inouye and Akaka have also introduced a limited number of bills.

He doesn’t favor ending or getting Hawaii an exemption from the Jones Act, which requires any ships sailing between domestic U.S. port be American-owned, flagged and crewed.

“A continuation of the Jones Act would be in the best interest of Hawaii,” he said, adding that he believes it is a “safety and security” issue.

While he thinks doctors should be better reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid, Pirkowski said he also would look at medical tort reform.

“I would put something in place to reduce what their insurance costs are,” he said. “How much are they spending on a yearly basis for insurance?”

That figure can be high, he added.

Under no circumstances should federal officials be cutting into Social Security’s budget, Pirkowski said. He does support privatizing at least a part of the program, which he said would increase revenues.

The Department of Defense already has cuts in place, he said, and he would be careful about more cuts there, too.

“We need to maintain our leadership status around the world,” he said. But some military services are duplicated and could be cut.

The government could still balance the budget, though, he said, even with limited cuts and fewer taxes, by taking a revenue-generating approach. For example, the Department of Energy could develop energy technology, patent the technology and earn revenues from the patent, he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency should be made a Cabinet-level organization “so they can follow through on their mandates,” Pirkowski said.